The New Google Groups: Part Wiki, Part ‘My Web’, Part Social Network

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The rumor, according to Rupert Murdoch, is that Google could’ve picked up MySpace for $280 million before he bought it for twice as much — now regarded by some as a bargain. It was also rumored a couple of years ago that Google offered to buy Friendster and the then high-flying social network turned Google down.

Google’s own social network, Orkut, has been largely a failure except in Brazil. Except for Orkut and until recently, with Notebook, Picasa and Coop, Google had generally ignored community and user-generated content. In May, CEO Eric Schmidt remarked that Google would be integrating user-generated content much more directly into its apps and specifically into search going forward. There’s been some of that but not a ton to date.

Now, with the revamp of Google Groups, Google may get the proverbial “second bite of the apple.” What do I mean here?

I read about some of the changes on Loren Baker’s Search Engine Journal and then investigated. What I discovered was very interesting.

Google Groups started out as a kind of imitation of Yahoo! Groups in a way. But it has now become something much more interesting. The new Groups may be a way for Google to back into social networking in a more direct way (if that isn’t a total contradiction).

The new Google Groups is much more usable than the previous version. It offers the ability to create a fairly rich personal profile. It also offers the ability to use Groups as a kind of Wiki and/or social bookmarking substitute. In addition, Google has integrated its Page Creator functionality into Groups so that group members can create collaborative pages.

Of course, relevant ads are served (as they have been) in the right column.

The new look and feel and functionality brings Google Groups much closer to a social networking tool than the old Groups. It will be very interesting to see how users react and what, if anything, Google does to promote it as a social network.


Here Google’s blog posting about the new Groups.

2 Responses to “The New Google Groups: Part Wiki, Part ‘My Web’, Part Social Network”

  1. And Now Google Docs & Spreadsheets « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Most interesting to me are the collaboration and publishing options, which makes docs & spreadsheets a little like a wiki. Google recently upgraded Groups to add more social and wiki-like features. […]

  2. Google Acquires Jotspot « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Jotspot is an online collaboration tool for businesses and is thus “social.” But Google Groups just added some social, Wiki-like elements itself. What will be the relationship between Jotspot and Google Groups be going forward? […]

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