Michael Degusta makes a pretty convincing case that Google’s senior management doesn’t want to fool with Google+, and that’s just another indication of being socially challenged.
See Can Google Go Social from a year ago, long before Google+, where I suggested that Google will fumble the social future:
Google made a pile by harvesting the latent value of all the social gestures we were leaving around the web in the form of links. These form the core of Page Rank and Google’s search/advertising business.
This was born in the paleolithic of the social web, where mostly we were wandering around as hunter-gatherers, turning over rocks, based on keyword search. The idea of social in those days was to send email alerts to people so they’d remember to read your blog and post comments.
But the social web has grown based on social networks — relationships between people — not hyperlinks between web pages. We are in a great migration away from a web of pages to a web of flow, where streams connect us and allow us to share links, comments, photos, games, locations, lists, and even larger social objects in the future. And Google has only had the smallest involvement in that expansion. But they desperately want in on the next wave, but they haven’t found a formula yet. It’s not Wave or Buzz, obviously. And now they are plotting a knockoff of Facebook: how 2009!
There are many unplowed fertile fields out there, where Google’s scale and engineering soul could do great things. As just one example, modern social network research has shown that the social ‘scenes’ we are situated in — the millions of people that form the ‘friends of my friends’ friends’ network — are the single best predictor of our likelihood to be fat, smoke, or be happy. And by extension, buy Chevrolets, listen to Country music, or read manga. And no services have tapped into that reality, yet, except in the most inadvertent ways. (For more background see Social Scenes: The Invisible Calculus Of Culture, It’s Betweenness That Matters, Not Your Eigenvalue: The Dark Matter Of Influence and Jeff Jarvis on The Hunt For The Elusive Influencer.)
This is why actions like buying Slide are likely to be diversions, like Jaiku and Dodgeball turned out to be. Meanwhile, there are real advances to be made — like building sociality into the operating platforms of the future. Obviously Google is in a position to do that with Android and Chrome, but I honestly don’t think they know what to build.