Google's Schmidt taking small steps into social

Think of Google's new social-networking strategy as a series of small launches within existing products, rather than one big launch, according to CEO Eric Schmidt.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit

Google's long-awaited big push into social-networking technology may arrive as a series of small steps rather than one grand product launch, the company's CEO suggested Tuesday.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt James Martin/CNET

Eric Schmidt, speaking in a press conference during the company-sponsored Zeitgeist 2010 conference, responded to questions about the now-old rumors that Google is building a social-networking competitor to Facebook by describing plans to "take Google's core products and add a social component," according to Reuters.

"Everybody has convinced themselves that there's some huge project about to get announced next week. And I can assure you that's not the case," Schmidt said according to the report. What seems more likely is that Google takes a page from Yahoo's book--of all things--and tries to weave social-networking technology into products already familiar to the company's users: The Wall Street Journal suggested that YouTube may be destined to receive some of these components.

Google's social ambitions have been mostly stymied to date. There's a variety of reasons for that, but Google is well aware that it either needs to start figuring out ways to harness data shared over social networks or at the very least blunt Facebook's moves toward becoming the dominant source of information on the Internet.

This project has been described as Google Me, but Schmidt's comments suggest that's more of an internal code name than any kind of actual product. Elements of this strategy are expected to become more visible this fall.