Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Google Buzz: Because We Needed Another Twitter-Facebook-Whatever Thing

1444417344-GoogleBuzzLogo68 Google has begun rolling out a new service called Buzz to the masses. I got it this morning, but maybe you’ve gotten it before now, or you won’t get it for the next few days. What is certain is that this service is going to be offered systematically to Gmail’s more than 146 million users, and if my friends and correspondents are any indication, most people are going to shrug their shoulders and say what the hell, why not?

What I saw (and what you’ll see if you watch the embedded video below) is basically a Google-flavored Facebook-meets-Twitter social networking mashup. As with Facebook, your pithy thoughts and deeds and status messages are posted up for all to see, and photo and link-sharing and commenting is present in abundance. See Google’s cheery corporate video:

The thing is, most of us already have one or more tools that allows us to do these things (see exhibits A and B), and some of us have been using them for years – we’re entrenched in them, we have our habits set and our desired friends amassed. In short, I can’t imagine Google Buzz’s target audience.

Google’s potential audience is huge, simply because the majority of Gmail users will probably turn Buzz on to see what the, ahem, buzz is about. But its workmanlike interface and can’t-I-already-do-this-somewhere-else feature list don’t give me hope that it will catch on with folks who already use Facebook and/or Twitter, or persuade the people who don’t already have accounts set up on a pre-existing service.

Consider me underwhelmed.