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Monday, May 10, 2010

Edition 17: Buzz about Googe Buzz

Most of us have already been addicted to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter. Now we have one more distraction called as google buzz. Is its just another of many such applications or is it really adding value to users. Do we really need one more such application Why did Google release it even before it was ready in market?
It is known that Google still wants to buy Twitter, and putting Buzz into Gmail might be enough of a threat to bring Twitter back on negotiations. Buzz did not launch in some Google Labs backwater. It is placed front and center in Gmail. Buzz is Google’s strongest effort yet to enter the stream. If Buzz can gain traction it would certainly help Google’s negotiating position with Twitter.
Independent of any pressure it may place on Twitter, Google needs to have its own realtime micro-messaging communications system. This system according to many is just a more efficient way to communicate than email for many types of messages so it makes sense to add it as a layer to Gmail: broadcast your public messages via Buzz, and keep private ones on email or chat, all from the same place.
The other reason Google needed to establish its own social stream pronto is that links passed through social sharing are beginning to rival search as a primary driver of traffic for many sites. Part of Google’s prowess stems from the fact that it is the largest referrer of traffic to many other Websites. It doesn’t want to lose that status to social sharing streams such as Facebook or Twitter. Already, Buzz is helping to boost sharing through Google Reader. While Google doesn’t benefit directly from that traffic (yet), simply knowing what links people are sharing and clicking on is valuable data which can help it improve its search results.
It’s now been just a few weeks now since Google launched its Google Buzz social-sharing service and started rolling it out to Gmail users. Much of the coverage so far has been not very streamlined . It had a major privacy issue: the initial list of people you auto follow on Buzz is based on who you talk with most often in Gmail, and that list is public unless you choose to make it private.
To its credit, Google has responded swiftly to complaints: It’s made changes in Buzz to make it more obvious what information the service is making public, and to help you crank up the privacy settings. Users thought their contacts were being made public without their knowledge (in particular the lists of people they follow, and the people following them). They have resolved this issue
Google’s explanation of the post-release changes points out that millions of people are now using Buzz...and maybe that’s part of the issue. Rather than let a sizable pool of testers outside of Google try the service out before opening up the floodgates, it’s gone straight to a full-blown launch. Sounds like the company didn’t expect some of the confusion that’s happening.
Highpoint of Buzz is that it has one of the nicest photo-album viewers . Buzz lets users include thumbnails when sharing web links, making them more graphic and attractive (according to Google). One way in which Google differentiates its service from Twitter is that Google Buzz also lets users attach various degrees of access to posts, from completely public, to limited to hand-picked friends. Quite fun is the Buzz map, which lets you see who is Buzzing in your neighbourhood - (albeit with security risks entailed). This is a good way of finding fellow Buzzers in your area.
People may not leave Twitter and Facebook anytime soon, but Buzz is full of potential and it can become the third major service of this sort. Given Google’s history with social stuff, that’s impressive in itself.

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