Tag Archives: Google Buzz

I’m Buzzed

15 Feb

I’m sure this is what Google hoped its users would say about it’s new social networking service. According to Google, more than tens of millions of people had tried the service within the first 48 hours of its launch. Like Apple, whenever Google introduces a new product or application, the hype will draw serious and immediate attention. But Google is fallible too. A New York Times article discussed how, after intense criticism, Google altered an initial Buzz feature that automatically connected people based on email contacts on the grounds that it compromised privacy. Critics believed that users’ email addresses would be exposed and that Google was forcing its social networking tools on to users, since the company didn’t initially offer the choice to turn off Buzz. It has since added a tab in Gmail to eliminate Buzz and also turned off the auto follow feature. Now that Google has entered the social networking space, it will need to continually update and tweak its privacy settings like Facebook or Twitter or any other platform that involves sharing personal information. In my opinion, then, such brouhaha over Buzz isn’t surprising or far-fetched. Social networking is fluid and dynamic. Not every tool will appeal to everyone at every time. If people choose to use a tool, then they should familiarize themselves with the privacy settings and choose carefully what information to put online.

Although Buzz is limited to Gmail users (176 million versus Facebook’s 400 million+), and I don’t believe that it will replace Facebook and Twitter’s expansive networking capabilities, Buzz offers unique features that are detailed by Saad Fazil in VentureBeat. Here are some of the highlights (and a link to the full article):

  • Since Buzz is immediately available to all Gmail subscribers, the platform already has an audience at its fingertips.
  • Gmail users tend to keep an email tab open, which will likely encourage Buzz use.
  • Buzz has the seamless capability to integrate standalone apps, such as Picasa and Google Latitude, which differentiates itself from Facebook.
  • A potential downside is that Buzz is the “jack of all trades, master of none”: it can be Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare at the same time, and users may be turned off by it’s broad (versus niche) capabilities.

Here is a video that demonstrates how Google Buzz works:

And here is a great parody of that video:

And one more for good luck:

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