Despite rumors of a false start for a Google-developed social network called Circles, the Mountain View, California-based search giant is denying that Circles is launching, at least not at the South by Southwest Interactive digital conference in Austin, Texas this week. In an interview with All Things D, Google’s Chris Messina, who’s closely associated with Circles, says of the launch date: “Not today, and not anytime soon.”
Messina says that Google is still trying to navigate digital social relationships in the Internet and how to best leverage these relationships and build functionality into them, but for now Circles isn’t even in development.
While Google seems to deny even the existence of Google Circles, various sites on the Internet are reporting that the comment from Google, which is in response to Read Write Web’s report stating “We believe that Google will preview a major new social service called Google Circles at South by Southwest Interactive today,” Circles is believed to still be launching and that the timing is uncertain. All Things D writes, “But the comment seemed to be about the timing of such a launch, not the product itself. And with so much anticipation around whatever Google does in social, a non-denial seemed almost confirmation.”
News of Circles gained momentum when Tim O’Reilly wrote initially wrote, “I’ve seen google circles, and it looks awesom,” following the Read Write Web report. However, the tech pundit later retracted his statement and says, “It’s not a product, per se, and it’s not a new social network. Just some research-y thinking about how you could better manage social data. Exactly what Chris said. I got fooled by the RWW story into thinking that they’d turned it into something they were going to announce. There’s no story here. Just some labs stuff.”
The social network service is said to include “photo, video and status message sharing,” according to Read Write Web. If in fact that is true, then when Circles is launched, it could perhaps be integrated with Android to bring some of the social features that Apple is rumored to be working on for MobileMe, which will even out the playing field between Facebook, Apple, and Google when it comes to sharing captured photos and videos.