Google’s Follow Finder Lab Helps Twitter

It’s true that Google has its own social networking, although those of you who haven’t heard of or signed up for Google Buzz aren’t missing out on much. This micro-blogging service, a distant cousin to Twitter, allows for quick status updates, importing of blogs and off-site content, and integrates fully with your Google account. It’s also been universally accepted as a flop. It might even be that Google has accepted that themselves, since one of their current Google Labs is working to help bolster the strength of their top competitor.

The tool is called “Follow Finder,” and its aim is to help Twitter users find more “Tweets” (fellow users) worthy of being followed. It does this through an analysis of mutual connections on this popular nano-blogging site. The concept of Follow Finder is to look at Twitter connections (both who you’re following and who’s following you) as a sort of web. It then looks at the trends of the people you’re already connected to and shows you groups that many of your followers or followees have already linked up with, as well as groups that you’re likely to be interested in based on who else you’re following.

Google explained the concept itself with a simple example. “If you follow CNN and The New York Times on Twitter, and most people who follow CNN and The New York Times also tend to follow TIME, we’ll suggest TIME as a user to follow.”

This tool has been around since April, but is currently getting a new wave of publicity, including through a report over at CS Monitor. The most interesting thing about it, however, is that it is actively helping to promote the social network most similar to their own flailing Buzz venture; might it be Google’s subtle way of raising a white flag?