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Google Announces 'Buzz': Gmail Social Networking Integration

Gordon Kelly

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Does the world need another social network?

That is the big question today after Google introduced its much rumoured social networking features to Gmail. Here's the pitch:

"Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting," announced Google Gmail and Buzz product manager Todd Jackson. "It's built right into Gmail, so you don't have to peck out an entirely new set of friends from scratch — it just works. If you think about it, there's always been a big social network underlying Gmail. Buzz brings this network to the surface by automatically setting you up to follow the people you email and chat with the most."

"We focused on building an easy-to-use sharing experience that richly integrates photos, videos and links, and makes it easy to share publicly or privately (so you don't have to use different tools to share with different audiences)," he continued "Plus, Buzz integrates tightly with your existing Gmail inbox, so you're sure to see the stuff that matters most as it happens in real time."

Are you convinced? I suspect, like me, you're reaction is along the lines of kinda, sorta, not really.

Making matters a little better are Buzz's open API and the fact it post updates to Twitter (though not call in tweets from those you follow), while there's support for Flickr along with Google products Picasa, Reader, Blogger and YouTube. Vitally, however, dominant forces Facebook and Wordpress are ignored completely as is - rather strangely - its own social network Orkut (wildly popular in Brazil, ignored virtually everywhere else). Furthermore, it is extremely presumptuous on Google's part to assume I want to automatically follow people I email regularly from Gmail. After all, these days email is often more reserved for work than play given the dominance of Twitter and Facebook - so hold your horses Google.

Lastly, and this is a biggie: isn't all this functionality and much, much more meant to be performed by Google Wave?! Wave is founded around real time sharing, collaboration and exchange, so why not simply merge Wave functionality into Gmail. This makes even more sense given that the general reaction to Wave so far has praised the theory, but questioned the logic of having yet another inbox to check and no friends to collaborate with. Merging with Gmail fixes both those flaws.

Ultimately, my first reaction to Buzz is this is Google's iPad: fairly interesting on the surface, but I'm not sure there's a market or a demand for it...

Link:

Official Blog Post

rav

February 10, 2010, 6:00 am

Actually quite like the look of it. Just a shame it doesn't seem to be working yet for me. Google really need to add all their services for Google Apps users.

MarioM

February 10, 2010, 2:30 pm

@ravmania


Totally agree. And why is their migration process so darn hard? With my normal google user, I used gmail, Picasa, shopping, Wave and a few others. Now I've moved my mail over to Apps but it's only after I moved it all that I realised that Picasa etc didn't recognise it. Meaning my Android phone is back on the shelf. Not cool.

hankb6d

February 10, 2010, 2:51 pm

So more space in the cloud for fakes, perverts and wannabe's, time to rejoice.

kdot

February 10, 2010, 3:22 pm

Have to agree with the penultimate paragraph, I like wave a lot but needs notifications and to be integrated with gmail, makes me feel cut off from everything else when using it.

markinapub

February 10, 2010, 3:26 pm

I'm not convinced that we need yet another Social Networking tool. It's hard enough keeping up with Twitter and Facebook without adding another to the mix. And unless it integrates with the others it's simply going to become yet another chore in our already busy online worlds.

Simon

February 10, 2010, 5:03 pm

Agree with comments so far, combine Gmail, Buzz and Wave and allow the user to separate work contacts and friends into groups. To be honest, i really don't want to give Google all my communications to scan and would rather they have some, and Facebook have some. actually think this is Googles attempt to catch up with Facebook, but as Wave has shown, people go where everyone else is, and everyone else is on Facebook.

mark

February 10, 2010, 5:12 pm

I think the last comment above by Mark J Daniels sums it up for me. We have skype, but talking to a relation the other day he said they had MSN. (He said it's the same).


So if we have say facebook & someone else has twitter, & then a third goes for this google one, & I keep chatting away on Skype anyway, we'll end up not communicating.


If you want to keep several pages of stuff open all at the same time? Crumbs, I'll go back to email I reckon!

Mo

February 10, 2010, 7:25 pm

I have to try it out first before coming to any conclusions, but consolidating all my social networking to google is what I prefer, I can't afford to keep track of all the different networks. But I doubt buzz will take off the way facebook and twitter have.

Jay4d0

February 14, 2010, 4:47 am

it simply needs a dedicated site and not through the googlemail interface also the maps interface is very good but it needs access to it on the pc too and not just on the mobile

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