Why Google Buzz will work, sort of

So we have another social/microblogging/lifestreaming service, called Google Buzz. It is, without doubt, Google’s boldest social play yet. Despite dominating pretty much all the key areas of the internet, it’s no secret that social is one area that has eluded the search giant so far.
Orkut, its social network, has largely failed to catch the world’s imagination (although apparently it’s big in Brazil). Google latitude came and went. Many, myself included, have yet to quite figure out a reason to care about Google Wave, where it fits, or rather: what it is exactly. Today, Wave still remains a highly-geeked out curiosity — and I predict it will probably stay that way.
There’s a feeling, one I agree with, that unlike Google’s other poor attempts at social — this latest will most likely work. And that’s largely down to the Gmail integration, the simple user interface, and the initial auto-following — removing the initial fatigue factor, getting you right into it.
But along with Buzz comes more noise, more distraction, less time. Less valuable time. Buzz’s most valuable feature, may also be its most irritating. Without a doubt it was a genius move to house Google Buzz in Gmail. It makes sense because this is where most of our communication happens, so why not see your “buzzes” there too? (Is that what we’ll call them?).
In fact, by making Buzz part of our email, Google may be taking micro-blogging/lifestreaming to more of a mainstream audience. Those who never found reason to tweet, may now find a reason to buzz.
On the other hand our email boxes are cluttered places these days, so we don’t need more distraction and more noise — no matter how pithy a buzz or a tweet. No of course we don’t, but the answer to this probably lies in personal discipline and improving algorithms that filter important conversations in a more sophisticated way. Look forward to that day.

What I like about Buzz:
  • Integration with email
  • Auto following
  • Public and private sharing
  • The mobile site
  • Relatively clean UI
  • Takes microblogging/lifestreaming more mainstream
  • That its a Google product
What I dislike about Buzz:
  • Integration with email.
  • The vanilla, non-descript name. Boring, UnGoogle.
  • It’s not easy to link Buzz to your Twitter and Facebook statuses.
  • The Buzz UI on your Google Profile account is hidden away, too low down the page.
  • The split functionality between your profile and Gmail — meaning you have Buzz settings in two areas (ie needing to link your other social media sites to your profile)
  • Twitter won because of its simplicity, Google Buzz could be simpler.

What I had for breakfast:
  • Thanks for asking: I ground some coffee beans for fresh coffee
  • Followed that up with some oats, with a dash of sugar, a dash of milk
  • Very tasty. Will keep me going nicely for the rest of the morning

Comments (2)

  1. Jarred Cinman wrote::

    I wonder if integration with email really is that clever? I mean is “microblogging” a communication activity that sits nicely alongside email? I personally don’t find that GTalk was a great fit with GMail actually, and I (like most I bet) run it in its own client app. Which is exactly what we’re all going to end up doing with Buzz — 2 or 3 days till Tweetdeck supports it do you think?

    In that environment its big competitive advantage is its auto-following…BUT…a lot of people I follow on Twitter, and who follow me, I’ve never emailed and never will. So again I ask, how big an advantage is that?

    More likely Buzz will do something because Google finds other points of integration which make it easier to post and cross-post. And also make it location aware (think Maps), share photos (think Picasa) and so on.

    But we shall see. These guys don’t screw around, so it would be grave error to dismiss them.

    PS: Agree the name is appalling. Google Status. Google Micro. Google anything..but BUZZ????

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 9:48 am #
  2. matt wrote::

    agree with you that we’ll see really useful integration of buzz on many other Google platforms…. but i think Gmail integration is key. My guess is there are quite a few mainstream Gmail users that find twitter to geeky, or just too weird… they may have a different attitude to Buzz in their inbox.

    However about 3 days down the line with a few more Buzz followers, I’m finding it a bit too busy and chaotic for my inbox. My buzz box is full of crap that dominates the real-estate, especially if you follow sites like Mashable with tons of chatty followers. Twitter doesn’t ever get like this.

    I think Google have quite a bit of work to do here. And it’s urgent.

    Monday, February 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm #