Oh, there’s so much to discuss in that statement. First of all, ‘social layer?’ Some reporters are taking this to mean that Google will be adding social elements to all of their current sites as opposed to developing a new site specifically aimed at competing with Facebook. This being the case, it’s likely they’ll create a home page for people that allows them to link to and follow all of the related info from their friends.
Remember, Google already tried a similar trick with Google Buzz which was a horrendous failure. But Buzz was like Twitter meets Digg and not a true social networking site where you can spend virtual time with your friends.
The second part of the statement is the “this fall” part. Isn’t it fall? Or is he talking about calendar fall which will happen on September 22. Sure there have been rumors of a social site on the horizon, but are they really ready to roll out a major program in the next few weeks?
As for the “slipped” part, I wasn’t there, but according to Bloomberg, Schmidt dropped the info unexpectedly when a Facebook executive made a comment about Google building a social networking site. When questioned further, he wouldn’t elaborate, except to say that he hoped Facebook would allow Google access to their data. The Wall Street Journal wrote:
“The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data,” Mr. Schmidt said. “Failing that, there are other ways to get that information.” He declined to be specific.
If Google Me gets it even half right, they could be the first real competition Facebook has seen in a long time. Looking at the track record though, I don’t expect to see a mass exodus from Facebook anytime soon.
Can Google can put together a strong social networking site that’s strong enough to knock out the current king? What do you think?