While Microsoft was inking its deal with Facebook, Google co-founder and President of technology was facing 300 analysts and press at the Google Analyst Day. He was asked a question if Google's lack of a leading social network was an issue.
He said nothing about the Facebook/Microsoft deal, but talked up Google's own social network, Orkut, which is strong and Brazil and India, and said, "We don't need to own everything to be successful on the Internet." He pointed to Google's MySpace relationship (selling ads) and partnerships with 20 other social networks.
That said, having a social layer on top of Google's growing number of applications and services, and allowing developers to tap into the social graph, seems rather essential in the long run. In fact, on November 5 Google plans to open up the Orkut and iGoogle APIs to developers as a first step toward socializing the Google Web.
It will be interesting to see how Facebook uses its new $240 million warchest and what role Microsoft will play, and how fast Google moves to wire not just sharing, but social features, throughout its platform.