A few quickly-jotted first impressions of the service:
This ain’t no Orkut. Buzz demonstrates that Google is VERY serious about social media, and just threw down the gauntlet in an attempt to take on Facebook and Twitter.
However, they’re doing it by embracing existing networks and consuming their feeds, instead of building Yet Another Island. Openness: walking the talk.
That said, while Buzz does include Twitter status updates –which Google already integrates into search results–Facebook status updates are conspicuously absent. When questioned about Facebook Connect support, Gmail/Buzz product manager Todd Jackson said, “We have nothing to announce about that at this time.”
Instead of limiting Buzz’s photo support to Google’s own product, Picasa Web Albums, Buzz supports their competitor’s (arguably superior) photo-sharing service, Flickr. Once again, Openness with a capital O.
With every Google launch, your Gmail Contacts become more and more important: first Voice, Wave, and Reader use your Contacts list, now Buzz.
Buzz pushes Google Profiles usage with its integration into your Profile, boosting Google’s ability to present ever better people search results.
Yahoo used to be the “social” human-friendly web company and Google the soulless, algorithm-obsessed robots. Now, Google is synthesizing passive data about user activity using an algorithm. Essentially, they’re letting humans organize the web using passively-generated metadata, versus using active editors. (Former Yahoo Bradley Horowitz, who is now at Google, pointed this out.)
Buzz looks just like FriendFeed, another social media aggregator, which was founded by Googlers and purchased by Facebook.
It’s kind of nice to log into a new social networking service and not have to find all your friends by hand–Buzz knows, based on who you email the most, which is the best possible measure.
Right now Facebook is supposedly working on a webmail “Gmail killer.”
Gmail usage is strong, so Buzz launches with a HUGE initial user base built right in.
Buzz is more like Google Reader than it is like Google Wave, though it does take two small pages from Wave’s playbook. First, the idea of a universal inbox–someone does something on an external site, and you see the updates in your inbox. Second, rich media sharing–integrating images, videos, and links into status updates (like Facebook, unlike Twitter). Buzz’s image slideshow capability looks a whole lot like Wave’s.
Finally, it’s kind of crazy that Google named the product Buzz, when Yahoo already has a product called Yahoo! Buzz, which we all apparently forgot about already.