Google is publicizing their Google Profiles for the first time this week. If you do a Google search for your name (and who hasn't), you'll now see your Google profile at the bottom of the search results. This is a big deal.
"A Google Profile is simply how you represent yourself on Google products it lets you tell others a bit more about who you are and what you're all about. You control what goes into your Google Profile, sharing as much (or as little) as you'd like."
Google Profiles have been around for about a year but really didn't do much until now. Google has had other social networking bombs like Orkut (unless you live in Brazil where it is more popular than Facebook).
Now a Google Profile is your virtual business card. Up until now, LinkedIn and to a lesser extent, Facebook have acted as web business cards. LinkedIn will still offer more work related information while Facebook will be a more casual social gathering place.
Google will now try to replace both of those. Believe it.
Google automatically connects you to Googlers in your contacts. They get access to your full profile, and you theirs. Instant Social Network. Google did try to use Facebook data with Friend Connect, before it was blocked almost a year ago
What about Facebook's pictures? Can Google match that? Yep, Google is including the sharing of Picassa photo albums in Google Profiles. If you are a big Picassa user, you probably have more pictures in there than your do in Facebook. And they are high res!
You can also connect your Google Profile to Google Maps. So your friends can track you - if you want them to. Scary! But it gets scarier/cooler depending on your paranoia level.
According to their blog, "Maybe Google will even create a directory for profiles and start to suggest friends based on personal descriptions, location and activity streams. "
People have always asked me what the next big social networking site would be. It looks like it could be Google itself. Friendster, Myspace, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and now Google Profiles.
Here's an example of a Google Profile (I am still working on mine):