Google wants to expand its net as widely as possible

Google wants to accept its shortcomings on the social web and bring in a “Head of Social” to set it on the right position.It has hired an executive recruiter to fill the position, and is currently in the process of casting its net as widely as possible.

In just about every sector — from news and book publishers to phone makers to venture capital — the company’s dominance has a gaping hole on the social web. Google has tried to introduce social sites, from Orkut to Buzz, but they’ve had limited appeal, hampered by a misunderstanding of user needs. In recent months Google has added a social layer onto its existing products, like search and maps.

Until now, however, it wasn’t clear to what extent the algorithmically driven Google understood that it had a social problem.Sergey Brin and other Google presenters seemed to have been groomed not to mention the “F-word” — aka “Facebook,” the leading social site on the web.

More recently, Google staffed up on advocates of open social web standards such as Joseph Smarr and Chris Messina and tried to put together industry-unified alternatives to Facebook.

But now Google has retained an international executive search firm to recruit a “Head of Social.”

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