Google close to launching Social Network Service rumoured to be named Google +1

Google is close to launching a social network site which new rumours suggest may be called Google +1. The concept of Google creating its own social network, previously thought to be called Google Me, has been a major topic of discussion on many internet portals for some time now, but it is only now that technical details are starting to emerge.

Instead of a web site similar to Facebook, Google is planning to deliver their new service as an optional browser extension which may be exclusive to Chrome – which could force millions of consumers to switch from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Firefox if they want access to the Google social network. Reportedly, the extension will be called Loop, and has been designed to reflect social circles known as “loops” where most information would be shared.

It’s considered near-certain that a version of Loop would exist for Android and might propagate to other mobile platforms as well – in fact, reports suggest there is already one under construction and being tested in-house. The service and the availability on Smart phones risks angering a number of companies, particularly Facebook.

In previous weeks, Google chief Eric Schmidt has made clear several times in public statements, that Google is not and has not been looking to develop a Facebook clone. However, according to reports from insiders who have seen concepts of the app, many parts of it do in fact resemble Facebook’s own efforts – although it should be kept in mind that the Loop app is unfinished and should be significantly different by the time it’s launched.

Google and Facebook have been in a fight over data exports that are widely believed to hinge on Facebook’s worries that Google would compete against it. Allowing two-way export for Facebook contacts would let users defect more easily to a rival service, although Facebook has tried to raise privacy worries by noting that many exports could have personal details exported without consent. (Anyone see any irony in Facebook pointing out privacy concerns?)

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