Google teases new social networking features

Posted by Mark Raby

Now that Google has acquired a small arsenal of social media companies, the search giant has confirmed that a brand new social networking platform will be launched later this year, but details are still sketchy.

Google has been buying up social start-ups for the last few months, adding companies to its portfolio that range from social gaming to back-end software developers. But up until now, it has been quiet on what it plans to do with all these acquisitions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Eric Schmidt confirmed at an event in Arizona that the online behemoth will start rolling out new social features this fall.

Google plans to incorporate new social networking integrations to its core products including Gmail and Youtube, said the Journal. But what it really wants is access to Facebook user data. Google allows Facebook to let its users pull over their Gmail contacts. It wants similar access in return. Good luck with that.

Facebook is now Google's biggest threat across many online Web metrics. But Google's attempts to do any of Facebook's strongest features have all failed. Its own social network, Google Buzz, has fizzled.

The only new feature that was detailed was a new Youtube enhancement that will share information in real-time about what videos are being watched by people on a user's friend list.

Google also has its eye on social gaming, a relatively new genre that has provided a large source of revenue for Facebook. Google has acquired numerous social game companies and plans to make that its biggest part of the new social network initiative.

In short, be on the lookout for a bunch of brand new Google features over the next few months.