I'm totally missing the buzz… I've b…

I’m totally missing the buzz…

I’ve been playing with Google Buzz for a few days now and I know I must be missing something *big* because the ONLY thing I’ve found interesting about it so far is that by connecting with a bunch more people on the google platform, I now get more articles showing up in my Google Reader.

Others talk about how it is vindication that email is the social network, but I’m finding my experience much closer to Fred’s that we can’t assume implicit and explicit social networks are one-and-the-same.

The whole service feels really kludgy and doesn’t pass the would-my-family-use-this-tool test… and if they did, they certainly wouldn’t use it to share personal stories, organize events, upload photos, etc, like they do now. My gut tells me it has potential to be a popular tool among the tech-crowd along the lines of twitter thanks to slick mobile integration, geolocation features, etc., but it’s missing way too many of Facebook’s “connecting” features like photos sharing/tagging, video sharing/tagging, groups, etc., for it to really be a mass-appeal social network.

However, with that said, David Gibbons obviously has a different take. He tweets:

@tyr a) not a walled garden b) nothing cutsie about it c) smart conversation notification d) local integration is AWESOME #whyBUZZisbetter”

and

@tyr it’s far from perfect but they’re iterating at light speed & what really matters is the (sociological) foundation which kicks fb’s butt”

so I’m worried I must be missing something big. Help me out.

How is Google Buzz going to challenge Facebook in any meaningful way?

UPDATE 1

Appropriate to the topic, there has been a decent conversation about this topic on a google buzz thread.

UPDATE 2

Robert Scoble sums up my thoughts well: Why did Google copy FriendFeed’s worst features?

One thought on “I'm totally missing the buzz… I've b…

  1. Hi Dustin, I’m feeling kind of the same way as you. I am not a Gmail user, so I had no existing network to leverage (or expose!). A few things struck me about Buzz initially: the integration with Reader was interesting from a content sharing perspective, but it changes the whole sharing model for Reader, at least for me. I had previously had Reader set to share with only two people on a very private basis. Managing the sharing permissions between Buzz and Reader was clumsy to say the least and it took some time to get the settings right. I would change permissions in Reader but Buzz would not recognize the changes.

    The other thing that really struck me was the mobile version of Buzz. To me it seemed to make Buzz as much of a play against Yelp! and Foursquare as it is against FB. Obviously Google wants a good slice of that mobile location-aware ad revenue. The location awareness of the mobile app is pretty nice and I like the notion of the Buzz overlay in Google maps (at least as an idea). I use Google maps on my iPhone and if I could easily drill-down within Maps to Yelp and Foursquare quality user-generated content that could be a bonus…

    The thing that really blew my mind was that updates from the mobile app use your exact street address if there is not an existing Place nearby. CREEPY! When I first loaded the app, allowed it to use my location, and clicked “Nearby” I saw a bunch of folks posting updates from the houses around me, including some young looking teenagers. I really doubt they realized that they were publishing their home addresses. There wasn’t much talk about this in the initial “buzz” about privacy issues, but it is something that Google needs to address if they haven’t already.

    The general challenge for me with email and social media is my ability to manage it from a time and attention standpoint. There are just too many channels. Perhaps if I was on Gmail and Buzz was functioning as more of an aggregator there might be more appeal, but right now I’m not feeling it. Not to mention the fact that FB, the 800lb gorilla, is still unaddressed. A simple substitute will not get folks to switch from FB. there is going to have to be a really compelling, easy to communicate benefit, and I don’t think Buzz has delivered that.

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