"We will write about social initiatives within Google, such as Google Friend Connect, as well as community efforts like OpenSocial," Mendel Chuang, Product Marketing Manager for Google Friend Connect, writes in the new blog's first post. "We plan to share some success stories, present tips and tricks, provide updates when there are new developments, and much more." I'd bet it's not just me to whom that reads like "we're going to talk about the social web - by talking more about us, Google."
Google has all kinds of positive things to offer, from the wonders of Google Reader to the awesome Google Social Graph API. We've got high hopes for Android to beat the phones we've got in our own pockets. But each new entrance into "the social" that Google makes is also worthy of a heavy dose of skepticism.
Google is Big Brother just waiting to happen. The company indexes the bottom of the ocean, the web, the view of the front of your house and an increasing number of peoples' genetic makeup. That's not something to take lightly.
Its specific products are often a big disappointment, too. OpenSocial failed to solve the data portability problem that was the only reason most people cared about it, then it failed to deliver the app portability it promised to developers. Google FriendConnect is ugly and seems pointless until you tie it to the as yet untested system called Latitude, where Google knows your every waking move around town.
We've subscribed to the new Google Social Web Blog and we hope to see some good come of it, but we expect a lot of big PR talk to be broadcast from it. That's fine for other Google blogs, where we just want to get the products and be left alone. But when it comes to the social web as a concept, we're a lot more cynical about Google.