February 13, 2010

No Fuss About Google Buzz

February 13, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
Google never lets the buzz about it grow any less in the internet space. Realising that its social networking platform, orkut, is fading in its primary markets in Brazil and India to Facebook's increasing presence, Google scampered and flexed its muscle to hire stalwarts in social networking. The resulting product which Google unveiled last week, is the Google Buzz, uncannily similar to the Yahoo Buzz platform. Except that Google is taking on the best in Social Networking today, the likes of twitter, facebook and friendfeed.

Google's approach in launching the product has had mixed reactions. What Google has done smartly though, is to use its existing Gmail base across the world, to spread word about the Buzz. Google Buzz comes automatically integrated with all the Gmail users' mailbox, and this is a huge plus for Google. The simple reason being, the kind of exposure and more importantly, the obviousness of the Buzz being present atop the user's mailbox. Look at the adjacent screenshot about what I mean.

The advantage of the placement of the Buzz in the mailbox may not seem that obvious, but what would strike all users, is its presence which gets unavoidable. Buzz is certainly too young to be declared a success or failure. But what Google can leverage on, is to provide its Gmail users one single location to access mails and at the same time follow what their contacts are upto. While twitter and facebook are purely into social networking, Gmail can now offer their mail service along with the social networking platform at the same time.

The one major difference one can see between Buzz and Twitter is that in Twitter, anyone can follow any other twitter user, while in Gmail, it is the users from the contact list of the user. That essentially means, Google Buzz may not be as social for celebrities or public figures who want to update what they are upto, like SRK or Shashi Tharoor do with their tweets. Such figures would have to be part of one's contact list before they can be followed. Well, in a sense, this protects the privacy of those who are chased down by the paparazzi.

Buzz though provides all the updates from its contacts, be it through twitter or picasa or other such supported platforms. Noticeably, only of the users' contacts. Buzz is different from Orkut as of now, in that Google Ads are as yet not visible on Google Buzz. But with Google it won't be long before Google Ads find their way into the Buzz page. How this will help Buzz is to place ads related to the contacts' activities. This will mean ads of restaurants or hangouts which the contacts may have been to. This will help advertisers and also mean that Buzz would be more effective in drawing more users. Not to mention, the Google Map integration which can also give aerial views and/or directions to specific locations.

On a personal note, I believe Google's Youtube maybe transformational for the Buzz platform. Not only can Youtube videos find more followers, there can be an entire network which can be created using Youtube. Buzz can advertise and air more Youtube videos and keep more eyes glued on the entire gamut of Google services using Buzz. It can also mean, more ads for Google in Youtube targeted Buzz pages. Honestly, Google has huge potential going for it to tap into the social realm. But with the lukewarm response to Orkut thus far, Buzz may not have such an easy ride though.