Word of the Week: Google Buzz
Google Buzz – Google Buzz is the newest offering from the Internet giant, and it invites users to “go beyond status messages.” Unveiled just this week in the inboxes of Google’s 176 million Gmail users, Google Buzz is a social media platform designed to compete with Facebook and Twitter. Buzz shares several things in common with each of these social media mainstays, and it allows users to share links, images, videos, or simple status updates. Unlike Twitter, however, shared items are fully integrated into the Buzz interface, and there is no character limit.
Buzz can be linked to other Google services such as Picasa and Google Reader, so that any shared items from those sites appear as Buzz items, and non-Google properties like Flickr and Twitter can also be linked up. Google has jumpstarted the use of Buzz not only by placing it right into Gmail, but each user’s follower list has been automatically populated with their frequent email and Gchat contacts. By eliminating all the “hard” work for users (i.e. seeking out the service and building a contact list), Google has made it easy for us to begin “buzzing” immediately. Very smart.
Google Buzz comes in the wake of the seemingly unsuccessful Google Wave. After that previous foray into social media, it’s fair to wonder if Buzz will be successful in ways that Wave was not. This article from PCWorld explains several key differences between the two, the main difference being that Wave is about collaboration and communication, while Buzz is about sharing. As far as the futures of Buzz and Wave are concerned, the article sums it up like this: “So my guess, as well as the guess of others, is that once you're comfortable with Buzz, you might be more willing to use Wave for collaborative online projects. But the trick will be to get you to buy into using Google Buzz, and that may be a tough sell if you're already used to sharing items with your existing networks on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.”