What would it take for Google's new Buzz to succeed?
Google’s foray into social networking, the oddly titled site Orkut, actually came out a month before Facebook’s official launch in 2004. So why is Google still so far behind?
That question is probably what spurred the development of Buzz, Google’s latest effort to connect its users.
Buzz, which is basically an add-on to the already-brilliant Gmail, allows for personal profiles, where you can post URLs, photos, observations or Tweets, and links to other webpages like Flickr and, naturally, Orkut. Your Gmail contacts can comment on whatever you post to your profile.
Buzz has its positives, but also, as is echoing around the Internet lately, its negatives.
For instance, you can link your Twitter account to Buzz and cross post – ie, send a Tweet on Twitter and it will appear on your Buzz page – but comments only live on Buzz. A clumsy attempt to move the conversation to Buzz.
There’s also only half measures to integrate Google Talk, Gmail’s great instant messaging. How can you have a conversation using Gchat on Buzz? I’m confused just thinking about it.
While Facebook and Twitter were avenues to broadcast friend-to-friend, Google outfitted itself as a resource. The flow of information usually went from source-to-user.
But Orkut, named after the Turkish developer who came up with it, Orkut Büyükkökten, is not the failure it’s made out to be. It has amassed 100 million active accounts, mostly in Brazil and India but also in burgeoning markets like Estonia.
It integrates Google Talk, and uses more playful connect features like crush lists. It’s no Facebook, but it’s not so bad.
Buzz is similar. It has its pitfalls but overall is a neat tool that enhances Gmail. (It’s got a great mobile site too.)