Former Facebook Executive Adam D’Angelo Confirms New Google Social Networking Effort

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By Eric Eldon

Google is making a new move into social networking, following past efforts like Orkut, Google Profiles and Buzz, according to a tweet by Digg founder Kevin Rose. He said so last weekend, but his tweet has since been deleted. Now early Facebook executive and Quora cofounder Adam D’Angelo says — on Quora, of course — that Rose was right. Here’s the text of the entry:

Adam D’Angelo, involved in Facebook early on

Here is what I’ve pieced together from some reliable sources:
• This is not a rumor. This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it. I am completely confident about this.
• They realized that Buzz wasn’t enough and that they need to build out a full, first-class social network. They are modeling it off of Facebook.
• Unlike previous attempts (before Buzz at least), this is a high-priority project within Google.
• They had assumed that Facebook’s growth would slow as it grew, and that Facebook wouldn’t be able to have too much leverage over them, but then it just didn’t stop, and now they are really scared.

“Modeling it off Facebook” likely means creating a similar user interface, features like the news feed and personal profiles, if not data polices, developer platform, core applications and other important parts of Facebook today. Between services for mobile phone numbers, email, photos, video-sharing and much more, it has enough components to make its own, as many have speculated over the years. Facebook executives have cited Google as a potentially huge threat over the last couple of years. That’s even as other services have competed more directly with Facebook features, like Twitter with status updates.

Yahoo, AOL and other companies are also looking into building more of their own social networking services. They have their own history of failures, and their own need to succeed now; developers on Facebook are in turn gauging these new markets for their potential. So far, Facebook has managed to outpace other efforts, but as Rose and D’Angelo have heard, Google itself is now feeling forced to act.