Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Google Buzz Mobile : Wave-like social networking, combined with location features creates interesting tool

The impact some technology developments will have are apparent at launch. Some, like Twitter, seem not so obvious. (Honestly, did you think so many people would use the service when you first heard of it?)

Google announced the release of Google Buzz. "Today, we're launching Google Buzz, a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting and share updates, photos, videos and more," Google stated on its Gmail blog.

Google Buzz combines some Google Wave like features with its popular e-mail service. It's mobile version, though, is already a hit, if my experience is any indication.

Using my iPhone, I went to the Google Buzz web page and signed into my account. Instantly I was reading other people's messages about the massive snowstorm we are experiencing today. I posted a question about the road conditions and within minutes someone nearby replied with a report.

Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, mentioned during the press conference today, that he used Google Buzz while writing an op-ed for the New York Times. Brin wrote his piece and then shared it through Google Buzz to get opinions about his piece. Unlike Google Wave, you can not collaborate in real time, but in other respects Google Buzz is a mini version of Wave.  Additionally, the mobile version allows you to pinpoint your location via maps, or select a nearby location. This interesting use of Google Maps is yet one more sign that location based communication and advertising will make an impact this year.

Short update after the jump.

Update: One of the issues I have with something like Google Buzz, or Google Wave, for that matter, is the need to be part of the same community . . . all the time. In other words, to truly make something like Google Buzz work, one needs to be tuned in to Google Buzz continuously.

This, of course, is the pretty much the same with Twitter or other social networking applications. My experience says this is a significant barrier to entry -- entry, that is, into my lifestyle. Google Buzz seems like something I would enjoy using, but it is another example of the fragmentation of the market.

Let me put it another way: I love Skype, yet I can get only a handful of people who I need to communicate with to use it regularly. SMS texting, on the other hand, always works because no matter whether the person on the other end likes it or not they will get that text.

Mail, the telephone, e-mail . . . these are communications systems that have universal buy in. All others struggle to reach the same level of universality.