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Google Inc. famously flubbed its early social-networking efforts, allowing upstarts like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to dominate the platforms that are redefining the way consumers use the Web.
But the Mountain View search giant has been diligently working on the "social problem" in its own way: integrating it as a component of the total Web experience, rather than an isolated service or destination.
To date, its efforts haven't generated much buzz, but some analysts believe the company's much-anticipated Google Wave may represent its first real victory in the social space.
"Google Wave has the potential, not in the short term but in the long term, to be a game changer," said Ray Valdes, analyst with research firm Gartner Inc.