Google will launch a social network, possibly called Google Circles, at its Google I/O conference in May, according to technology blog The Next Web.
The blog made the claim on Friday but it gathered ground over the weekend after the Read/Write Web blog claimed that the service would launch at the South By Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.
Google is holding several events at SXSW but quickly dismissed the rumour that it would launch anything at all at the conference. “We don’t have any product announcements today,” the company said. Word quickly went round that “Google doesn’t launch products at other people’s events” but that didn’t stop the topic trending on Twitter locally for several hours.
The Next Web, a respected technology blog, repeated its claim that Google’s social service would launch in May. Asked whether that was the case, a Google spokesperson said: “We do not comment on rumour and speculation.”
Social media has long been seen as Google’s weak spot, though Marissa Mayer was keen to point out, in her presentation here on Friday, that the company delivers social recommendations through its location-based services at the moment and has plans to go further.
Nevertheless, the company’s reputation for being deficient in this area persists and the growing power of Facebook in particular means that it’s an area Google needs to address.
At Google I/O last year, the company launched Google TV. Google Wave, a collaboration service that the company has since closed, was launched at Google I/O in 2009.