google social.pngI’m guessing that a fair amount of you detest the social networks like MySpace and Facebook. Do they really have a purpose? I don’t think that really matters to be honest. There is obviously value in letting one user stalk connect with another, and it has warped into an online phenomenon.

Those of you thinking that Google was going to sit on the sidelines are wrong. They are currently working on an iGoogle Sandbox which is a developer-specific release of the iGoogle personalized homepage. Sounds interesting, I know, but it seems as though they are going to be bringing an even larger social aspect to the personalized homepage. Pictured above is an example of a new gadget that will be available, and with it your friends will be able to see what you’re up to. As Garett Rogers pointed out this is extremely similar to Facebook’s News Feed.

There are, however, some things that social network haters will love in the iGoogle Sandbox. One thing in particular is the ability to “maximize” a single gadget so that it occupies nearly the entire screen. This would be particularly great when reading news or feeds, but developers have to explicitly make their gadgets compatible with this mode before it can be used.

I’m assuming that if Google decides to go through with the new social aspect of iGoogle that they will offer options to maintain your privacy, but only time will tell. Here’s a video that shows how most of it will work, and even gives developers a heads up as to how they can develop gadgets that play nice with the new social system.