Since we broke the news a couple days ago that Google’s secret social project, formerly known as “Emerald Sea“, is now being called “Google +1”, we’ve gotten more confirmation about the naming. This includes people more confident that this could well be the name Google ends up going with. We’ve also heard a couple other new interesting tidbits about the project.
The first is that Google may be testing an iPhone app for +1, which would presumably launch alongside the web variation of the service. One source reports seeing a Google employee’s iPhone with an app called “Loop” on it. This was apparently Google’s social project in native app form. The source says that it looked similar to Facebook and had large portions that were still in development.
This is particularly interesting because we have heard that early iterations of Google +1 itself were much more similar to Facebook. But that version was supposedly scrapped in favor of a more all-web-encompassing toolbar approach (at least as it currently stands). So it’s possible that the app is a bit old, or that Google is thinking a bit differently about the social product on mobile devices.
The “Loop” name is also interesting because we’ve heard that a big part of +1 is groups, and those groups are apparently called “loops”. The idea is that as you add or remove people from these loops, they’re either “in the loop” or “out of the loop”. Get it?
In fact, loops are considered to be such an integral part of the service, that it’s possible that Loop is/was another name Google’s been toying around with for it. That would certainly make the name of the iPhone app make sense. Or perhaps the app is just a certain subset of +1 features that would work better in native app form, rather than on the mobile web. Either way, the location-based app Loopt can’t be happy about the possible name.
It’s also believed that Facebook found out that groups (loops) were going to be a key part of Google’s social service, so they went into “lockdown” over the summer to get their new Groups feature out the door — which they did a couple months ago.
Undoubtedly, if such a Google +1 app does actually exist, the company has an Android version as well. But as we’ve seen with apps like Google Voice, the search giant isn’t opposed to developing for a rival platform. It’s all about reach. And Google would need something for the iPhone if they want +1 to be successful in the mobile space.