So Google went and did it – it integrated a whole mess of social and local features into Gmail, wrapping the whole thing into a product burrito it calls Buzz (Yahoo has got to be fuming, if it has any more fumes left, that is).
The first-day response is somewhat positive – mainly due to the huge installed base that Gmail brings to the party.
However, I am not so certain this is going to work. And my reasons remain the same:
1. Buzz does not let you publish out from Gmail to Twitter or Facebook. So for this to compete, you have to build yet another network of followers/friends – and do it through Google services. Not many of us use Google services for social purposes. That’s a mismatch.
2. Related, but worth repeating: Buzz does not let you do pretty much anything at all with Facebook. Buzz tries to find your friends and connections through algorithms that watch what you do on Google services, then lets you add more, but through the lens of Gmail. There are two things wrong with this: Algorithms, and email. Facebook didn’t depend on either to create its initial value. Instead, it let humans pick other humans, which honestly, is what social is all about at its core.
(The images are from streaming coverage of the Buzz event from Cnet.)
The reality is, Facebook has won the social graph war. Google taking on Facebook for the social graph is akin to Facebook taking on google in web search. IE, silly. Google should incorporate Facebook Connect into Gmail/Buzz asap, and then build on top of it with its powerful services and algorithms. THAT would be a win.
In fact, one very well informed source of mine inside the non-Google socialsphere (IE, one of the major competitors) tells me he thinks Buzz will in fact play out, over the coming months, as *good* for his and other similar companies.
Well, time will tell. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of stuff worthy of your attention this Weds. morning (and I’ll include some tasty stuff about Buzz as well):
Introducing Google Buzz (Official Google Blog)
With Buzz, Google Plunges Into Social Networking (NYT) Plunges in? Well, for the fourth or fifth try…
Google Buzz? MSFT, Yahoo Say ‘Been There, Done That’ (SEL) Yep. And they failed.
Google Buzz re-invents Gmail (Tim O’Reilly) Tim is a big fan. This is meaningful to me, as he’s my partner on Web 2.
Twitter: Now more than 1 billion tweets per month (Royal Pingdom) Twitter continues to grow in usage.
FM Audience Takes Off – Now #4 in Conversational Media (FM) We’re behind just three others – Facebook, Myspace and Blogger. Look, I get to promote FM on my site to a certain extent. And I am very proud of the company’s growth and financial performance. OK, enough said.
Social Media Top Online Priority in 2010 (Marketing Profs) Yep. This is one of the reasons FM is so well positioned.
A Touch of Romance (Adverblog) I may well do this for my valentine – create your own romance novel cover.
The Man Who Looked Into Facebook’s Soul (RWW) I am a very big fan of academic research based on large social data sets.
Management Secrets Of Grateful Dead (The Atlantic) Are you kidding me? Finally, they get their due.