The key text:
Arrington: How important is social to google’s future, and how might google go about competing with a large established competitor?
Schmidt: Our view of social is a little different than what everyone has been writing. we want our core products to get better from social information. The best thing that could happen is if Facebook opened up its network and if we could just use that information…Failing that, there are other ways in which we can get that information.
We are trying to add a social component [to google’s core products] to make them even better. With your permission…and knowing more about who your friends are, we can provide more tailored recommendations, search quality will be better.
A reasonable expectation [of launch] will be the Fall.
We’ve also heard more from sources who’ve worked with Google on the product. “Google Me is not a product, it’s a social layer across all products” (not so helpful). But there’s more – “Google Me will produce an activity stream generated by all Google products. Google Buzz has been rewritten to be the host of it all. And the reason Google Buzz isn’t currently working in Google Apps is because they’ll use the latest Buzz to support the activity stream in Apps…All Google products have been refactored to be part of the activity stream, including Google Docs, etc. They’ll build their social graph around the stream.”
Well, at least all that hard work on Buzz won’t be completely wasted. What I don’t know is how third party services and sites will factor in to all of this. But we’ll continue to dig.