Sure enough, yesterday just before lunch, Google rolled out a blog post about the new Google Buzz, which is hitting Gmail and other Google services over the next two or three days. The result got a lot of hype – not Apple iPad hype, but still a lot of hype. Then everyone in the blogsophere saw it.
What a buzzkill.
Of course, former Google employee Zengestrom is all over this and thinks it’s the bee knees. He might be right eventually, after Google has done something with Buzz, but for now, he’s way off. Buzz is basically a combination of Twitter and Friendfeed. It’d be nice if those two had been combined into something great, but so far, Buzz is just another Yahoo Updates, but with better graphics.
Meanwhile, in order to try to snatch Google’s glory, Facebook showed the search giant that they aren’t worried: they have AOL. Yep, America Online, the company that’s trying to re-brand itself as something more than a has-been dialup provider. Now AOL Instant Messenger (which some of us have called a virus more than once) is integrated into Facebook Connect. This is a side track, since it’s obvious this is not any kind of competition for anything. It’s AIM, people.
Of course, the innovative codgers over at Microsoft had a lot to say about Google’s Buzz too. Their comments basically boiled down to “serious adults with real jobs don’t need social networking.” BING! Good one, Microsoft.
So here’s the real skinny on all this Buzz. First, the new app and integration aren’t anything special. Not really. What is special is that the powerhouse behind it is Google. That may mean great things. Google is right to assume that the social networking marketplace is about as full as it can get, but lacks one important thing: easy aggregation and relevance.
Friendfeed tried to provide that, but in the end it failed to catch on. It’s just too clunky and doesn’t have much in the way of an API. It’s actually easier for many of us to use any of a number of desktop clients that can plug into multiple Twitter, Facebook and other accounts on one window. Sorry, FF.
That is where Google could shine. Whether they will remains to be seen, though.