What's the buzz on Google Buzz?

Ronny Kerr · February 10, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/daa

A round-up of all the important talk yesterday on the biggest thing since Google Wave

Yahoo BuzzGoogle yesterday created quite a bit of hype across an already heavily social Web by unveiling its latest and most forceful push into social networking, Google Buzz, a stream for sharing content with friends, family, and the world that integrates directly into Gmail alongside and within the user's inbox.

While the response to Google Buzz from your average tweeter appeared to shift somewhere around cautious excitement (we saw what happened after the hype surrounding Google Wave), statements made by Google's top competitors in search came out the loudest and most abrasive.

Microsoft's statement:

Busy people don’t want another social network, what they want is the convenience of aggregation. We’ve done that. Hotmail customers have benefited from Microsoft working with Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and 75 other partners since 2008.

Interestingly, Google Buzz is all about integration and aggregation. The divide between one's email account and the use of social networks, like Facebook, has often been cited as a central weakness to social sites. By placing Buzz directly into a place of significance, right under the user's inbox, Google seeks to offer a solution to this problem. Could the release of Google Buzz be a pre-emptive response to a product like Facebook email?

Yahoo, too, harped on Google for taking its users back in time by integrating old technology into Gmail.

Yahoo's statement:

It’s been almost a year and a half since we first launched Yahoo! Updates – a social feature that lets people share their status, content and online activities and stay connected to what their friends and family are doing on Yahoo! and across the Web.

And another, from the Yahoo Twitter account:

Two years after #Yahoo! launched #Buzz, Google follows suit. Check out the original: https://buzz.yahoo.com/

Either Yahoo! is bragging about the fact that no one has heard of its own similar services, or the company wants to warn Google that they won't have much luck with a stream embedded directly into mail. It doesn't look good no matter how one interprets it.

Facebook took a quieter approach, perhaps a safe reaction to the fact that over half the reports out there say that this is a direct challenge to the leading social networking site:

"We haven’t yet had the opportunity to use Google Buzz,” said Facebook spokesman Larry Yu. "Generally, we’re supportive of technologies that help make the Web more social and the world more open, and are interested to see how Google Buzz progresses over time."

Of course, having just surpassed 400 million global users, Facebook must feel like it's in a pretty good place. Additionally, Facebook Connect, a set of APIs that allows users to log in to third-party sites with their Facebook identity, has been picking up steam recently, cementing this social network's place in a pivotal role on the Web.

When it comes down to it, the success of Google Buzz depends wholly on usage becoming contagious. A rolling snowball, social sites grow only when a user knows that all his or her friends also use the site. Google needs to convince Gmail users that they need Buzz and that it's not just a weaker version of Facebook.

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