The Buzz About ‘Google Buzz‎’: It’s too Late, Dull and Probably Going to Flop

Google just unveiled its most ambitious attempt to build a social networking site, called Google Buzz. But what is it? Part email, part Facebook, part Twitter, part Friendfeed and part Foursquare. Google Buzz is directly integrated with Gmail and, although not yet available to all users, is expected to be rolled out into all accounts within a week.

It’s natural that when you hear about a brand new Google app — especially one that’s obviously designed to confront Twitter and/or Facebook — the first thing you want to do is try it out. So when I heard about Google Buzz, I immediately ran to my Gmail account. And it turns out that Google Buzz is indeed a Facebook/Twitter look-alike. Your friends are defined by your existing Google contacts. You can send a buzz (i.e. a status message) privately to a list of friends (if you use Google Contacts, you’ll already have various categories in place), to all your contacts, or as a public message.

The Buzz About 'Google Buzz‎' It's too Late, Dull and Probably Going to Flop

Users of the service can post a public or private buzz, which is a status update, as well as share the content of and connect with other social networking sites like Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Users get a profile page and Buzz lets you ‘follow’ people in order to share in their updates and photos, and there’s also the option to ‘like’ content. You’ll also be recommended content that Buzz thinks will interest you.

The biggest site that it will compete with is obviously Facebook, but also Twitter, and on mobile phones, apps like Facebook and Foursquare. But 400 million people are already happily using Facebook, and tens of millions (or hundreds of thousands) are using the other services. Why would they switch to this Google service when there are no compelling reasons to do so? And if Google isn’t going to actually kill Facebook with this thing, what’s the point?

On the other hand, Google killed incumbent search engines that had a multi-year head start because they figured out how to make search results relevant. All of a sudden, you could find what you were looking for in the first page of links… fast. Twitter feeds are full of irrelevant noise, and nobody really cares about most of what their Facebook friends are doing most of the time. If Google can come up with some kind of TweetRank that works as well as PageRank did, to filter and present only the good stuff, then they might be onto something. Time will tell.

It remains to be seen whether Google has managed to select the best from the rest and created the network that everyone will want to use once Buzz is rolled out to all accounts within the next week, or whether this will be another of its network ideas which will fall by the wayside.

For many users ‘Google Buzz’ can be confusing and it has another place “to go”. I have used Gmail since it first came out in Beta form. For me it has almost totally replaced outlook. I jumped at using Buzz today, but, again, it’s confusing. Not sure what to do with it even though I have it sitting in my Gmail interface. Personally I would love not to leave my GMail page. Finally, I’m already distracted enough when I work with google’s gmail interface. And do I really need to have my private life (email) so closely linked to my public life (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)? It’s new, so we’ll see. But it is not a slam dunk – at least not for me.

I just don’t want the majority of my Gmail contacts have anything social to do with me. Also people on the facebook and people I follow on Twitter are very different groups, Neither will integrate well with my Gmail contacts. We are already in an information overload state and now Google Buzz brings us true privacy broadcast? Seriously who’s gonna remember to set each and every buzz “private” or “public”? Would you? Maybe google is betting you won’t.


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