A Sharing Site Called Circles? Hey, Google, It’s Been Done

One of the biggest stories so far here at the South by Southwest conference in Austin has been Google Circles-a major new social service that, according to ReadWriteWeb, will let users share photos, videos, and updates with their friends, with total control over who sees what. Tech guru Tim O'Reilly, who got a preview, thinks it looks "awesome."

Except...All Things Digital's Liz Gannes reports that Google says the whole thing is wrong. It's not working on Circles and isn't announcing anything at SxSW. The denial doesn't quite eliminate all possibility that there's truth somewhere in RWW's story-actually, it would be a shocker if Google never introduces anything involving sharing stuff with friends-but it does sound like it's not unveiling Circles here. Apparently.

But psssst-Circles isn't a fantasy. In fact, it already launched. More than six years ago. From once-major Google competitor Lycos.

If Google were to launch Circles, it could crib the press release Lycos released at the time and just do a find/replate to swap "Google" in for "Lycos":

"Lycos Circles gives users a one-stop shop for sharing things, discussing and staying in touch with their favorite circles of people," said David Kim, CEO of Lycos. "Lycos Circles helps you be more efficient at socializing and staying connected with family, friends and the groups you care about most."

Lycos Circles features allow users to:

• Easily share topics, discuss, stay in touch and make plans with their favorite circles of people.

• Share whatever they want, with whomever they want, controlling who sees what.

• Share photos, invitations, movie and audio clips, group greeting cards, web sites and more.

• Create polls and predictions.

Lycos is still around, but its version of Circles isn't. In the world of tech, there are such things as new ideas-but they're dwarfed by old ideas that keep coming back. (Or, in this case, supposedly aren't coming back...)

(Thanks to Andrew Curioso.)

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