Google may have their sticky fingers in just about every online pie, but there’s one area where their influence has resolutely failed to have any impact: social networking.
They may own Orkut and OpenSocial, but they’re barely a molehill on the social networking horizon compared to the big boys like Facebook or Twitter, so Google have devised a cunning plan.
Step forward and say hello to Google Buzz, the search engine’s most determined effort to elbow their way into the social networking space.
Imagine, if you will, great slabs of Twitter, Yammer, Foursquare, Yelp and other social services filtered and funnelled into a FriendFeed style feed and then wrapped up inside Gmail and you’ll be on your way to getting a grip on what Google Buzz is all about.
And if all that makes no sense, here’s two handy Google videos to explain it all:
Google Blog post:
We’ve blogged before about our thoughts on the social web, steps we’ve taken to add social features to our products, and efforts like OpenSocial that propose common tools for building social apps. With more and more communication happening online, the social web has exploded as the primary way to share interesting stuff, tell the world what you’re up to in real-time and stay more connected to more people. In today’s world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it’s increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations.
Our belief is that organizing the social information on the web — finding relevance in the noise — has become a large-scale challenge, one that Google’s experience in organizing information can help solve. We’ve recently launched innovations like real-time search and Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step with the introduction of a new product, Google Buzz.
Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting. It’s built right into Gmail, so you don’t have to peck out an entirely new set of friends from scratch — it just works. If you think about it, there’s always been a big social network underlying Gmail. Buzz brings this network to the surface by automatically setting you up to follow the people you email and chat with the most. We focused on building an easy-to-use sharing experience that richly integrates photos, videos and links, and makes it easy to share publicly or privately (so you don’t have to use different tools to share with different audiences). Plus, Buzz integrates tightly with your existing Gmail inbox, so you’re sure to see the stuff that matters most as it happens in real time.
We’re rolling out Buzz to all Gmail accounts over the next few days, so if you don’t see it in your account yet, check back soon. We also plan to make Google Buzz available to businesses and schools using Google Apps, with added features for sharing within organizations.
On your phone, Google Buzz is much more than just a small screen version of the desktop experience. Mobile devices add an important component to sharing: location. Posts tagged with geographical information have an extra dimension of context — the answer to the question “where were you when you shared this?” can communicate so much. And when viewed in aggregate, the posts about a particular location can paint an extremely rich picture of that place. Check out the Mobile Blog for more info about all of the ways to use Buzz on your phone, from a new mobile web app to a Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile.
We’ve relied on other services’ openness in order to build Buzz (you can connect Flickr and Twitter from Buzz in Gmail), and Buzz itself is not designed to be a closed system. Our goal is to make Buzz a fully open and distributed platform for conversations. We’re building on a suite of open protocols to create a complete read/write developer API, and we invite developers to join us on Google Code to see what is available today and to learn more about how to participate.
We really hope you enjoy the experiences we’ve built within Gmail and for mobile phones. If you want to learn more, visit buzz.google.com. We look forward to continuing to evolve and improve Google Buzz based on your feedback.