James Perrin

Google Circles: Circulating Rumours?

14th Mar 2011 News, Industry News, Social Media 3 minutes to read

It’s been trending on Twitter and posted all over the web; it’s mainly hearsay at the moment but there’s noise regarding Google’s latest attempt at creating a Social Networking site, Google Circles.

It started on Friday, The Next Web claimed that ‘Google Me’ or now known as ‘Google Circles’ was going to be launched this year at the I/O conference in May. The word gathered pace and come the weekend, it was claimed that Google would be announcing it even sooner. Read Write Web’s blog claimed the service would be launched at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, which is currently taking place in Austin, Texas.

Google Circles may have your head in a spin

It’s been reported that Google Circles is all about boundaries. In real life we have them; we interact with different groups and talk to different people. Some of our conversations remain private, whilst others we share. So why can’t it be like that with social media either?

Well it’s believed that’s exactly what Google have been thinking too. They’ve realised that current social media platforms operate on a, tell one, tell all basis. When we update our statuses on Facebook or tweet on Twitter everyone can read them all at once. Communication doesn’t work like this in real life, unless you’re a Town Crier, and I’m pretty sure that if we all went around talking like Town crier’s, at some point, we would all snap.

As its name suggests, we all operate within different social circles; circles of friends, family and colleagues; we have different circles within those circles too. It’s more than just a black and white distinction between public/private communication; we can do that already, send a private message instead of posting something publicly. Rather it’s a development of the sophisticated nuances involved within our everyday language, adding context and personas to conversations; the different conversations that we have within our different circles.


It’s a relatively straightforward concept to conceive, the problem however is in its design and development, something we have no indication about whatsoever. What we do know is that a former Google employee called Paul Adams, who is now at Facebook may have planted the seed which has now become Google Circles.

It’s believed that Google Circles is based on Adams’ concepts of the deficiencies current surrounding social networks. So, adding dynamism and context to the perceived linear mode of conversation which currently exists. In addition it’s also believed that Chris Messina and Jonathon Sposato are involved, both of whom are incredibly successful at creating innovative software.

Unfortunately, neither gentlemen are commenting on the story, nor is Google who are remaining predictably tight lipped. Why are they being so coy? Perhaps the failings of Google Buzz and Wave may explain that one. With it being an important part of their plans, and considering social networking’s domination on the web, I guess Google want to make sure they have got this one right.

Is it Possible?

There’s no telling the truth in any of the rumours that have surfaced; but we do know that Google have announced the integration of ‘social layers across their services’ [See: Social Search: Google and Bing Announce Updates], whether this actually means a full on social networking platform remains to be seen.

Considering social media is in its infancy, its evolution is inevitable and the idea that Google are rumoured to have created is welcomed news. Whether or not they will have the application to turn a great idea into a great service, is however, another thing.

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