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Brands As Publishers – Part 2

By - April 04, 2010

The second installment of Toward A New Understanding of Publishing is up over at the FM Blog. From it:

… what does it mean to have a good voice? And how does that relate to publishing?

Marketers have always aligned themselves with great voices: publishers whose communities reflect the Brand’s core values and promise. Some have even taken the next step – they’ve created those communities, extending beyond making a “traditional” media buy. American Express, for example, runs a significant print publishing business that includes Travel+Leisure and Food&Wine. And P&G famously created the soap opera in the early days of television, and today its PGP arm still runs two soaps, as well as the People’s Choice awards.

Initially, the benefits of such moves were clear: profitable properties (a new revenue source), good lists to mine for direct response conversion (marketing efficiency), and a high quality environment in which to market your Brand (well-lit Brand environments).

However, not many brands want to be in the magazine or television business – even when they weren’t in decline, as they are now. There are plenty of significant operating realities that simply do not scale in those mediums, if they ever did. The impetus to creating Brand Publishing offline was strategically correct, but its true value proposition – one all Brands can and must embrace – will be found online.

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Why I Like Working With Marketers

By - March 31, 2010

Cross posted from the FM Blog:

…For today’s Signal topic, I’d like to talk about marketing as a portal to understanding your business.

Now, before you roll your eyes and click away, stick with me for a minute. If you’re reading this post, chances are you are in business. And chances are also pretty good that business is media or marketing, because that’s the focus of Signal, after all.

So, what business are you in? Or, more to the point I’d like to make: What is your business?

You’d might be surprised at the number of folks I’ve met with in the past year who pause when I ask that question. Because, in the main, that number is exceedingly low.

Allow me to explain. While it might seem, from a cursory review of my career, that I’m fascinated by media and marketing, what really gets me up in the morning (or more accurately, wakes me up in the middle of the night) is business. I love the puzzle that is connecting a great idea with a great market (that’s the entrepreneur in me), and I love learning how Really Big Companies work. In fact, over the past decade or so, I’ve gone pretty deep in both: Starting several small businesses based on Big Ideas, and spending a ton of time with very engaged folks deep in brands like HP, American Express, Walmart, P&G, Intel, McDonald’s, and countless others.

And without an exception, I’ve found that asking interesting questions of senior folks responsible for marketing at large companies has led to exceedingly smart insights on how those businesses work. It’s sort of like Clift Notes for Big Biz – if you want to understand the company behind major brands, start with the folks who run marketing.

An example. Earlier this week I sat down with an SVP responsible for marketing at a major retailer. Because I don’t have his (or her) permission, I’ll keep my source – and the company – anonymous. But know this – this company has a top 25 e-commerce site, a national brand, a major catalog business, and several different divisions, all of which are high-end and are sub-brands in and of themselves.

As we dug into our conversation, we quickly dropped any pretense of our dialog being about marketing, at least in any traditional sense, and quickly got to questions that had to do with the business – what products sold when, where, and why; what kinds of data were gathered to support business decisions; which customers were most profitable, most elusive, and most difficult to convert; what role the founder’s DNA played in what had become a major enterprise’s business decisions (and why it was crucial to respect that); how the competition was playing its cards and what response to take to those moves; what institutional blocks were impeding innovation in the business; and on, and on, and on.

I could spend hours and hours, and days and days, in conversations like this one. In fact, I’m honored to say that for the most part, doing just that is pretty much my job these days…..(more )

Toward a New Understanding of Publishing (Part 1)

By - March 28, 2010

This weekend I finished a the first draft of a new series on publishing, not unlike the three part series I wrote more than three years ago on conversational media. I’ve posted the draft over on the FM blog, as it’s been FM that has inspired my thinking on these topics. From the post:

Ask most media professionals to define “publishing” and they’ll most likely resort to something akin to the standard dictionary entry: “The business of issuing printed matter.”

By that definition, publishing ain’t much of a growth business.

But here at FM, we’d like to recapture what we believe is the essence of the term. To us, publishing means something far more than putting words and images to paper. Back when paper and printing presses revolutionized how humans communicated, we ended up conflating two very important concepts. One was the message – what was being said, and in what context. The second was the medium – the transport for that message. The two became seen as the same thing in printed matter, and the traditional definition of publishing was born.

It’s not an accident that we identified the message (what is being said) with the medium (how that message gets into our minds). After all, before print, all we poor humans had as a medium was our voices. Back then, with apologies to McLuhan, the medium truly was the message.

Think of publishing as speaking – a conversation – it’s clear that publishing means far more than printing. Publishing means connecting a community through the art and science of communication. And nowhere is publishing more vibrant – and conversational – than through the medium we’ve come to call the Internet….

You Say Debacle, I Say Debatable…

By - March 24, 2010

nestle logo US.pngMy daily Signal is up over at FM, in which I break down the Nestle dust up. From it:  

Musing on the recent Nestle Facebook “debacle” (which I do not believe is, or needs to be proclaimed a debacle), Joshua-Michéle concludes: If Nestle neither wishes to change or defend itself on the merits – then they shouldn’t be operating in social media.

Well, yes and no. Yes, in that the sheer beauty of social media is that it forces questions to the fore, and thus forces companies to respond to those questions. But no, it’s not OK, as a strategy, to “not be operating in social media.” I sense, perhaps, that Joshua-Michéle was making the same point in a roundabout way.

My reasoning? Because all of our customers are already operating in social media. You can’t pretend otherwise. And it’s better to engage, make mistakes, admit those mistakes, and move on, than to not engage at all. I call this “conversational judo,” and suggest we all practice it, daily. Twice on Sunday, perhaps….

The 2010 Web2 Summit Theme: Points of Control

By - March 21, 2010

web22010.pngEach year at the Web 2 Summit, Tim and I try to focus our program on an overarching theme that we believe best sums up the year ahead. This is never easy to do – the event is still eight months away. But this year I feel better than I ever have about our focus, because it’s a return to our roots, as it were.

If you know my work, you know I’m fascinated by the interplay between the entrepreneurial culture of our industry and the giants who have emerged from within it – Google, Facebook, Microsoft, to name a few – as well as those who have joined it from other industries – Comcast, GE, and Newscorp come to mind.

For 2010, Web 2 will focus on the chess game in which all of these companies are now engaged, a battle to gain the upper hand in crucial “points of control” across the Internet Economy. The idea sprang from Tim’s “War for the Web” post last Fall, but we’re taking that riff and broadening it, identifying chokepoints on an increasingly crowded chessboard.    

Fifteen years and two recessions into the commercial Internet, it’s clear that our industry has moved into a new competitive phase – a “middlegame” in the battle to dominate the Internet economy. To understand this shift, we’ll use the Summit’s program to map strategic inflection points across the Internet landscape, identifying key players who are battling to control the services and infrastructure of a websquared world.

The stakes are high. As the Web and the world intertwine through mobile and sensor platforms, the decisions we make – as leaders of this industry, as entrepreneurs, and as consumers – will determine the fundamental architecture of our society.

Will distribution, for example, be locked in, or left open? While the Web was once considered to be an open distribution platform, access to content is increasingly becoming a key point of control. The rise of iTunes and Hulu, the vertical integration of the iPhone and iPad, and the promise (or threat) of paid content have brought the model of free media into question.

Another battle is brewing for control of the social graph. While we’d argue that no one “owns” your social graph, Facebook may beg to differ, at least in practice, and Google has clearly laid down its own gauntlet in the form of Buzz and social search. Related, of course, is control of identity services – will Facebook become the one ring to rule them all? And is that a good thing?

Throughout the program, we’ll be talking to leaders, upstarts, and unexpected new players in these and many other key “points of control.” Payment systems, location services, voice recognition, hardware and mobile platforms, content management, data transport, commerce and advertising ecosystems: We’ll unpack them all.

We’ll look at the calculus behind entrenched platforms like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, of course, but we’ll also feature companies who are changing strategy and moving into new fields of battle. Apple as an advertising channel? Comcast as a content network? Cisco as a social network? Adobe as an online marketing company? And of course, as we do every year, we’ll feature the insurgent upstarts and disruptors who hope to replace them all.

I’m proud of the role that the Web 2 Summit plays, once each year, in gathering leaders of the Internet Economy to debate and determine business strategy. With this year’s program we’re redoubling our focus on this critical discussion. I hope you’ll all join Tim and me this November 15-17 in San Francisco – we look forward to the conversation. Early registration for those of you who have invitations can be done here. If you want to come, simply fill out a request here. See you there!

Thursday Signal – Repeat After Me: Apps Are (Currently) Myopic (Or…We've Seen This Movie Before…)

By - March 10, 2010

Screen shot 2010-03-10 at 8.26.08 PM.png

I’m not claiming to be deeply informed about the app marketplace, which Google stirred up today (and, to my mind, the market could use a few more spoons). But I do use apps. At least, I use enough of them to feel like a nearly typical member of the species (as compared to a few of my peers, who are so deeply involved in AppWorld that they have – just maybe – lost a bit of perspective.)  

So, here’s my beef with AppWorld. In short, it reminds me of computing back in about 1987. Yeah, 24 years ago, back when I was a cub reporter for MacWeek, I covered the burgeoning world of Apple and Apple developers. And trust me, I’m getting a pretty strong sense of deja vu. I guess being old counts for something.

Back in the late 1980s, folks who developed applications for the new Macintosh OS had two very strong sentiments about Apple. One, they LOVED the company and its Macintosh development environment. They loved it for what it was, for what it could be, and for the opportunity it presented to them – a newly fallen bowl of virgin powder, into which clever and entrepreneurial programmers could strap it on and push off to lay fresh tracks. Imagine the possibilities! A program that let you paint with your mouse! A program that let you visualize otherwise mute spreadsheets! A program that taught you how to type by watching actual fingers move on a keyboard on the screen! Holy cow, the possibilities were limitless!

But then there was the second strong sentiment. I’ll sum it up in a phrase: F*cking G@#$%damn Apple! The company was impossible to work with, utterly controlling, miserly with its developer tools, overbearing in its demands, myopic in its decision making. In fact, an entire organization sprung up, the Macintosh Developers Network (I think, not the current MDN, which is a UK org), seemingly driven by its members need to console each other in the face of the inscrutable Cupertino. (Apple never did really embrace the MDN, though I found in its members some very good sources…).

So let’s fast forward to today. Once again, Apple has created an extraordinary new environment for developers and entrepreneurs, and once again, it has fostered pretty much the same two sentiments.

But unlike the late 1980s, this time the world is different. It’s connected. It’s web-driven. The Web is the World, and the world demands connections.

But so far, what I’ve noticed most about apps in AppWorld is that they are, for the most part, all about themselves. They’re not connected to the greater web, and they don’t encourage you to move seamlessly from one app to another, depending on your intent.

And that, to my mind, can’t stand.

Just a thought. Now, onto some good linkage:

Google Launches the Google Apps Marketplace (Mashable) As I said….

comScore Reports January 2010 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share (Comscore) Because you can’t get enough datapoints about something that confuses us all.

Engage your users to survive, Google tells newspapers (Guardian) Google, lecturing publishers on engagement. The world is truly upside down.

Gen Y Goes for Online Banking (eMarketer) Take heed. Are you offering your services online? Why not?

ARM sees over 50 new iPad-like devices out this year (Computerworld) Thank God.

Why MySpace Co-Presidents Aren’t Worried About Growth (PaidContent) Well, I doubt that will last.

FTC Said to Ask Google Rivals for Statement on AdMob, May Signal Challenge (Bloomberg) My my. Hmm. My.

Corporate Branding Goes Rogue (AdAge) “Social media is not just another tactic to be tacked onto the proverbial backside of a corporate identity system. It needs to be recognized for what it is — the disruptive technology that radically changes the game. So much of what operated in the old corporate branding model simply does not apply anymore.”

RealNetworks’ Rob Glaser on why Apple’s model must be stopped (TechFlash) ….and as long as I’m on the hobbyhorse…comScore: Android Shows Strength As Mobile Web Usage Grows (SEL)

Announcing The Fifth Annual CM Summit: Theme and Initial Lineup (FM blog) I had to remind you of this, didn’t I? Great lineup….

Ad Publishing Tool Bridges Traditional And Online Media (MediaPost)

Google Gains Traction In Display-Ad Push (WSJ via ATD)

Announcing The Fifth Annual CM Summit: Theme and Initial Lineup

By -

summit-arrow-color-2.png(cross posted from FM blog )

I’m very excited to announce the theme and line-up for our fifth CM Summit, to be held in New York June 7-8 (it’s the kickoff conference to New York’s annual Internet Week).

We’ve got a lot to talk about this year – our theme is “Marketing in Real Time.”

2009 was the year the web went real time. Twitter grew five fold and became a major online player, tens of millions of us learned how to live out loud in public. Facebook responded by changing its approach to user data, making its more than 400 million user profiles publicly searchable. And Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo began integrating Facebook and Twitter’s real time signals into their search offerings, creating an ever-circulating ecosystem of conversation across the web.

2009 was also the year the web went mobile and local. The “broadband of mobile” – 3G – became ubiquitous. As Apple’s iPhone consolidated its grip on the smart phone market, Google and its partners introduced the open-platform Android, Palm introduced its Pre and Pixi, Verizon its map, and AT&T responded in force, kicking off what is sure to be a multi-year, multi-party marketing war. “There’s an app for that” became a cultural catchphrase, and even Intel prepared to become a player in the new app economy, driven by the rise of a new class of devices, including netbooks. By year’s end, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker had predicted that the mobile web will far exceed the current web in scope and opportunity.

Mobile, local, real time, social – in its second decade, the web has matured and taken a central position in our culture, one that no longer relegates the Internet to role of “other.” The web is now a part of every aspect of our lives, and as marketers, we must integrate this fact into our strategy and our execution. That means rethinking what we’ve grown accustomed to calling “traditional media” and imagining new ways to blend offline and online. It means developing the skills and practices of a publisher, and taking a platform-based approach to connecting with customers. And it means rethinking some of our “best practices” – including measurement, research, and the agency-client relationship.

So what can we learn from the past year as we enter a decade where the real time web will become ubiquitous? What worked, what failed, and why? What platforms have emerged as steady new partners? What startups are lurking in Silicon Valley’s wings, poised to once again change the game and offer new channels of communication with our customers?

At the CM Summit you’ll hear cross-platform case studies from senior marketers at brands like Starbucks, AT&T, Adobe, Paramount, and many more. You’ll meet the leaders of platform companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Bing, and Yahoo. And as always, you’ll discover the next wave of disruptors – companies like Foursquare, Boxee, and AdMob.

Here is the initial 2010 speaker lineup – expect more announcements in the coming weeks. Register now (while the early bird price is still in effect!), and I look forward to seeing you in New York!

Omar Hamoui – Founder & CEO AdMob

Ann Lewnes – SVP of Corporate Marketing and Communications Adobe

Chris Schembri – VP Media Services AT&T

Henry Blodget – EIC The Business Insider

Avner Ronen – CEO boxee

Ken Wirt – VP, Consumer Marketing Cisco

Deanna Brown – President and COO Federated Media

Dennis Crowley – Co-founder foursquare

Rob Norman – CEO Group M North America

Bradley Horowitz – VP, Product Marketing Google

Susan Wojcicki – VP, Product Management Google

Dennis Woodside – VP, Americas Operations Google

Arianna Huffington – Co-founder & Editor-in-chief Huffington Post

Joel Lunenfeld – CEO Moxie Interactive

Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. – Chairman The New York Times Company

Amy Powell – SVP, Interactive Marketing Paramount Pictures

Bob Lord – CEO Razorfish

Chris Bruzzo – VP- Brand, Content& Online Starbucks Coffee Company

Dick Costolo – COO Twitter

Hilary Schneider – Executive Vice President Yahoo

The CM Summit thanks its sponsors:

Premier: Adobe Diamond: American Express Platinum: Blend Interactive, Intel Gold: Dell, HP, Verizon Media Partners: IAB, Internet Week NY

PS – If you’re interested, follow us on Twitter, fan us on Facebook and join our Linked In Group. We look forward to shaping this conference together.

Database of Intentions Chart – Version 2, Updated for Commerce

By - March 07, 2010

There are many, many signals in the Database of Intentions, as my readers have pointed out, but the one I feel compelled to add to the chart I created Friday is the Commerce signal. This signal emerged before search, really, and has remained a constant, though honestly it has yet to become a signal that others can truly leverage into an open ecosystem (unlike the signal of search, or status update, or the social graph). I expect that to change, and shortly. So here you go, an updated version of the chart, for the record. I expect this chart may well evolve into a pretty complicated ecosystem in its own right, over time….

  DBoI v 2 3.07.10.png

The Database of Intentions Is Far Larger Than I Thought

By - March 05, 2010

Screen shot 2010-03-05 at 9.01.41 AM.pngWay back in November of 2003, when I was a much younger man and the world had yet to fall head over heels in love with Google, I wrote a post called The Database of Intentions. It was an attempt to explain a one-off reference in an earlier post – but not much earlier, as the “DBoI” post, as I call it, was just the sixty-third post of my then-early blogging career. (This is the 5,142nd, by comparison…)

I had, in fact, been ruminating on this concept for over a year, driven by an Holy Sh*t moment in late 2001 when Google introduced its first ever Zeitgeist round up of trending search terms. Scanning the lists of rising and declining terms, I realized that Google – not to mention every other search engine, ISP, and most likely every government – had in their grasp a datastream that, were they to just pay attention, could quite possibly be the most potent signal of human intentions in the history of the world.

Zeitgeist, it struck me, was proof that Google was indeed paying attention. I went on to write The Search, and Google went on to become, well, Google. My study of Google also led me to start Web 2, with Tim O’Reilly, and Federated Media, which I positioned as a media company that leveraged the impact of The Database of Intentions.

But over the past few years, as I’ve labored in the fields of digital media and marketing – mostly through my work at FM – I’ve come to revise my concept of what The Database of Intentions truly is. In my initial description, I limited the concept to web search and web search alone:

The Database of Intentions is simply this: The aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result.

At the time, that certainly seemed like a big enough idea. No such artifact had ever existed, and its implications were massive. In my 2003 post, I continued:

This information represents, in aggregate form, a place holder for the intentions of humankind – a massive database of desires, needs, wants, and likes that can be discovered, supoenaed, archived, tracked, and exploited to all sorts of ends. Such a beast has never before existed in the history of culture, but is almost guaranteed to grow exponentially from this day forward. This artifact can tell us extraordinary things about who we are and what we want as a culture. And it has the potential to be abused in equally extraordinary fashion.

Search was a pristine signal, an eruption of oxygen in the anoxic ocean of the early web, and an entire ecosystem grew in its bloom. The first implication was already manifest: Google had launched AdWords and AdSense, Overture (later to become Yahoo Search Marketing) was thriving, and a burgeoning paid search ecosystem was in the early stages of becoming a multi-billion commercial expression of the Database of Intention’s power.

But as anyone who’s been reading this site already knows, web search as a pure signal has been attenuating of late – overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of data on the web, for one, and secondly by our own increasingly complicated expectations.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does the Internet. In the past year I’ve come to the conclusion that “web search” was just the first of many fields in the Database of Intentions. For those of you who are not database geeks, and to further pad the metaphor, a field in a database is colloquially defined as a specific type of information in that database. Sets of fields are called records, and sets of records make up the database.

My mistake in 2003 was to assume that the entire Database of Intentions was created through our interactions with traditional web search. I no longer believe this to be true. In the past five or so years, we’ve seen “eruptions” of entirely new fields, each of which, I believe, represent equally powerful signals – oxygen flows around which massive ecosystems are already developing. In fact, the interplay of all of these signals (plus future ones) represents no less than the sum of our economic and cultural potential.

By now you’ve probably already guessed what these new signals might be. I’ve made a rudimentary chart, but to narrate:

(NB: i’ve updated the chart here with a field for commerce…)

Fields in the DBoI 3.2010.png

The first signal, of course, was The Query. A query was a declaration of a very particular intent: What I Want from the web. Sure, it has many permutations – navigation, commerce, informational, etc. etc., but in essence, the goal was to find something you wanted. Hence the name search, after all.  

The next signal to emerge is The Social Graph. With this signal we’ve declared not only Who We Are, we’ve also declared Who We Know. Both are powerful intent-driven declarations, and both have deep interplays with search. By manifesting who we are and who we know, we can find and be found by others.

The third signal emerged almost simultaneously with The Social Graph – The Status Update. This is a personal declaration of what we deem important, noteworthy, shareable: What’s on our minds, what’s happening, what’s worthy. Again, a powerful search signal, in particular in real time.

The latest signal is The Check-in – or Where I Am. This is a crowning declaration of intent, in a fashion, because it connects the physical to the virtual, securing the Database of Intentions to the terra firma of the Real World. As with the other three fields, the check-in – which I expect will soon become automatic via our mobile devices – is a vastly powerful signal of intent: “I am here. So what you got for me?”

Taken together (and honestly, there’s really no other way to think about it, to my mind), these signals form a Database of Intentions that is magnitudes of order larger, more complex, and more powerful than my original concept back in 2003. And while the current players in each category are clear, what’s also clear is that the battle is on to control each of these critical signals. Google, if you include its Local services, already plays in all of them, and I expect Microsoft will as well. Facebook may never play in “The Query,” nor will Twitter, but expect both to play in The Check-in, and soon. The newcomers? Well, most of us expect them to be acquired. Then again, that’s what we thought of Google in 2000, and Facebook in 2005. Why should Foursquare in 2010 be any different?

All of this begs a new definition of Search. I’ve often said that Search should not be defined by web search, but rather, by what a search is in the abstract. To my mind, each tweet or status update is a search query of sorts, as is each check-in and even each connection in the social graph. A more catholic definition of search would allow for a reconciliation of all these fields in the Database of Intentions. Regardless, it’s ever more obvious that while “traditional search” is reaching a plateau of sorts, at least in regards to how we understand its potential, when you add the new signals of social, status update, and check-in, we’re still in the very early stages of a distinctly punctuated phase of the Internet’s evolution.

I’m on the lookout for new Signals. I’m quite certain we’re not nearly finished creating them.

——-

NB: As a creator and publisher of media, one very strong conclusion can be drawn from all of this. If you’re not viewing your job to be a curator, clarifier, interpreter, and amplifier of the Database of Intentions, you’re soon going to be out of business. The Database of Intentions is the fuel that drives media platforms, and as I’ve argued elsewhere, every business is now a media business.

NBB: My thanks to the folks at Adobe and Omniture for the forcing mechanism of my keynote earlier this week, where I first organized the thinking above.

Google Rolling Out Social Search: But Does It Leverage Facebook?

By - January 27, 2010

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Forget the iPad, today Google is taking another step toward its stated goal of “making search more social.” There’s a lot of goodness in here, in terms of features and approach, but it’s just silly to pretend you can do any of this without directly addressing the 400 million-person elephant in the room called Facebook. Put simply: I can’t figure out if this new service uses my Facebook social graph. And to my mind, that’s a problem.

From the blog post announcing the public beta of social search (first announced at Web 2 late last year):

We think there’s tremendous potential for social information to improve search, and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. We’re leaving a “beta” label on social results because we know there’s a lot more we can do. If you want to get the most out of Social Search right away, get started by creating a Google profile, where you can add links to your other public online social services.

Indeed – a lot more, like make it really easy to use your Facebook social graph, the way tons of other sites and apps do. Why not just use Facebook Connect? Hang on a tick, the video giving us an overview of the service says once you create that Google Profile, you can add connections via Blogger, Twitter, and “any other online networks you might be a part of” (45 seconds in). Might that include Facebook?

OK dear readers, I’m going to do it. I’m gonna make a Google Profile, just to find out…. Well, I’m still a bit perplexed. You can add any URL as a “Link” in your profile, so I added my Facebook pages. However, once I got through the initial form (which was not simple – I had to fill out all the info I already did with Facebook and LinkedIn, and my own name is not available as a profile URL, not /johnbattelle, not jbattelle. Darn! I picked /johnlinwoodbattelle, so now you all know my middle name…) Er, anyway, there *was* a prompt to “Share It On Facebook” after all that…

Aha! Maybe this will get my Facebook social graph goodness into Google Social Search?

Not that I could tell. Just a simply “share on Facebook” implementation, declaring my profile to my FB pals. But no deep integration. As far as I can tell, my Facebook social graph will not inform my social searchin’ on Google. As I understand it from reading previous coverage of the product, Google social search *will* leverage FriendFeed, recently purchased by Facebook. But as far as I can tell, it does not leverage Facebook proper.

And that, to my mind, is just silly. Silly in the main, because as a consumer, clear, direct, and transparent integration with Facebook would be a huge *win* for my understanding of Google’s social searching. Wouldn’t it? Or am I missing something? (Besides the competitive issues, of course…)

I’ve pinged Google and other sources to find out if I’m just deeply in the dark….

Update: Google has provided me an answer to my initial question:

“If someone links to his Facebook account from his Google profile, Social Search may surface that user’s public profile page. These are the same public profile pages already available on a search of Google.com and other search engines today. While we’re interested to continue expanding the comprehensiveness of Social Search, we do not currently use your Facebook connections as part of Google Social Search.”

What I’d like to know then is this: Why not?