AUSTIN, Texas - Twitter and Facebook might be winning the social networking war, but Google's not giving up. And its Google+ social network is becoming more and more a part of the search experience for which people know Google most.
That was the message from Vic Gundotra, Google's senior VP of social business at Google, here at SXSW, the annual conference in Austin on interactive media.
"You can think of Google Plus as Google 2.0," he said in an on-stage interview conducted by Guy Kawasaki, who is best known for having been one of the first employees of Apple. "In the new Google, we know your name, we understand your circles, and we make every service better."
Gundorta talked about how Google+ spans across all of Google's services, including search and maps, which gives it a leg up on other social media. "Wait to you see what we are going to do next, wait until you see how Google comes together in a beautiful integrated experience," he said.
He also confronted head-on the argument that Google+ has been a flop so far.
"The numbers are pretty staggering," he said. Google is measuring success not by people who are signing up, he said, but by people who continue to come back to the service. According to Gundotra, 100 million people have come back to Google+ within 30 days and done something on the service.
Of course, Kawasaki asked if Google was up to anything evil with what it now knows about its users through the social service.
Gundotra's answer: "If we do things that are evil, with one click you can leave."