Why is Google traveling down this path once again? Aren't the failures of Dodgeball, Orkut, Jaiku, Buzz, Wave, etc. enough for Google to realize that it just doesn't understand social networking? Maybe, but Google can't afford to watch the web become social without it.
Do you think Facebook or Google is more trustworthy if you're thinking about buying the new Prince CD? What about a new toaster? Or a new golf club? Today, it's probably Google, but soon enough you could be asking Facebook friends what to buy. It's this threat that should (and probably does) scare the pants off Google's executives.
A couple things to keep in mind: This presentation isn't new. And it's not necessarily indicative of how Google feels. The company has hundreds of researchers. Still, we think this is instructive for people wondering why Google wants to get in the social network business.