You've got to credit Google for trying to be the one-stop shop for everything online: It just grabbed hold of the craze for social networking, and built it right into Google users' homepages. Will everything soon be social networked-up?
What Google's done is boost the iGoogle page so it can have social networking widgets embedded by the user--19 different widgets, some made by Google, some by developers, were released simultaneously yesterday. They kind of echo some of the widgets you can play through Facebook, and there's even a Scrabble app. Furthermore, you can now befriend fellow Google users from your Google contacts list, and even chat with them with an embedded IM system. Google's backing this all up with an API, OpenSocial, which lets other developers craft widgets that can hook up to MySpace, Friendster, Hi5, Sonico, Ning, and Orkut.
But iGoogle's API will not, of course, connect up to Facebook. Because what Google's trying to do is steal a little of Facebook's thunder, while working on the real-time data/social net mojo that it's really keen to get involved with.
And it has us wondering--if Google, which is a search engine first and foremost and a multi-service online portal second, is wiring in some social networking code...will everything soon have a social net angle? After all, games are starting to do it, your plants can Twitter when they're thirsty, and even Apple's rumored to be baking the concept into iTunes 9. It seems like everything one does on a daily basis will be transmissible and discussable on some social forum in the future--true Lifecasting, perhaps. Will we trust Google, with its vast warehouse of data on our online habits with such personal data?