Rumours sprung up over the weekend that search giant Google could be hatching plans to launch a social network to rival Facebook – possibly dubbed ‘Google Circles’.
If true, the rumours on blog sites The Next Web and ReadWriteWeb could signal Google’s first full-blown venture into the world of social networking.
ReadWriteWeb originally said on its blog that, based on what it had heard, Google’s new service would offer photo, video and status message sharing with a ‘circle’ of social contacts, rather than all contacts in bulk.
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Google quashes ‘Circles’ rumours
However, follow-up comments from Google itself have aimed to quash such rumours, stating that not only were there no plans to launch a social networking site at any forthcoming tech events, but that no such product was even in development.
The search giant’s been making smaller inroads into the trend for social networking for a while, such as Google Buzz – a ‘photo-friendly’ social updates service which is part of Gmail. And technically, it does already have a social networking site – Orkut – but despite its popularity in countries such as Brazil, it hasn’t taken off in the UK or US.
But a major social networking product remains a gap in Google’s arsenal, and some sources hypothesise that there’s no smoke without fire – despite Google’s denials.
If it does launch its own social networking site, despite its size and resources Google will face a tough challenge to succeed in an online social world currently dominated by Facebook and its 500 million active members worldwide.
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