Google Buzz has been out for a few months now and has settled
down after its dramatic and explosive launch. Its introduction was
met with various user privacy issues, none more than the highly
worrying ‘auto follow’ feature, where Buzz ‘auto followed’ your
most emailed contacts and thus allowing others to understand your
email usage (this has since been removed).
The other door Buzz faced on launch was the more obvious one,
Why do I need yet another social media network? If you already use
Twitter and Facebook for communication to your audiences, where
would Buzz fit into all this? That is before you start with all the
other Social Networks that people may use (MySpace, Digg, Bebo,
Last.FM, LinkedIn). Okay, these other networks might be used for
other functions such as music, photos and news, but they do account
for a user’s time.
So was it Google’s answer to Twitter? Or had they missed the
Buzz is similar to Twitter and Facebook as it is another
mechanism to communicate with users via the web; trade statuses,
links, images and videos but there are differences. Here are the
pros and cons of Google Buzz.
Find and follow your contacts
Due to the fact that Google Buzz is integrated into Google Mail,
you instantly have your friends to follow in your Google Mail
contacts list. They will be able to view your buzzes and vice
versa. No need to be introduced or search for your friends using a
search mechanism, its automatic.
Social Networks Connection
Google Buzz allows you to import your activity with other social
networks automatically. Buzz feeds in your latest photos from
Flickr or Picasa, your latest tweets from Twitter, your latest
videos from YouTube and your news feeds from Google Reader.
No Character limitation
Where you are limited with Twitter to the 140 Character
restriction, Buzz allows for unlimited-length posts.
YouTube auto embedding
Similar to Google Chat, all YouTube videos are automatically
embedded into Google Buzz, avoiding you from having to click
through to YouTube, thus enabling commenting on a video
collaboratively within Buzz.
As previously mentioned, Google Buzz allows for the ability to
follow communication between individuals and groups of individuals
rather than individual posts. This allows for collaboration and
conversations to grow, which is especially useful when you consider
the ability to embed video, pictures and links.
Google Buzz Map
This is my personal favourite. The Google Buzz Map is viewable
to all mobile phones (except Blackberry) via the Google Buzz layer
on Google Maps for Mobile. When using a mobile device with a GPS,
you can geotag your Buzzes with your current location. This is
displayed in Google Maps with the Buzz layer, enabling you to view
Buzzes from a location point of view; a new feature to social
Now the Cons. in addition to the previously mentioned, privacy
issues and the need to interact with yet another social
Google Mail Account
This has got to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the
product. If you already use Google Mail then great, if you don’t
then you require one to use Buzz. As well as the issue of most
usernames having gone, why would a user require yet another email
account to the one they currently use? Simple, they wouldn’t.
Twitter Integration Delay
There is a significant delay in Twitter feeds feeding into your
Buzz Account, this negates the whole real-time communication
Overcrowded Buzz streams
If you have a Buzz stream where you are following a ‘Buzzer’ who
comments quite regularly, then this can tend to overcrowd your Buzz
stream, similar to having a Tweeter who tweets too much. But add to
this the fact that they may have lots of followers who then comment
on their buzzes, and your stream then becomes theirs very
Whereas Facebook and Twitter have many different ways to find
people you may wish to follow, either by similar interest or
subject, Buzz fails to assist in this matter.
I was lucky enough to be a Gmail user, so the integration of
Google Buzz was seamless apart from the fact that it does tend to
overcrowd my mail box on some days. After linking in my Twitter
account, I really found no need to use Buzz on a regular basis. I
do however like the Google Buzz map overlay on Google Maps and use
this to view Buzzers who are located nearby.
So overall, Google Buzz is currently only offering technology
that is already out there. Its integration with Google Maps for
Mobile is its strongest selling point, but Google really needs to
come up with the killer innovation that will help Google Buzz stand
its ground against the social media big-hitters like Twitter,
Facebook and LinkedIn, and newcomers like Foursquare.