Google Patent Reveals Clues about its Social Strategy

    May 10, 2011

With as much success as Google has had, it is somewhat surprising that it has not been very fortunate in the social media area. It has had many attempts that have either been shut down or consolidated into other efforts, but the company has made it clear that it is not giving up on social media.

What do you think Google needs to do to be successful in social? Let us know.

In fact, new CEO Larry Page reportedly told Googlers that 25 percent of their bonuses would be tied directly to the success of a social strategy. From this, I think it’s safe to say that social is very important to Google.

With these recent events in mind, a patent filing from Google that shows social features seems significant. Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea first reported this news and suggested that it could be a clue into what Google’s social network could look like. He brought up some interesting points about the patent, including the fact that it resembles Twitter.

The screenshots seem to indicate a mobile interface that would consolidate various social platforms. Slawski told us that he believes Google will try to pull in its own products such as Latitude, My Maps, Gmail, and its +1 Button into the “social hub.”

“It’s a chance for Google to draw together a lot of things that they’ve been working separately and independently. It gives them a chance to put some ads on there, and it might have a lot of potential,” he said.

On the +1 Button, specifically, Slawski said he could see it being used as both a social function and also as a ranking signal for Google.

“I think Google would like to use +1 Button on their own rather than say, number of tweets or number of Facebook ‘Likes’, – it’s their own data and they have control over it that way,” he pointed out.

The screenshots also show, what appears to be, a Facebook icon. While it could simply be a placeholder, it is interesting that Google would include Facebook, especially since the two are widely known as competitors. Slawski told us that he could see Google including Facebook but that he could also see them not including it.

“They’re going to try to weave everything into it that they can that seems to make sense,” he said.

Although Google has had a rocky past with social, does this “social hub” offer potential to its future social endeavors?