Sorry I’ve been a little slow to blog here lately. I’ve kept busy writing over at Flip the Media for MCDM. (I was quite pleased that my Engadget post caught so much attention!) Earlier this week, I wrote at Flip the Media about the potential for Google to leapfrog competitors if it took its then-anticipated social Gmail application to mobile. As expected, Google announced yesterday “Google Buzz” which you might already have in your Gmail. It can also be accessed via mobile browser (for now).
What is Google Buzz? Well, it’s basically an aggregate of many social networks like Twitter and Flickr and (but not Facebook) that sits in Gmail. If you have TweetDeck or Tweetie to manage your Twitter account, it’s a lot like that. You can of course also create status updates or share content through Google Buzz, too, which makes it a really convenient option if Gmail is already your primary email provider.
Google Buzz is Google’s answer to Facebook. It provides a stream of information about what your friends are doing. Capiche?
When accessed from a mobile browser Google Buzz utilizes the GPS on your phone to notify you about surrounding people and services. This poses a threat to existing location-based services like Foursquare, Whrrl, Yelp, etc.
Google Buzz looks like is a stripped down Google Wave (if you know what that is.) I don’t think Google Wave has been all that successful because it’s yet another site that you have to log into separately. The problem with Google Buzz is that people who aren’t overly nerdy like myself or Al Castle are already fatigued from the multitude of social networks that they feel responsible to check.
Moos’ first post in Google Buzz: “Great...one more thing to keep track of.”
Julie’s first post in Google Buzz: “oh great, one more thing to check. ;)”
While Google Buzz actually intends to centralize social network connections, it FEELS like another place to check.
Right now, Google Buzz looks a little primitive, and there’s some confusion about keeping Gmail contacts and social network contacts separate, but the potential is there. Google doesn’t succeed with every product, but I sure hope it puts the resources into Buzz to make it a success.
Remember the old days when everyone was using a different search browser and came up with different results? (Think HotBot, Excite, WebCrawler, Ask Jeeves, Ask.com, Yahoo, Google, Dogpile, AltaVista, Lycos, MSN Search, Bing, AOL Search, Infoseek, Go.com, Netscape, MetaCrawler, and All The Web.) That SUCKED. It was difficult to find information, or the same information consistently. Google came along and centralized search, which made the Internet a whole lot easier to navigate. That’s what I feel Google Buzz can do or some other service needs to do – Centralize all of these social networks so that we can spend more time connecting with each other and spending less time trying to keep multiple profiles updated.
Also, I can’t wait for Google Buzz drinking parties.