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Google's New Social Project Is … A Toolbar? Yawn.

Google Me. Google Emerald Sea. Google +1.

Those are some of the names thought to be in play for Google’s much hyped, discussed, and anticipated social project. Maybe “overhyped” is the right word because, if TechCrunch got its hands on a real screenshot (and it appears they did), it’s just a toolbar with a “share” button.

google-toolbar

A toolbar? With a share button? That’s Google’s big social project?

Well, just a couple months ago, CEO Eric Schmidt did clarify that Google was working on adding a social “layer” to its products, not on a specific social product. And a toolbar certainly qualifies as a layer.

But the big and obvious question is, Is that all there is to it? You have to think there’s something more than what the screenshot reveals because, let’s face it, the web doesn’t need another social sharing toolbar at this point. If this is all there is to it, the name Google gives it probably won’t matter; it’s a yawner.

(Aside: Part of the problem is the tech/search industry’s insatiable appetite for anything and everything that comes out of Mountain View — or is even rumored to come out of there. Google’s developing something social? Google’s going to take on Facebook? It’s nearly impossible for Google to do anything quietly and, even if the company wanted to downplay its “big social product” and quietly release a toolbar, it wouldn’t be able to. When you’re Google, everything you do Matters. Everything gets played and overplayed. And we’re probably guilty of that here on SEL at times, too.)

More interesting, to me at least, is a related article written by Search Engine Land columnist Chris Silver Smith on his personal blog, in which he takes a stab at unblurring the email address on top of the TechCrunch image and, more importantly, questions why on earth a Google employee would risk getting fired by leaking the image in the first place. That’s much more intriguing than another social sharing toolbar.


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