When I saw a Google Buzz icon on my iPod when checking my email, My first thoughts were “what IS this?” I then fell asleep. When I woke up today and checked my email on my computer, I remembered the whole icon thing from the night before, and thought to investigate. A bit of poking around took me to buzz.google.com, where I opted into the beta, only to find it is twitter, but slightly better. Allow me to rant for a bit.
First off, you follow people. Sounds like either an RSS feed or, um, Twitter. It also tries to take cues from Google Wave and Google Reader by flagging off everything you haven’t read with a nice colored banner off to one side, with no way to get rid of it without refreshing the page. On top of this, they added the ability to comment and like posts (Facebook, anyone), and then email you every single time someone decides to do either of these things, which makes absolutely no sense seeing as there’s a new section of your Gmail inbox that shows how many unread messages you have. That was a long sentence. Google seems to feel bad that it messed up with Wave’s launch (by not giving everyone access all at once) and decided to re-use some of its code in Buzz; for one, I noticed that they added the live-updating from Google Wave to Buzz conversations.
But wait, there’s more! Just like Orkut, Google’s failed social networking service, or Google Videos, the Youtube competitor, Buzz has a fatal flaw; there is already something out there, probably inferior in design, with more users and popularity due to a longer time on the market. Whether Google likes it or not, Twitter will always have a slight upper hand in the market, simply because they have a “microblogging” monopoly. Google could always do what they did with their Google Video issue and just BUY the competition (Yes, in case you had been living under a rock for the last year or so, Google did buy Youtube). To quote a friend of mine, Google is trying to see how loyal its Gmail users are.
Ok, now some good stuff I suppose. It does have support for integration from practically every social site of any sort (with the exception of full-fledged social networks, which is odd). Tweets, Reader updates, Youtube ratings, and Picassa photos, to name a few, can automatically post to Buzz. There is no Facebook integration (apparently with good reason) yet, but I hope to see it soon. Its also actually rather convenient, when its not nagging me. Its integration with Gmail is rather nice, apart from the whole email thing, and even then, the emails have customized response boxes. Granted, it is kinda comfusing, but its pretty much like Facebook, minus the pages, apps, and spam. It certainly has more promise than Google Wave. *sigh* Oh, and you can post in over 140 characters. Zounds!