Google crosses the “activity streams”

As Ionut Alex. Chitu at Google Operating System and others have noted, Google appears to be pushing the idea of user profiles further and further into its various businesses — from Google Reader, where it just launched the ability to share your saved items with friends (provided they are on your GTalk contact list, that is) to Google Maps and other services. It seems fairly obvious that Google wants you to use your profile page as a kind of portal into all of your Google-related social activities.

This looks to me like an extension of what Google has been talking about internally when it comes to a unified social network, which was (or perhaps still is) code-named MakaMaka. I think the OpenSocial effort — in which Google is trying to get sites to agree on a uniform standard for exchanging personal information from within a social network — is also an aspect of what the company is up to, and a unified profile (based at Google, of course) is sort of the other end of that chain.

I think what Google would like us to do is to have a profile that gets extended through the various places that Google touches our online lives — which for me goes all the way from Gmail and GTalk through Google Reader and Picasa to Google Calendar and Google Docs (and, of course, search as well) — and becomes a kind of Facebook-style portal. Such a portal might have a news feed associated with it, might have photo-sharing built in, might have messaging built in.

All of it would be tied in to search, of course, so that when someone searches our name, the Google profile is what they find. Does that mean we can add Facebook and MySpace to the list of companies Google is going to kill, along with Wikipedia and Microsoft? Hardly. But if I’m right, it will certainly be interesting to watch.


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