Google recently added the abilty for people who have a Google Account to create a "profile". This is a way for people to create a page that has personal information that could be shown when a search is done for their name. This allows the user to specify which information should be shown on this page. So for example, you can include links to your flickr page or Facebook profile.
In addition to specifying information can been seen by everyone, you can also specify "private" information like email address or phone numbers. Then you can specify which people you know can see this informaion. This is similar to the way that most social networks work.
The problem that I have is not with the feature, but with Google's various definitions of who friends are and what a profile. Currently Google Profile uses the list of the contacts in your Google Talk list as "friends". But this is a seperate list than the "friends" when using Google Friend Connect. In addition to the different list of friends, Google Friend Connect also has it's own concept of a profile for a user.
I think it would be great if Google consolidated these into a single friends list and a single profile. Because until then, these things will not take off.