Google set to unveil new social networking site

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Google already have a social networking site? Is that was Orkut is all about? The Associated Press, among others, reports today that Google is set to unveil their new social networking site that will compete with the 800 lb. gorillas, MySpace and Facebook, later this week. The name still remains to be known, but it is reported that Google has been a little perturbed over the fact that Microsoft recently claimed a stake in one of the top social sites on the Internet today. Seems like everyone wants to get in on the action and/or create their own.

As you know, with Yahoo test driving its own social networking site, Mash, there’s even more competition in the marketplace to attract people to. The AP report states that this competition is what Facebook was so afraid of, especially from Google, and that’s why they went ahead and partnered with Microsoft.

As anyone who has a Facebook account knows, the main difference between Facebook and Myspace is the widgets that you can incorporate onto your profile page. The look remains the same, but you can add all sorts of widgets, do-dads, knick-knacks, and whatnots and easily remove them. The only thing you need to worry about is finding the widget when one doesn’t exist and be patient – or code it yourself.

Well Google is planning on taking it one step further with their concept of “OpenSocial” which I think is pretty much saying they’re going to rip off exactly what Facebook did but as their network of websites is perhaps remarkably larger than what Facebook has access to, the widgets and whatnots that would be on the Google social site will be compatible with other Google-affiliated sites. This is probably particularly good news for developers who make the widgets as, according to the article, will only “have to code the widget once”. Interesting…

Now I suppose my real question is: what is Google going to do with Orkut? Are they going to let it just sit there and fade away in the distance while they promote this much better (supposedly) social networking site yet-to-be-named? A CNET article was talking about how Orkut has been around already for two-years and still has not been released to the public. In fact, I just signed into Orkut and it’s still rather basic AND it still says it’s in beta testing. What’s going on here…for two years? CNET also reports that one big downside for Orkut right now is the lack of blogging and video capability (the article was written in July 2006 and as of this posting, Orkut now displays videos, but I can’t find any blogging element whatsoever.).

I guess it’s one of those “wait and see” type of things, huh?

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently Flipboard's Assistant Managing Editor, overseeing news curation in technology, science, gaming and health. In addition to his day job, Ken's the co-host of "The Created Economy" podcast, examining the Creator Economy. In a past life, he was a former reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding.