Google has launched a new service called Google Buzz. Think twitter, or the news feed from Facebook, and you got what they trying to do. To be honest, I really think Google has simply jumped on the social train, again. It does have some interesting ideas, but is there enough of a user-base left between the giants?
Google’s first attempt at social networking was Orkut. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry, you aren’t missing anything ground-breaking. Facebook got there first, and you know the people on Facebook. Orkut is MAJOR in Brazil and India, so if you feel you need to better connect with them, Orkut is the way to go.
Buzz is Google’s second project. It seems like it will operate very similar to twitter, in that its all about what you and your friends have just done, seen, eaten, and where they have done it, seen it, ingested it. It’s the whole micro-blogging trend that seems to be getting much stronger as the walls of privacy and keeping-things-private-because-nobody-cares seem to fall away.
On the surface, there is nothing that Buzz is doing that twitter or FB is already doing. But the key feature in Buzz is that it is a Google project. It’s biggest card, the Ace in The Hole, is integrating with other Google products and other companies. Imagine you’re in a city you don’t know, looking for a good restaurant. So you go to Google Maps, and it shows a little bubble with one of your friend’s buzz/zap on a local place! Instead of having to google the local restaurants, then looking for reviews, you instead see what a friend had to say about it. Or, simply enable nearby Buzz, and you will get a feed on buzzes/zaps (Is that right? I personally hope for ‘zap’. Heard it here first) in the local area. With pictures even!
It also integrates into Picasa, flickr and partially twitter. There are others, but those are notable. As yet, it does not do Facebook, which would certainly drive traffic to Buzz. Until then, there is a major problem with breaking into a sector that already has two heavyweights slowly imitating each other. Twitter and Facebook are slowly becoming each other, with most aggressive pushes coming from Facebook. FB is placing a heavy focus on search with the new redesign, and there have been reports that news sites, like CNN
and Mashable, are receiving more traffic from social networking links. Buzz is another canoe in a pool with two yachts already there.
The Buzz will sit inside your GMail. Like, in there. Just below the inbox. So seeing what’s going on will be natural and convenient. It will also auto-add people that you interact with regularly and recommend popular users to you based on your similarity and shared contacts.
Well, the advantages for Google Buzz are already here. It is seamlessly integrated into GMail, the best EMail app, integrates to Google Products, supports geo-tagging, and can feed off twitter. Once Facebook is added, we might find Buzz and its ‘zaps’ becoming our central social feed.
It’s just a pity that most people I know don’t use GMail. A time to switch? GMail does support a full contacts import and redirecting emails? Maybe my next post will be a guide to switch over…