Google: Buzz isn't competing with Facebook

Ronny Kerr · February 22, 2010 · Short URL:

Vice president of product management says Buzz fills a niche, not competing with Facebook or Twitter

Google vs FacebookEver since Google Buzz launched less than two weeks ago, the entire industry's been wondering what it means for the other big names in social media and networking, namely Facebook and Twitter. Well, if Google's word means much to you, they'll have you believe that Buzz has no business with the "status-casting" or "checking in" of those sites.

Despite some early privacy controversies that have since been mostly sorted out, Google saw tens of millions of its 175+ million Gmail users sharing over 9 million posts and comments on the Buzz network, just in the first week.

Asked by eWeek if Google Buzz is intended as a Facebook or Twitter killer, Google vice president of product management Bradley Horowitz responded genially towards those other social sites:

Absolutely not. Per what I just said, this is creating a new category of communication. It's filling a niche, which is not currently met in the market. I think something unique is happening on Buzz that will continue to evolve. It's hard to create a trend line or extrapolate too much from six days of use, but certainly conversation and the conversational Web is a place where Buzz has excelled. I think it is unique and offers a compelling, interesting experience.

This is a pretty interesting statement, considering the fact that most everyone else seems to believe that Buzz, with its FriendFeed-like social streams embedded directly into Gmail, competes directly with Twitter's minimal microblogging stream and Facebook's massive sprawl of shared links, likes, and multimedia.

At the same time, Horowitz's words, advocating for an wide and open Web where users interact on multiple social sites that all interact with each other, almost parallel the immediate and official Facebook response upon the launch of Buzz:

"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."

Whether these are all merely polite words masking a violent storm brewing underneath or not, it's clear that the Web has become a social place for good. Whether or not users will embrace multiple venues or eventually turn to just one, in the future, remains to be seen.

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