Tuesday, February 9, 2010

#135 - What's the buzz now? (Hint: it's Google - again)

Just when the hoopla over Apple's iPad has died down, here comes Google with yet another major entry into the social media landscape. Google finally made its formal announcement of the most talked about new feature to hit the net yet - Google Buzz.

The latest Google product was designed to compete with both Twitter and Facebook, and sure, it's just another way for us to conduct social networking. But this new feature is integrated with Gmail and several other Google products, so maybe it could give Twitter a fight. There are still holdouts to micro-blogging. Too bad Google wasn't ready with this six months ago - before Twitter blew the roof off every projection with its record millions of new users worldwide.

Google explained in a number of venues today that its new "Buzz" consists of five main features:
1. Auto Follow, 2. Fast Sharing experience, 3. Support for Public and Private Sharing, 4. In-box Integration (with Gmail), and 5. Just the good stuff.
The last feature, The Good Stuff, is where Google Buzz actually recommends interesting posts to users and weeds out the ones you're most likely to skip. Sounds pretty good, huh? Given how much I weed through on my Twitter home page these days, I do find this application appealing. What do you think about the new features Google is selling?

Do you think you would actually use Buzz in addition to Twitter and Facebook or instead of one of those two? It's very hard to imagine any company actually giving Twitter a run for its money at this late date. Still, if anyone could, it would be Google.

For an in-depth look at everything the new Google venture promises to add to our social networking stratosphere, check out this article in today's TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/09/if-google-wave-is-the-future-google-buzz-is-the-present/.

As I see it, the main drawback to the Google innovation is that you need a Gmail account to make it pay off. Believe it or not, I am one of the last holdouts to using gmail for email. Must I, really? I have plenty of emailboxes as it is (and everyone already has my addressed). Bummer.

Still, it's much too early to predict whether Google - the almighty king of the Web - will ever be able to successfully compete socially. They've not had the best track record. (Remember OpenSocial...FriendFeed?) No? See what I mean?

Anytime Google launches a new product it's big news around the blogosphere, because Google has grown omnipresent. It's also a company that knows how to succeed. One of Life Lesson's central goals is to report on those items which are pertinent to students and consumers of social media and mass communications education. And, I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more buzz about Google's Buzz. You have my sincere promise that I'll be staying current with the reports so that I can let you know when thing become worthy of your time.

Stay tuned...!

Please add your comments below on the topic of Google Buzz. Let's get this conversation rolling. Part of creating a successful blog is having the capability to foster conversation. (Without your comments, I'm the only one talking.) So, you can see why I need your thoughts to make this work, especially as I develop a series of workshops on social media as it relates to marketing for businesses and in the lesson plans of journalism and mass comm educators.

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