For all of Google’s web-savvy ways, it has never successfully built or maintained a social network that matters.
This is a new and very strategic position, as Google knows it is late on this front and is appropriately humble about it. In Google’s view, conceptually, there are two ways to tackle social, each impacting who may be successful in this senior post: 1) building an innovative offering specifically in this area; or 2) developing the capability and integrating social into Google’s existing portfolio.
But it’s not too late. If people are actually annoyed by Facebook’s latest privacy moves, Google could possibly provide a viable social networking alternative if it hired the right person.
It wouldn’t be easy, but it’s not impossible.