2004 - Orkut: Google had a social network in place long before your Mom joined Facebook. was quietly launched more than 7 years ago to compete with Friendster, and it's stayed quiet in the United States and most of the world, but has become the dominant social network in a few countries, most notably Brazil. Hilariously, it's still in beta.
2006 - Gchat in Gmail: It seems like a pretty minor thing now, but integrating GChat into Gmail was one of the first steps Google took towards making one of its core products more social.
2007 - OpenSocial: Rather than re-invent the social wheel, Google first tried to co-opt existing social networks like MySpace, LinkedIn and Friendster via an , but the initiative proved disappointing, initially working only with Orkut. It quickly faded away as Facebook's dominance grew.
2008 - FriendConnect: Google's next social strategy was a widget-based approach that allowed webmasters to add a "" to their sites. The number of sites using FriendConnect seems to be decreasing rapidly, with at over 138,000 worldwide.
2008 - Lively: Google's answer to Second Life, this social experiment lasted less than six months, its virtual, 3-D doors on December 31, 2008.