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Schmidt preaches 'deep integration' desire with Facebook, Twitter

As Google+ ambitions come into view

Google chairman Eric Schmidt reckons that Mountain View's decision to keep invites to its latest social network to a minimum is already starting to pay off for the company.

It announced Google+ last week, when it began a limited "field test" that was clearly done to make the project more desirable among the happy-clappy Web2.0 crowd.

In a chat with reporters at the annual Allen & Co media shindig in Sun Valley, Idaho, yesterday, Schmidt claimed that tons of requests were flooding in for access to the firm's unfinished Google+ product.

The company used the same tactic at the launch of its largely forgotten near real-time Google Wave communication tool. But after the initial frenzy to sign-up to the product died down, disappointed users quickly abandoned Wave. Down the line, so did Google.

Arguably Google+, coming after the ad broker learned some tough lessons from its failed, privacy-lite Buzz launch, is a much stronger contender in the popularity stakes, given that the company has already baked, for example, video chat dubbed "Hangouts" into the system.

Facebook announced this week that it had hooked up with soon-to-be-if-cleared-by-regulators-Microsoft-owned Skype, which is a clear acknowledgment that social networks need to get serious about VoIP.

Schmidt told the likes of Reuters and the Wall Street Journal that there was plenty of room for other social networks alongside Google+ to wiggle around in online.

He added that Google would "love to have deeper integration with Twitter and Facebook".

That's an interesting statement, given that Google reached a stalemate with Twitter late last week when its Realtime Search deal with the microblogging site ended without any renewal of contracts.

Similarly, in recent months the company has failed several times to penetrate Facebook's famously sealed-off network. Just this week, Mark Zuckerberg's company blocked a Google Chrome extension that allowed users to export information about their Facebook "friends" so that data could be funnelled into rival services.

In effect, both Google and Facebook are making passive-aggressive moves against one another, while smiling serenely at their respective stalkerbases. But it's not all-out war yet. ®

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