Google built an empire with a simple approach– make innovations to existing ideas and offer the best user-friendly product on the market.Â The formula worked with online search as it did with Googleâ€™s email service Gmail.Â Follow-up launches of Gchat and Gchat video were logical progressions that integrated seamlessly with the Gmail platform and quickly became a part of our day to day interactions.Â Googleâ€™s latest launch of Google Buzz pushes one step further by trying to enter the social networking space.Â And if Googleâ€™s Buzz Press Conference is any indication, the company has been quietly planning to enter that space via Gmail all along.
Despite some problems out the starting gate, Google Buzz may be an attempt to jump on the microblogging bandwagon. But GoogleBuzz features several innovations that improve the Twitter platform it appropriates. Users can create custom groups with updates viewable only to family, coworkers, or relevant friends. “Recommended Buzz,” is a smart tool that magically sorts your friends updates by relevance.Â The mobile version of Buzz even allows you to post your location based on GPS.
My guess is Facebook and Twitter will happily incorporate these innovations within the year.Â The real question though is whether people will switch over from Facebook or Twitter and use Buzz as a primary social hub.Â One friend of mine posted an update to Buzz on the day of its launch that sums of people’s predicament perfectly: “Do I have to use this too?”
While Gmail features like Gchat and Gchat Video quickly stole market share for AOL Instant Messenger and Skype, Buzz’s fate seems less clearly destined for success. The problem users face which Google recognized but doesn’t quite solve is that it is a pain to manage several social networking accounts – Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace to name a few- which all have overlapping functions like status updates.Â You want to reach all your friends on different platforms, but you want to do it easily.
One can feed Twitter updates into buzz and similar linking features exist on Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter but there are problems with these features.Â They often don’t work for one, and there are also formatting issues: for example Twitter does not allow posts beyond 150 characters while other platforms do.
If Google, can create a portal where users can view and login to their various social networks in one place that will be the innovation users really want to see.