THIS IS VERY VERY SMART!!!!!
Read Write Web
Google hasn't said so, but Read Write Web's Josh Catone surmises that the Web giant aims to turn iGoogle, its start page, into a social network. Earlier this week, Google unveiled a new developer sandbox for the start page that includes support for its OpenSocial APIs, which Catone says "makes this officially the start of a trend we're seeing in start pages to get more social."
In its FAQ about the new iGoogle sandbox, Google suggests as much: "This is not the final network that will be used in iGoogle," the company writes about its "friends" section. "Users will have full control over who their friends are and will be able to easily modify their list of friends. Stay tuned for details."
RWW and other pubs have pushed the idea of social start pages for some time now. The homepage, a users' most visited page, is certainly a natural competitor for a social network; "Facebook is just launching their platform," Catone says in a previous post. For companies that provide souped-up start pages, like NetVibes and PageFlakes (which was recently acquired by LiveUniverse), adding social features is a logical next step. If Google really is adding social features to its start page competitor, don't be surprised if that sparks an industry wide trend. - Read the whole story...