<

What's The Buzz About Google Buzz?

Published on
9,943 Points
3,343 Views
6 Endorsements
Last Modified:
Approved
Community Pick
Earlier today, Google rolled out a new feature, Google Buzz; and the aptly named tool, is already creating quite a stir on the World Wide Web.  According to his post on the Gmail blog, Edward Ho, tech lead for Google Buzz, says the feature is "a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting and share updates, photos, videos and more."  But according to Yahoo! and Microsoft, Google isn't doing anything they haven't been doing for years.  Given my background in journalism--and my overall desire to be "in the know,"--I've been reading up on Google Buzz and how it compares with other social media sites and features already on the web and here's what I found out:

What is Google Buzz?
Google Buzz is a social sharing feature that syncs up with Gmail to aggregate status updates, links, comments, photos and other content from the people you email with.  (Apparently, Buzz connects with Picasa, Flickr, Google Reader and Twitter.)  In addition, Google uses one of its mysterious algorithms to weed through some of the useless information that people tend to share via social networks so that you only see information that's relevant and informative.  In other words, status updates like "BRB" and "I heart kitties" won't show up in Google Buzz.

When someone responds to a post that you make, Buzz sends the response directly to your email inbox and allows you to reply from there as well.  Unlike email messages, Buzz comments appear in real time.  

Possibly the biggest asset to Google Buzz is its integration with mobile technology.  At today's press conference, the folks at Google said that people with an Android phone or iPhone will be able to use Buzz right away (sucks for me and my Blackberry). The reason behind the mobile push is Foursquare in nature.  Google not only wants people to update their statuses on the go, but they also want them to tag their statuses by location (think "I'm at Olive Garden in Santa Clara" not the specific coordinates offered by Google Latitude). Additionally, select mobile users can utilize Google Maps and Search apps as well as Google Voice to speak their status updates (just be sure to say "post buzz" when you're posting your status update).

Who are Google Buzz's Competitors?  
I'm not sure if you noticed which social media giant wasn't included in the list (above) of social services that Buzz integrates with, but Facebook is not on there. I realize that companies like Microsoft and Yahoo! are in a panic about Buzz, but in MY opinion, Google didn't create this feature to compete with either of them (they're already doing that successfully)--they did it to compete with Facebook.  

However, to be fair, I took a look at Yahoo! Updates and Microsoft's Hotmail features just to see how Google Buzz matches up.  Both Yahoo! and Microsoft do seem to offer virtually the same features as Google Buzz, just subtract the mobile integration and add integration with Facebook.  That being said, the number of Yahoo! and Hotmail users is declining while the number of Gmail users is at an all-time high of 176 million unique visitors per month, according to comScore.

Pros and Cons of Google Buzz

Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to use the service myself.  Google will be rolling Buzz out to Gmail users over the next few weeks, and I wasn't in the first wave of the roll out.  All of you will be receiving it too (unlike Google Wave, where you have to request it).  Keep looking for the "Buzz" link right below your Gmail "Inbox" link.  I have, however, talked with some people, including Experts-Exchange's own Teksquisite, who have already received and played with the service and their first impression was one of slight confusion.  Which leads me to the "cons" of Google Buzz:

Complexity- Apparently you can make public and private updates and select to receive updates by some of your Gmail contacts and not others.  I fear that if the service is too difficult to understand, people simply won't use it--no matter how much easier it might be to receive all this information AND your email in one place.  

Automatic "friend" selection- While Google says you can select not to share content with certain people, Buzz automatically links (no pun intended) you up with people you email with.  This list could include your boss, or your mom, or your boss's mom--and what if you don't want to tell them you'll be at the local pub slamming back a few tomorrow night?


One way communication- While the folks at Google did indicate that Buzz will eventually allow you to update your Twitter status and information on other social services directly from Buzz, it does not do allow you to do that right now.  So, while you'll be able to see other people's Twitter status and even comment on them within Buzz, you won't be able to Tweet or Retweet them or update your own Twitter status.  That means you'll still need to log in to Twitter and Facebook and Buzz and any other social network you might participate on just to update your status directly on that site. If you think that managing multiple social services is annoying now, try adding one more.

As for the "pros" of Google Buzz, it's obvious: If enough of your friends start using the service, Google Buzz/Gmail could become your one-stop-shop for all things social.  After all, 176 million unique visitors per month, means 176 million monthly chances that people will start using the service.  

Personally, I'm saying "Good luck Google" and waiting till I get to check the service out for myself before I make my final decision.  

Sources:
TechCrunch.com; Readwriteweb.com and Official Gmail Blog
6
Comment
  • 6
  • 3
  • 2
  • +2
13 Comments
 
LVL 75

Expert Comment

by:Michel Plungjan
I wanted to post a message privately to a "cobuzzer" but had to put him in a group of his own to make the post private (the post button was grey until I did)
I like the threaded and slower-than-chat, faster-than-email live update of messages.

I did not see my tweets there yet
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:Jenn Prentice
mplungjan,
I am not sure that all of the Twitter functionality is available yet.  I just got Buzz last night and am going to check that out today.  What is your Twitter handle? (mine is jennysue1207)  I like to follow EE people on Twitter! (I hope you don't think that's weird that I asked).
If  I figure out how to make my Tweets show up in Buzz, I'll post it in this article thread.
-Jenn
0
 
LVL 75

Expert Comment

by:Michel Plungjan
If you correct the spelling of my name that EE causes with their link underlining, you will find that I am mplungjan everywhere ;)
0
Free Tool: Site Down Detector

Helpful to verify reports of your own downtime, or to double check a downed website you are trying to access.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:Jenn Prentice
Ugh! Typos. I hate them! So sorry! I edited the comment and removed the "i."=(
Thanks for the Twitter follow! Looking forward to conversing over there as well.  
0
 
LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:b0lsc0tt
Nice and timely.  I had decided to ignore Buzz for a bit until I read it (this is a busy time for work, etc).  I am not really the social media type but I do like it.  It will be interesting to see how it is used and what other methods Google decides to support (i.e. Twitter, etc).

One interesting thing is how it works on the Droid.  I had looked for an App or something to read and manage posts but I didn't really find anything.  However I had noticed a Maps update and a new Buzz feature in Maps.  It is under Layers but you can add a Buzz layer.  The result is your map will show those near you and their Buzz.  It seems to remember the location (or what it thought was the location since it may not be real accurate) when you posted the status update.  On the map it shows like a little text "cloud."  It seems to even show a picture although I don't know if that is a profile pic or one taken when updating the status.

Good article and it will be interesting to see responses of others and how this turns out.  I am still waiting for Wave to catch on more (or for me to need it more). :)

bol
0
 
LVL 61

Expert Comment

by:Kevin Cross
Yes, I agree whole heartedly with bol.  A very nice and timely article.
Voted YES above!
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:Jenn Prentice
Bol--> Thanks for all the work you did to edit the article! I really appreciate it! I have a Blackberry, so unfortunately my smart phone isn't intelligent enough to get the Buzz apps...=(
I am interested to see if Buzz takes off or not.  The response I've heard on Twitter ABOUT Buzz is not so great...

mwvisa--> Thanks for the kind words!
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Joshua Titsworth
Nice piece on Google Buzz Jenn. Very informative. I agree with you. I'm waiting to see how well it does (even though I went ahead and created a buzz account, I already got a gmail account why not?) to determine if it will be a big impact on social media. The best feature I like right now is being able to verify your name. I did it, and its pretty cool. However the ability to verify a name is only available to the US.
0
 
LVL 75

Expert Comment

by:Michel Plungjan
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:Jenn Prentice
seiko_08 -Thanks for the kind words!
mplungjan- That link is super helpful! Now my mother-in-law won't be following my buzzes! =)  
0
 
LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:b0lsc0tt
Nice link for hide followers.  I wonder what the best setting is for that.  Does removing that make it so even those I email can't see others who I may be following?  That may be too much since one thing I have found appealing in Facebook is how you can connect with others through mutual friends.  I don't want John Smith in South Africa to find my profile and follow me (or even worse start using my email account for spam, etc) but I am not sure I mind if my brother, who is following me, is able to connect to a friend of mine because he see my contacts.

I guess it comes down to how that info is shown and found.  Also what is shown and how can it be used.  I know some I contact via gmail are more privacy sensitive and it would be nice to have the option to protect them specifically.

What about how someone else who follows me shows their info?  Am I exposed in some way because "Sam" has Google show everything (or just doesn't look at settings)?

If this is interesting to others or there are answers/thoughts about it then posting here may be helpful.  Of course that is if Jenn is interested too. :)  I wouldn't want to "hijack" the article or discussion.

bol
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:Jenn Prentice
Feel free to hijack away! I am enjoying this discussion and finding it very informative. If I have time (no promises) I might even do a Google Buzz part 2 article...emphasis on that no promises thing.
I have to say that I have been using Buzz a bit the past few days and haven't been overly impressed--but have found it to be very convenient.  
I have a Blackberry that's linked up to my gmail account, and it pings me when someone I'm following on Buzz sends out a Buzz message, but I cannot respond to that Buzz message directly from my Blackberry. I can only email the person who sent the Buzz message (not buzz them). I think this is b/c Google has only synced Buzz up with Android OS and iPhone as of now, but I am hoping it comes to Blackberry soon (or maybe I should just get rid of my crappy Blackberry).  
Another thing I find "frustrating" is that Blogger is one of the sites you can connect to, but not Wordpress. I realize that Blogger is Google's own blogging platform, but if they are billing Buzz as the next Facebook, it needs to link up with as many other sites as possible.  
Ok. I'm done sharing now...back to work! =)
Feel free to continue the discussion. I will keep chiming in as I find out more! =)
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:Jenn Prentice
Thanks Dan!!!!! =)
0

Featured Post

Keep up with what's happening at Experts Exchange!

Sign up to receive Decoded, a new monthly digest with product updates, feature release info, continuing education opportunities, and more.

Join & Write a Comment

This tutorial gives a high-level tour of the interface of Marketo (a marketing automation tool to help businesses track and engage prospective customers and drive them to purchase). You will see the main areas including Marketing Activities, Design …
This is Part-2 of Learning to use the Power of Mailwasher Pro so if you haven't watched Part-1 yet, I urge you to do so before watching this video. Click this link to watch Part-1 (https://www.experts-exchange.com/videos/56638/Learn-to-use-the-POWER…

Keep in touch with Experts Exchange

Tech news and trends delivered to your inbox every month