Google: Don’t cross the “activity streams”

Egon: “There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.”

Venkman: “What?”

Egon: “Don’t cross the streams.”

Venkman: “Why?”

Egon: “It would be bad.”

According to a leaked video from an internal Google briefing — first reported by a commenter called “fanboy” at Google Blogoscoped and expanded on by Ionut Alex. Chitu at Google Operating System — the company plans to tie together some of the strands of social information it has through Google Reader and other services into what it apparently refers to as “activity streams.”

The idea seems to be that your RSS feeds and your Calendar events and GTalk updates and your blog postings could all be turned into a single stream of information, which others could subscribe to. As more than one person has mentioned, this sounds very much like a Facebook feed, which contains everything from status updates to photos that have been posted.

There aren’t a whole lot of details on these new plans — which go by the code name Maka or Mocha or possibly Makamaka, depending on who you believe — but I think such a feature is a smart move for Google to make.

It’s ironic that Facebook’s unified feed, which caused so much consternation when it was first released, is a huge part of what makes the site so sticky — being able to see what all of your contacts are up to in a single glance is very addictive. Google has a bunch of useful apps like Gmail and Reader and so on, but they aren’t tied together very well. Mocha could change that.

Note: There are also some pretty amazing stats about Google Reader in the video briefing, including the fact that the back-end for the Reader (which apparently serves as the back-end for other Google apps that involve feeds) has 10 terabytes of data and 8 million feeds, and that Google plans to add feed recommendations and other social features soon.

Further reading:

MG Siegler at ParisLemon says Google appears to be moving in the direction he has been hoping it would for some time now, and Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land has some thoughts on the various features Google seems to be looking at — including possibly allowing comments on Google Reader shared items, which is a bit of a sticky subject as this TechCrunch post outlines.


Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped says in a comment here that he has reason to believe the proper name for Google Reader’s new project is “Maka-Maka.” Not sure what the name is supposed to mean — all I could find out from a Google search was that Maka-Maka is the name of a popular “manga” (or adult) comic involving two female friends who become lovers, and that the word “maka” in Hawaiian means “eye.”

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