Today in Social

Just because the story got it wrong, and Google’s not actually introducing a social media product called Circles at SXSW, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Google told Liz Gannes at AllThingsD that there’s no such thing as Circles – that it’s just doing research lab work. The non-product was supposed to offer photo, video and status update sharing among groups of contacts, rather than mass-broadcasting to all a user’s friends. That sounds like a great idea. Facebook isn’t good at this, although Groups is an attempt. Also, Facebook is philosophically in the One True Identity camp, even though many people already use different personas online depending on the context of the activity or communication. And in the real world, a person belongs to many different social and professional circles. TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington thinks Google is working on something like Circles, and might roll it out in a more controlled environment like its developers conference, rather than risk the media spotlight of a big product announcement.

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David Card

VP Research Gigaom Research

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