Yesterday marked the official launch of Google’s latest attempt to muscle in on the Social Media revolution, Google Buzz. It seems the search engine and self appointed keeper of the Internet feels that the likes of Twitter and Facebook are leaving it behind.
Google Tries Again
Google have tried social media before. There’s Google Chat, Orkut, Picasa, Social Search and of course the damps squib that was Google Wave. None of these have really hit the money.
Google Buzz is an expansion of Google’s Gmail service. It allows users to post status updates (similar to Twitter and Facebook), share content, and read friends’ posts. The service is automatically hooked into a few photo sharing services. It is also slotted into Google maps, so you can see where people in your follower list actually are.
Google have placed Buzz inside Gmail since that service is already used by around 170 million people.
My experience of Buzz
Only 1% of current Gmail users have been allowed a trial of the service. I’m lucky enough to be part of that 1%, so here’s what I found:
The link to Buzz sits just below the Inbox link. You’re automatically following and followed by people who you regularly send and receive email with. Open conversations scroll down the page in a way similar to Google Wave. You can post replies specifically @ a users gmail address, or to all followers.
It’s quite cool the way Picasa and other photo sharing services are fully integrated. You get access to the high res versions of images without leaving the page.
You can also see when people you follow make comments on other websites, as long as they are signed in to their Google account when they do it. The system also links up with your Google profile.
Google Buzz product manager Todd Jackson said that it was “an entirely new world in Gmail”.
Here’s a video that describes it a bit better than I can:
Whatever your thoughts about Buzz, it does mean that the ‘social web’ is becoming increasingly important. And as a website owner this is yet another opportunity to use the social web to reach out to new potential visitors.
Make sure you add social bookmarking buttons on your website, allowing your visitors to share your content.
Add your Twitter feed to your website so that users can interact with you on that platform too.
Anyone else got the Buzz? Do you think that this catapults Google into the social media space? Any other ways to integrate your WebEden website with the social web? Leave us a comment below.