There are basically two ways of finding things on the internet, there is the directed approach, which means entering your keywords into a search engine and sending them through the algorithmic filters of Google, Bing or whatever your search engine of choice might be.

And then there's the social media method in which human contributions to social media introduce you to content. In the case of social media, humans are the filter, contributing interest categorized material to social media, whether it's Digg or Mixx or Facebook or MySpace or YouTube or Wikipedia.

Google has been pretty good at search, but really bad at social media. Its social media companies like YouTube and Blogger were companies it bought, and are not exactly profit centers.

The problem with Google is that social media competes with search, because it's smarter and more relevant than search, but Google has never been able to build a social media hub. It has tried, and it has failed. Google Wave is probably the latest and highest profile effort, this time building social media around collaboration and instant messaging. That may work but mostly it misses the point.

Google is good at building tools, but bad at building communities. By contrast most companies are good at building communities, but bad at building tools. Google's tool based supremacy gives it a strong lead in applications and search, but brings failure when Google tries to go beyond it into building communities.