Hold it! I know what you’re thinking. “Another post about Google Buzz. Yawn”. But wait – you’ve probably missed the single best thing about it.
While most tech-obsessives have been complaining about privacy or moaning about it being a cut-down FriendFeed, some of us have been out there discovering the mobile side of Buzz – and it’s fascinating.
As I discussed at the weekend, the Gmail and mobile sides of Buzz amount to something of an identity crisis. While Gmail-based Buzz is all about sharing the web, mobile Buzz emphasises location in a way that turns it into exactly what Twitter’s geolocation feature should be.
Putting people’s thoughts on the map
Buzz mobile’s ‘Nearby’ function allows you to browse what’s on people’s minds as they make their way through their days. Yes, it’s just like Twitter but because it’s tied to a location it’s fantastic to browse.
If you have an Android phone, the latest version of Google Maps even includes the option to browse Buzz posts around the map. Looking around my city of Manchester today I see that a man down the road is having a “Yummy dinner” with his brother, just north of me someone is wondering why his bus is late. Someone is cuddled up in bed while another is reviewing the restaurant he’s eating at.
Sounds a bit mundane? Well yes, it is a little at times but it’s addictive. Those little speech bubbles dotted around the map are intriguing – you see them and you just have to open them up.
With mobile Buzz you can browse people’s thoughts based on where they are. As Buzz’s userbase grows this is only going become more powerful. Imagine browsing the opinions of the crowd at a concert or a political rally just by looking at a map.
But can’t Twitter do this already?
Yes, Twitter’s geolocation API makes all of this possible with tweets but the users have been slow to take up the chance to tag their tweets with a location. It’s something of a leap to tweet your location when you;re used to not being able to, especially as it’s so damn difficult to switch on in the first place.
With Buzz, users don’t have to sign up to anything new and they know from the off that they’re tagging their location – it’s part of Buzz’s initial offering and they’re embracing it.
What’s more, this isn’t just a handful of early adopters – this is everyday users picking up their phones and Buzzing.
So – stop moaning about the uninspiring world of Gmail Buzz and get mobile. It’s what Twitter geolocation really should be.