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This article was published on February 10, 2010

Buzz: Google’s Silver Lining?

Buzz: Google’s Silver Lining?

Google BuzzIn the real-time web world, the news of Google’s Buzz is nothing new — it’s trended on Twitter all day. I can’t help but thinking that all the retweeting was only because of the fact that it simply has to do with Google, and not so much about excitement over the release itself. I’m an optimist, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help but to be skeptical here about how it will do.

Buzz hasn’t even been released to a large user-base, so there isn’t much to say about it from direct experience — but the bandwagon rolls on.

I realize Google hasn’t had the best track record with social media. Okay, so it’s been pretty terrible, but I’m a biased Google fangirl, what can I say? My account hasn’t been Buzz-enabled yet, but I gave the whole thing some thought, and I think there is a silver lining to Google’s gray social cloud.

As an early adopter, I love to grab a username on every new social service — it’s a rule of the Internet. I love to give everything a try, but sometimes it’s hard to even maintain the few mainstream services I’m a member of.

Some networks try to make it easy by integrating others, but some just don’t succeed. The real pain is to log into something different all the time, and if you don’t have the luxury of grabbing the same username on every service, you have to remember them all!

Buzz is integrated into Gmail

At the moment, I don’t personally interact with the majority of my Gmail contacts, but with Buzz, I’m sure that will change — and my contact list will grow.

It seems like, no matter where we go on the Internet, email is home. Notifications from other networks, as well as many threads of communication — whether it be personal or business-related — happen all the time.

About 247 billion emails are sent every day — that’s no small number. Buzz could be a convenience to something we already do a lot. Not to mention, Buzz updates are real-time, which has a leg up on the iffy send-receive time of email.

Automatic friending

Based on who you interact with, Buzz will automatically make names appear in your feed, as well as recommended users to friend based on that info. Personally, I’ve found a few contacts through Facebook’s similar implementation, and though it can be annoying at times, I see the value in it.

How else are you supposed to expand your network, and have the chance to connect with more people? Valuable content is key.

Beautiful, fast sharing experience

In many other networks, you have to click on links or hope that the correct thumbnail is displayed when you come across new content.

With Google Buzz you’ll be able to see the content right there. Find a cute kitten YouTube video? You can watch it right there. It enables you to pull feeds from and integrate Picasa, Twitter, Google Reader, and Flickr amongst others. This is just another way to satisfy our need for information now and in one place.

Public and private sharing

The only other networks that come to mind when it comes to the ability to share both publicly and privately with no character limits are Facebook and MySpace. To be blunt, I despise doing anything on MySpace but Facebook is pretty decent when it comes to sharing links, pictures and videos — if you can find where they moved the button this time.

Sharing privately on Twitter is very limited, mostly due to the character limits and the fact that DMs just bug out sometimes.

Being able to share, in real-time, privately, in such a rich format is definitely a plus. When it comes down to it though, that feature just becomes a sort of chat option it seems — which is fine, especially collaborating with a small group.

Keep in mind though that sharing publicly means public. Completely public. Status updates show on your Google Profile as well as in Google search, so be mindful of what you put out there on the Internet. Google never forgets!

It comes with the kitchen sink, too!

Kidding. But really though, with the power of Google behind it — including even location-based features with Google Maps — it should be an interesting addition to the melting pot of social media networks.

By no means do I think it’s an anything-killer, but something that could do very well, considering the fact that if you’re a Gmail user, you’re ready to go. No set-up, sign-up or friending off the bat.

I think this could be really appealing to not only early adopters, but also those who aren’t — the average Internet user. Although, as of now, my account isn’t Buzz-activated, you will be able to Buzz me on Gmail at [email protected]

In the scope of the social media world at large, no, Google Buzz doesn’t have the same broadcast-type appeal that Twitter does, but I feel like we’re on the verge of change. A shift to getting back to what matters to us with less noise. A shift to personalized content, while maintaining efficiency.

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