According to Mike Elgan, if they purchase Twitter, that’ll be exactly what they are developing with Google Profiles.
Is it possible that is what Google is planning? Sure. Could they develop something absolutely, positively, useful? Obviously they know how to do that with other products. Will it “kill” Facebook? Eh, maybe.
This actually brings up an idea that I’ve been talking to many people about lately when it comes to using Social Networking tools, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Friendfeed, etc. It’s not just about having a service that allows you to link up your websites, photos and adding a status update piece, it’s about who else is there. The thing that makes Facebook attractive as either a personal or professional networking tool, is who’s already there. For example, I don’t hang around Facebook because it’s such a high quality tool, I hang around there because I can keep u with familiy members, people I went to school with, people I work with, and many other folks. They are all on there, and using it to share news, photos, etc. with each other. On top of that, it’s pretty easy to locate folks, by having your own High School/College information, work information, etc. entered on yojur profile.
As of right now, there’s no impetus to create a Google profile, because there’s just no one there, and no real way to find anyone. Will buying Twitter and integrating Blogger, Gmail, Calendar and other Google propertes turn Google Profiles into an impressive tool? Probably, but any social network is only as good as the people on it. I didn’t join a single one of those networks until after I knew there were some folks using them who I wanted to connect with, and I’m a pretty early adopter. The rest of the non-tech geeks of the world aren’t going to jump to Google just because it’s there. They’ll jump if there are enough people they know to make it compelling.
By the way, this is also why it’s impossible to answer the “would you pay $ per month for Twitter” question. I would pay some amount for what I have right now with Twitter, but if 60-75% of the people I’m connected to decide they won’t, then the value proposition changes dramatically for me, and maybe I wouldn’t pay anything any more. The value is the people who are there, you can’t remove that from the equation.