Rumours began last summer that Google was gearing up to take on Facebook with a big social product codenamed “Google Me” (Tech site RWW has established the name of the product to be Google Circles). While no such fully formed product has emerged since, we’ve heard word today that it’s scheduled to launch at this year’s I/O developers’ conference on 10 and 11 May.
While Google CEO Eric Schmidt suggested in September last year that a ‘social layer’ was coming to all the company’s products, it’s yet to materialise.
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That said, many of its products have had social features added in recent months. Place reviews in Google Maps, personalised news, increasingly social search results and experiments with Foursquare-like features are just some of the examples of late. Throw in the acquisition of socially focused apps developer Slide back in August 2010, and it’s clear that the company is planning a more social future.
So, could the service launch at I/O? For the past two years, Google has made big product launches at the conference. Two years ago saw Wave make its debut and last year, Google TV was unveiled. That said, Wave has since been effectively mothballed, while Google TV is yet to make a real mark. If “Google Me” does show its face this May (not necessarily under that specific name), the company will surely be hoping for ‘third time lucky’.
We’ve contacted Google for comment.
UPDATE: A Google spokesperson tells us: “We do not speculate on rumor and speculation”.
UPDATE 2: Technology blog Read Write Web has established the name of the product to be Google Circles