Google Talks Brand Pages, Pseudonyms and APIs at Web 2.0 Summit

Posted by · October 19, 2011 8:21 pm

If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from watching the live stream of this year’s Web 2.0 Summit, it’s that I am actually going to ATTEND the Summit next year.  The past three days have been jam packed with high profile speakers including Sean Parker, Marc Benioff, Steve Ballmer, Ben Horowitz and today Vic Gundotra and Sergey Brin of Google.

Brin was not originally slated to appear at the conference and while he didn’t say much, what he did say about the company was telling.  Brin expressed his initial dislike of Google + when they first started building it, but said that once he started using it, he found it “instantly compelling.” And now, despite the fact that he’s not a very social guy, he has dozens of circles.

Program chair John Battelle, who has been asking some hard-ball questions during all of his interviews this week, asked the pair how Google + is doing and whether they thought it will be able to compete with Facebook.  I don’t think either Brin or Gundotra said the word “Facebook” during their entire interview, but what they did say was that while the “incumbent” had a huge advantage, Google + (which Gundotra had a heavy hand in conceptualizing and designing) is going to play a different game than its competitors.

“We’re giving your friends, mothers and cousins—who are already using Google—the chance to create a social identity,” Gundotra said.

In fact, the notion of connecting families through Google + was a common theme in Brin and Gundotra’s interview.  According to Gundotra, Google + is a great place for families scattered across the globe to connect with one another, and his own family uses Google + Hangouts to talk face-to-face.

While they don’t have an exact strategy for helping recruit family members to the social network, Gundotra did say this:
“We deeply care about families and friends being on our platform, but it will take time.  We are in this for the long haul.”
Other interesting revelations from the interview included the fact that Google plans to support pseudonyms on Google + in the future and will release a Google + API sometime soon as well.

“We are going to take a cautious approach (with the Google + API),” Gundotra said. “We want to be developer friendly. We want developers to have high confidence in the platform.  We have a reputation to uphold (based on developer involvement with the Android/Chrome platforms) but we don’t want to do anything haphazard or rushed that would offend the developer community over those APIs.”

(What Gundotra didn’t say is that company does not want to be like Facebook, who has had a somewhat volatile relationship with the developers using their API.)

Perhaps the biggest revelation made in the interview was the fact that the release of Google + brand pages are “imminent.”  When asked to define imminent, Gundotra didn’t give an exact date, but said the pages would be released—with some exciting new features—in the next few weeks.

Clearly, life inside the Google Plex is good.  As Gundotra said, “There is something going on at Google right now that is hard to explain unless you’re there.”

You can view the full interview below, courtesy of O’Reilly Media.

Thanks for giving us a little peek inside your world today, guys!

-Jenn Prentice
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