I hadn’t been following the news recently, so I was genuinely surprised when I saw “Google Buzz” in my Gmail dashboard today. My first impression is: this could work for me. But not as a replacement of Twitter. I rather see it as something to replace FriendFeed.
I have to admit – I never really got the hang of FriendFeed. While I want a service or an application that helps me to aggregate different forms of information streams, I don’t want to have to visit an additional site. But Buzz is integrated into Gmail which I visit a dozen times a day anyhow. And since most people I know check their Gmail or the iGoogle Dashboard regularly, this means you have real chance to create a lively discussion through Buzz.
In a way I think of Buzz as ”Google Wave light”. Buzz doesn’t have advanced collaboration features like Wave, but it enables interaction and easy sharing of content. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Buzz is based on Wave and maybe that just shows that we shouldn’t think of Wave as a separate product but as a developers platform for applications like Buzz.
Here is what I like and what I dislike about Buzz so far:
- Conversations: I can see everybody’s replies to a message. One of the things I don’t like about Twitter is that it’s almost impossible to have a discussion with multiple people because @-replies and #-tags are so inconvenient. Granted, this is standard message board functionality. But again, a message board is a different website that you consciously have to decide to visit. Buzz is part of Gmail.
- Integration with Google Reader 1: I can see what blog posts my contacts recommend from within Gmail.
- Integration with Google Reader 2: By sharing my own blog post through Google Reader, I can push them to my Buzz followers.
- Very good photo and video-integration. Again, this reminds me of Google Wave.
- Because all Gmail users are also Buzz users, many of my contacts are instantly connected through this tool.
- Groups: You can chose to only send a message or share content with a group of users.
- Twitter integration 1: You can see the Twitter posts of your Buzz contacts but you cannot post to Twitter. That means, that if you reply to a Twitter message your answer can only be seen on Buzz. That’s a lame and very transparent attempt of Google to keep the conversation on their own platform. However that is not in the interest of the user and very short-sighted.
- Twitter integration 2:I think that in addition to the ability to post to Twitter, Buzz should also show all of your own @replies and direct messages. Gmail could then become message-central for all you inbound messages (except for Facebook).
- Non-threaded conversations: Buzz doesn’t allow you to reply to a specific comment, i.e. there are no threaded conversations. Why?
- Privacy issues:
initially, everybody can see with whom you are emailing most. See this blog post on how to fix this problem.Update (13 February): http://mashable.com/2010/02/13/google-buzz-changes/
I’m really curious to see how this will play out. I think everything is possible from massive success to dramatic failure. For me one of the main questions: Why wasn’t Google able to roll this out a year ago?
In case you want to follow me on Google Buzz – here is the link to my profile:http://www.google.com/profiles/timo.luege
What is your take on Google Buzz? Leave a comment and let me know!