So, Google has unleashed a new ‘social media’ platform called ‘Buzz’. Buzz is kind of like Friendfeed and Twitter and so not like Facebook as others have tried to imply. Buzz is an interesting thing if, for no other reason, to sit back and read all of the gushing about it. The positive, err, buzz, about Buzz, is like watching a bunch of hormonal teenage boys seeing a hot, naked or semi naked, young lady walk into the room. The people who are heaping the praise on this thing are like those teenage boys: falling over themselves trying to impress or catch the eye of the young lady. Kind of amusing. And, yes, a harsh assessment of these people. While it is very easy to go overboard about something that impresses you so much-I’ve certainly done that myself-the simple fact is that here, it isn’t deserved. Let me explain.
First, and most importantly, Buzz is a solution to a problem that just does not exist. Do we really need another Twitter like service? Do we need yet another reason to hand over more information to Google? Secondly, and just as important, why didn’t Google make it more intuitive when it comes to setting your profile? Privacy, contrary to what Scott McNealy wants you to believe, is still in our control. It is slipping, I will admit that, and every time we fall for something like Buzz, we lose just a little more control. Did I mention this was Google? Third, it is only a matter of time before the bots, spammers and such ilk will move in. What seems like a nice, pristine environment now will become the dank and dark hallway that other similar services became. Some cleanup a little better than others. But, really, what’s the point in migrating from one to another every time they pop up? Last, integration with GMail. I don’t really want this. I have ONE message from someone I followed on Buzz. Every time that person updates Buzz, that ONE MESSAGE is updated. My bloody mail indicator is going to meltdown from this. I’m sure there is a way to turn that off, I just have not found it yet.
Buzz isn’t all bad. It is nice to look at and auto updates-a feature I like and think should be part of every web based platform. To make a user refresh a browser to get updated content is just wrong. Microsoft, I’m looking you! Buzz can integrate with several services, including-of all things-Twitter and Picasa, which is understandable since the Goog owns it.
Buzz is fine. I don’t really have anything against it. I just don’t think it is enough to make me leave the other services I use. Unlike some, I don’t see it as a Facebook competitor and do not, for a second, think that Facebook lost half of it’s value when Buzz started. I don’t use Facebook all that often but can its value and purpose and it is not in the same category as Buzz. If any service should feel threatened, it is Friendfeed. Shoot, if I believed everything that Robert Scoble wrote, I would have left FriendFeed months ago since, you know, no one uses it now. Just like no one watches broadcast television, listens to the radio, buys CD’s, goes to the movies, uses AIM, buys DVD’s or blogs. No one does any of that, you know. Trust me. I read it on the Internet-FriendFeed, Twitter, Blogs and Facebook, by the way-as well as hearing it repeated on podcasts.
Back to the buzz. About that buzz, remember the buzz around Google Wave? Google Talk? Google Docs? Yeah. Those. I suspect Buzz will suffer a similar fate. I might be wrong, but I don’t think so. There will be hype and buzz for a week or three. Let’s see what happens in a month. If there’s still buzz, maybe I’ll hum along myself. Until then, this is all the buzz I’m giving Buzz.