Google: What the Buzz?

I was at the Borrell Local conference over the past couple days and didn’t have time yesterday to watch the Google Buzz webcast or play with it more than superficially.

It’s a Twitter and Facebook alternative; it’s Google Wave lite; it’s an enterprise tool; it’s an alternative to Google Latitude; it’s a Google Reader replacement; it’s a FourSquare competitor . . . and so on.

It seems that in its latest effort to become more social Google has mashed up features of existing services (Wave, Latitude) with features borrowed directly from Twitter and Facebook. Google’s ability to integrate features across services and platforms is impressive and on display here. However it may be a recipe with too many ingredients.

The logic of using GMail as the basis for this makes complete sense; indeed Yahoo! has offered similar capabilities for a year. However, my “first impressions” lead me to say this:

  • I’m unlikely to use it on the PC (or I’ll just push Twitter feeds into it)
  • Mobile may be where it’s most useful and gains the most adoption (making Latitude irrelevant)

The location aspect is very interesting and potentially useful but I think the desktop aspect is almost entirely redundant.

As someone remarked to me last night it also appears to be a way to integrate elements of Wave into GMail, which may be smart for Google as it tries to gain broader usage of that product.

For those who’ve played with it or used it a little, what do you think?

6 Responses to “Google: What the Buzz?”

  1. holmesonlocal Says:

    Hi Greg, I just posted some interesting thoughts on this a few mins. ago. Agree that online will get little traction, but mobile is very interesting. Here are a few thoughts. These comments are supposed to be integrated with Place pages (I assume in user content). This may have a strange effect on the business reputation since these comments are usually very off the cuff, as opposed to an official review. Will they allow businesses to manage this section??

    Although Google Buzz doesn’t have the competitive feature of checkin’s right now to gain status and hopefully discounts, a la Foursquare and now Yelp, that will certainly be added very soon. Businesses will need to get up to speed for reputation management purposes.

    Finally, another interesting issue is the trademark. AT&T just announced buzz.com. Sony actually owns the trademark for their Playstation Quiz game and they are already in a trademark lawsuit with Buzztime Entertainment, who runs the quiz games at your local bar. Great twist from a marketing perspective.

  2. Richard Says:

    Much more chance of takeoff than Wave. More personal than Twitter, can tie together many aspects of online, e.g. auto-posting new pics you put up. I think the desktop version could surprise us by how useful it is.

  3. Ben Saren Says:

    Oddly enough, I can use Buzz on my iPhone with their iPhone pseuo-app (just a shortcut to the mobile version of Buzz) with my Google Apps account (that’s tied to my gmail acct) but I can’t seem to find Buzz anywhere when I login with my browser on my Mac. My exposure to it has been limited but what I saw was pretty cool. I’m nervous and hesitant about doing MORE with Google though. I love twitter, I’m OK with Facebook, and I like having these different sources for these services. The more Google does to compete with Twitter and Facebook etc, the more afraid of Google I become.

  4. Don Campbell Says:

    Greg, I’ve been playing with Buzz today in Gmail and on the iPhone. I agree that it seems more compelling on the mobile device.

    @holmesonlocal makes a good point in his earlier comment – if “buzz” comments are showing up on businesses Place page it could be a problem for the business owner since many of these types of comments are more off the cuff than a review would be.

    I wrote a little bit about what I found in this post: What Google Buzz means for local businesses.

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I think we’ll have to uses this a bit more to really see if it will “take.” But I’m certainly getting pinged a lot in GMail. Each comment sends me a new email and I can’t “avoid” the icon when I go to look at email.

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