Google Buzz stumbled out of the gate with varying degrees of miscues and upsets. Three months later, Google has created a "Head of Social" position, to help navigate the murky waters of the social web. Too late? Yes. Too little?
Possibly! Because while the major problem with Buzz is that it was a privacy sinkhole, Google's overarching issue is that users simply don't want it. Just like they didn't want or understand Google Wave. And just like—other than in Brazil, because hey why not—they don't want Orkut. Moreover, the social Google properties that people do respond to, Blogger and Gmail, aren't really "social" in the way that Facebook and Twitter are. Fortunately, it looks like Google knows that the first step is admitting you have a problem, according to this recruiting letter acquired by GigaOM:
This is a new and very strategic position, as Google knows it is late on this front and is appropriately humble about it. In Google's view, conceptually, there are two ways to tackle social, each impacting who may be successful in this senior post: 1) building an innovative offering specifically in this area; or 2) developing the capability and integrating social into Google's existing portfolio.
So will a new Head of Social be a cure-all for Google's social ails? If they're able to give the company a unified vision, maybe. If he or she isn't totally tone-deaf to what consumers want, probably. But most importantly, good for Google for recognizing they need help, and nuts to them for taking this long. [GigaOM]