Google Takes on Facebook and is Once Again Buzz Worthily
Google has a new product called Google Buzz
This can be considered Google’s biggest jump onto the social media train. Currently, Buzz is an addition to Gmail that allows you to follow and be followed by the people in your Gmail contact list, and then it updates you with information from your contacts that come from Twitter, Picasa, Flickr, and Google Reader.
Say your friend tweets something you find interesting, you’ll be able to reply to them via Buzz in Google’s usual chat/comment format with text and a timestamp. Anyone who’s following your friend on Google will be able to see your post, much like a Facebook wall, also Google will immediately index buzz posts meaning that they will show up on Google’s real time search results.
Should anyone respond to your post, you’ll see it show up in your Gmail inbox. Of course Google has made it possible to make these posts privately available only to those you choose. Furthermore, Google can take topics you’re Buzzing about and suggest other Buzz posts to you that Google may think you find interesting.
Google Buzz also has a feature pulled from a social network gaining popularity called Foursquare that is location related. While using Buzz on your mobile device, users can essentially set their location and when they Buzz other users will be able to know their location.
Of course when an Internet titan like Google releases something that seems to directly compete with Twitter and Facebook, people start talking. So far Buzz’s emergence has been fairly controversial. Some people praise it; saying it’s already better than Facebook and Twitter, while others say it’s a disaster and too late into the game. The fact that Buzz is getting this kind of attention proves that when it comes to Google, it’s never too late.
Let’s be serious, frankly should we really be that surprised that Google has released a product that attempts to emulate all the things we love doing online and then put them into one place? Isn’t Gmail just email and instant messaging and chatting?
Isn’t Google Documents all the Microsoft Office products online? Isn’t Wave Google’s attempt to blend all of those into one interface?
Google’s first obstacle after launch was the privacy concern. Originally Google took all your Google contacts and made you follow them while your contacts followed you. People complained that their contacts weren’t the same people they were Facebook friends with and that they didn’t want their contact list public along with their email address and so on. Within two days Google had already released an update making it easier to decide who is and isn’t one of your followers and to manage the other privacy concerns that many people had.
Furthermore, Google has announced that it is definitely contemplating the idea of releasing Buzz as a separate application from Gmail allowing Buzz users to have their own account separate from Gmail. This would be another way to help remove some privacy concerns, but Google will surely want to find a way to introduce people to Gmail along with Buzz.
It’s important to note that after 3 days Buzz already had more than 9 million posts and comments averaging at 160,000 an hour. While the mobile version has put out more than 200 posts a minute, and is gaining popularity.
So will Buzz take down Twitter, MySpace and Facebook? Well some savvy experts are comparing the likely hood of that to the likely hood of Facebook taking down Google by creating a search engine. However, we don’t agree with that because Google is an Internet juggernaut that’s been around the block a few times. Google tends to bury its roots in every popular thing around it and has a history of success. That all leads to an enormous amount of resources that Facebook just doesn’t have.
Our initial thought was that if Facebook could keep its content to itself unlike MySpace and Twitter then Google would have a very tall mountain to climb. Unfortunately for Facebook, shortly before we published this article, we received the news that Facebook had already sunk that boat by allowing their updates to be included in Google’s real time results. Now that Google is able to use Facebook’s data, Google has a huge advantage that’s just been handed to them on a silver platter. Only the future will tell what the fate of Buzz will be, and with it, the fate of Twitter and Facebook.