Google Circles: a new social network (just not yet)
Google was rumoured to be launching a new social media network called Google Circles today. But they've now come out on their (verified) GoogleSXSW account and said they are doing no such thing.
Update: Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly Media, appears to have tweeted a message confirming Circles' existence: "I've seen google circles, and it looks awesome. Tip of the iceberg too." Here's the Topsy record of that tweet. But the tweet itself has been deleted it would seem.
The rumoured product suggests that Google has gone into reverse gear since the privacy fiasco that was Buzz (where it allowed violent ex-husbands to track down their old partners and so on). With Circles, supposedly, you'll be able to share photo, video and status messages but with only the people you want - the most appropriate circle of social contacts in your lives and not everyone.
Circles is obviously playing on the phrase "social circles" - maybe not so coincidentally a book written by ex Googler and social technology guru Paul Adams (although he's jumped ship for Facebook).
It was supposed to launch at SXSW according to reports. And when it does launch, it will be interesting to see whether Google has finally got the privacy message. Or whether it's at least willing to pay lip service to it in order to get more info about us as individuals that it can use as part of its social search functionality - where it personalises results based on your social media profile.