Google is unleashing its sharp teeth on to social media, with its latest service, aptly called Buzz, which is built on top of Gmail. Buzz basically integrates your social media services, like Twitter, into one ecosystem that works out of your inbox.
According to Todd Jackson, the product manager, they decided to build it on Gmail as “the inbox is the center of many people’s online social experience“. True that!
The Features of Buzz
- Connect to Picasa, Google Reader, Twitter, and Flickr.
- Change privacy settings on each piece information you share.
- Status updates in your Gmail inbox, as well as replies from email.
- Twitter-style @replies.
- A recommendation engine so that you can spread good posts from friends-of-friends.
A small screen version of the desktop experience, Buzz for Mobile works with GPS location and makes it easy to have conversations about places; where you can also see nearby buzz from the people around you. Digital trends have a nice review of the Buzz mobile experience.
Sounds cool! Does that mean no more spam from Facebook’s Mafia Wars and Farmville?
Sifting Through the Noise
One of the more interesting features of Buzz is that it strips off banal phrases like “Good morning” from status updates when it presents them as microblogs. As Jyri Engestrom says, “The game is no longer just about ‘what are you doing’. As microblogging has become more popular, the stream has become more busy, and people are getting tired of sifting through the noise. Therefore, now that pretty much everyone has shown up for the party, the value is moving to discovery, context, and relevance.”
This is a new way of dealing with content online, very much the opposite of how Twitter and Facebook updates work.
As Facebook becomes too busy, too “controlled”, and too popular, Buzz might be the thing that the more sophisticated social media market needs. As Fast Company points out, “Five billion pieces of content are being shared among the userbase every single week. And then there’s the most intriguing stat: While the actual raw count of data shared has skyrocketed, the overall percentage of Facebookers who post status updates daily has actually fallen. Which means that on the whole, Facebook’s users may be much less engaged with the site.”
Obviously, Google wants everyone to live, work, play and share from within its services. And with Facebook rolling out a built-in email platform, the war is raging.
What do you think of Google Buzz? Are you ready to swap Facebook’s growing immaturity for something a little more grown up? Or is this Google just spreading themselves too thin?