For once, the biggest news in social media and real-time technologies didn’t come from Facebook. Rather, it was Google: At the end of the second quarter, the company introduced an innovative collection of technologies under the Google+ label. GigaOM readers reacted very positively, and this looks like Google’s best chance yet to make itself into a serious player in social media.
Facebook did make news elsewhere. Word started to leak out about its strategy for digital music and it experimented with its first social commerce product, testing local deals from third parties in a few choice cities.
But a bigger headline than Facebook is that digital music is back: A successful IPO from Pandora, cloud offerings from big companies (Google, Apple) and lots of startup activity highlighted the quarter.
Other social networks generated news and valuable lessons about technology and business strategies. LinkedIn went public, while Myspace was sold. Apple essentially appointed Twitter as its mobile social network infrastructure supplier.
Social commerce continues to be a hot market, even if its business models remain unproven. Groupon’s prospectus showed it was capable of explosive growth but was still burdened by huge losses. Thousands of brands and merchants are building Facebook stores, though it’s hard to show they’re effective at actually selling anything.