The one piece of the Google puzzle that seldom gets any attention but I believe is going to be an absolute key piece of the puzzle is Orkut.
Earlier in the week, Eric Schmidt gave a very rare insight into Google's longer-term strategies when he said in the big Newsweek Web 2.0 article:
Everybody thinks we're building Operating Systems, PCs And browsers. They clearly don't get it. Look at MySpace. Very Interesting.
Google has clearly outgrown it's home page. Pretty much the only way you can find most of the recently developed services is to Google it and then follow the link.
However, to date Google has resisted the "portal" model. Schmidt's comments, perhaps for the first time, confirm that Google will head down that portal route because that's what MySpace is, at its most basic level – a personalised portal.
So how long before we see for want of a better term, GoogleSpaces? Google's personalised home page meets MySpace?? Maybe, it will look something like this:
Google keeps insisting that it has not wavered from its core mission of organising the world's information and increasingly people are relying on personal portals to do just that so it makes absolute sense that Google will follow suit.
What is different about MyScene is it is a combination of a social networking environment amalgamated with content relevent to that social network. So while I can go and build relationships in LinkedIn, I don't hang out there because LinkedIn has not content. When you start to interact and collaborate with content via your social network you build deeper connections with people because you're relationship moves beyond surface-level similarities and your content also becomes more satisfying because its shared and enjoyed socially.
So the big piece of the puzzle that Google has yet to plug in is Orkut but it has made a few special appearances of late. Google mentioned in its analyst briefing that Orkut when integrated with GMail has the potential to become the ultimate address book. And then there was the initiative with Nike around the soccer/football Orkut social network.
Take a good look at that, because that could very well be the best indication yet as to the direction Google wants to go. You see, the power of Google is that it can create a MySpace for all. Once it establishes a framework for plugging Orkut into the rest of its content plays there's no limit to the number of communities and networks it can create because Google is the ultimate long-tail content aggregator, remember.
And you don't think advertisers are going to love that? Magazine publisher should get very scared if this is the case because right now, that's their turf – delivering advertisers well formed, niche communities.