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Google announces Buzz: Twitter/Facebook for Gmail

Sections: Communications, Google, Mobile, Web, Web Apps

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Google Buzz Mobile With Twitter and Facebook being in many ways the most popular and used websites out there, it makes sense that Google would try to get into the competition. Google tried once before by buying Jaiku, which was a Twitter-like service that later died. Now Google looks to try using what it already has in place to push Buzz to as many people as possible.

That platform would be Gmail. Buzz at first glance comes off as a bit of a Twitter-clone built into Gmail. It’s a service for sharing short messages, photos and videos with your friends. Of course, unlike Twitter and Facebook, there’s theoretically a way to automatically include everyone as it just takes your friends from Google Contacts. Buzz makes it possible to link to other web services like Picasa, Flickr, Twitter and Google Reader, which looks to be a nice feature. Everything is viewed in the same box, so no going outside of Buzz to watch a video or look at photos, and new comments appear in realtime lie Google Wave. Of course, since it uses GMail, Buzz will send you an email whenever someone responds to your buzz, or one you commented on.

The web version of Buzz allows for adding in a location, as well as posting through voice on Android phones and iPhones. The problem, however, comes in the fact that Buzz is limited to Android 2.0+ and the iPhone, with the Buzz layer for Maps also available on Windows Mobile and Symbian. That leaves those of us with anything other than an iPhone, Nexus One or Droid left out for the moment, until BlackBerry, WinMo and Symbian compatibility. That still leaves those who have Android phones running 1.6 out of the possible fun.

Buzz itself, while it looks to be an interesting idea, will take some time to see how it succeeds. For someone like me, who tends to not have the email of everybody, the geolocation seems to be all I can get special given the layering on Google Maps. For those who do have a lot of contacts via email, it might be tough to convince others to use it over Facebook or Twitter. Until proven otherwise, I’d categorize it similar to Google Talk: a nice, interesting improvement that remains a curiosity unless friends can be convinced to use it in addition to or on top of other services.

Read [Google Blog]

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