Dominate me, Google. Please
The social Web remains too fractured. Google can and should help to unify it, even at the cost of flexibility.
Google is apparently "getting ready to fully cast its social net over its web properties," according to TechCrunch, the latest signal being the automatic creation of a Google account when opening a YouTube account.
It's a clever, almost Microsoft-esque move designed to make Google the center of our social universe. It can't happen fast enough. But Google shouldn't stop with its own properties.
The social Web is currently a morass of mostly siloed choices. I can be on Facebook but also have to build a profile on LinkedIn, not to mention Digg, Slashdot, Bebo, Classmates.com, etc., etc. While we've seen marginal linkage start to form between these through initiatives such as OpenSocial, they don't get nearly far enough toward the one-stop social experience most of us want on the Web.
Yes, choice is good, so sometimes we assume a dizzying array of choices must be very good. Not so.
As I've argued before (PDF), what we need is not a myriad of choices but rather a limited, manageable set of quality choices. Markets trend toward such choice naturally by eliminating weak players and elevating strong competitors.
This is as it should be.
Fearful as I am of any one vendor controlling my Web experience, as Microsoft did for decades in desktop computing, I'm almost equally fearful of a disjointed Web experience that never really hits its stride because users are hamstrung among different social Web sites.
I want the Web to be just that: a connecting web, not an isolating one.
So, dominate me, Google. You've been a good steward of data and user experience thus far, albeit not without hiccups. Find some way to pull in my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social data to my Google profile. Just ask: I'll give it to you. I have better things to do than waste time schlepping between different social Web sites. Save me the bother.
Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.