Wed, 10 Feb 10

Google Buzz is a Good Start, But...

I use my Google email through IMAP on my Mac and iPhone. The few times I check it from the browser via is when I am checking my Analytics or in some other country. That’s quite often. So, I know its just a matter of time before I would check out Buzz.


And within one minute, I know its a good idea, for users and especially so for Google.

1) Built-in network of people you already know.

Gmail has gazillions of people. Its one reason why Facebook, Twitter, etc. want you to import your Gmail address book to find people to follow. Gmail has it built in. And you are in touch with them. So, no surprise that I already have dozens of followers on Buzz, and dozens more I am set to follow automatically.

Compare this with Twitter, where the new user is suggested some inane celebrity or big-name boring media outlet. And, where everyone starts with ZERO (0) followers.

2) Inter-connected with Reader and Picasa and more.

In my case, several of my Gmail contacts are also active on Google Reader, sharing interesting items. Several of my friends and family upload to Picasa. So, Google has a set of pre-existing services which it can glue together to make interesting buzz pages about my friends (see 1 above)

Personally, for me, the interesting thing is that two of my most reclusive (and always insightful) friends are now sucked in via their Google Reader sharings. One of them was a FriendFeed lurker. So Google did something that Twitter and Facebook could not. Heh.

3) It brings stuff in. (But doesn’t put it out)

Flickr and Twitter are already supported through their public API. So, in my case, that’s additional instant value. Interestingly, while, Google brings in my public tweets to my buzz circle it will not send my buzz to twitter. In the near future, its possible that Google will use Facebook Connect and Facebook API to pull in my Facebook stuff as well.


Social networking is at its height. I see more and more people discovering Facebook. This gives some people an alternate persona, another place to showcase their stuff. For Google, this is another way to get user’s activity streams (with their permissions) and have them hang out.


All is not golden, however. Google always does a decent job copying other people’s ideas and hosting its supposedly more open, more internet-standards-friendly, hands-together-kumbaya party. And then not following through with gusto, let alone passion.

Many examples:

  1. Orkut remains a lame social network for people who like all-caps and wingdings.
  2. No worthwhile website uses OpenSocial Connect or OpenSocial API
  3. Picasa is staid and unfriendly compared to Flickr.

And the list goes on. And for good reasons.

So, even as I said “Okay” to buzz, and look forward to see interesting Google Reader sharings brought to me on the iPhone via Google Buzz, I don’t expect to devote a lot of time or love to the Buzz.

Wed, 10 Feb 10