Google Buzz is Google’s new social networking tool which was launched on the 9th of February, 2010. It is a service that is based on Google’s email service: Gmail, and automatically integrates Gmail users into its social networking service. According to Google, the Google Buzz service can be used to post status messages and comments, and share links to photos and videos. The Buzz launch however, was met with a lot of criticism from Gmail users and internet-privacy protection groups who claimed that Google violated privacy policies and laws in creating Google Buzz.
So, should you use Google Buzz, the newest social networking service available or should you not? The following are a list of pros and cons that should help you make up your mind.
The Advantages of Using Google Buzz
1. Automatic Creation of Friend Lists: All the work has been done for you already. Google Buzz automatically adds the people to whom you have emailed recently to your friend list(s). This helps as you do not have to have to search all over the service to find friends whom you want to have conversations with.
2. Private and Public Social Networking: The posts on Google Buzz could be made private or public as one chooses. Subsequently, a Buzz user can choose to create comments that would be visible only to family and friends, or business acquaintances, and so on.
3. Improved Social Network Sharing: Google Buzz integrates Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, Blogger and Google Reader. These services with their different capabilities such as picture, video, document sharing and micro-blogging accentuate the Buzz experience. They also make file sharing faster. Updates from these other services can also be imported into Google Buzz.
4. Intelligent Social Networking: The Google Buzz service promises to learn the user’s likes and dislikes and improve on the conversations on its social networking service. This it intends to do by using algorithms to filter conversations and only show the best ones e.g. the ones with the most comment activity. Google Buzz means to help the user on its social network sort out interesting networking activity from the entire jumble of posts.
5. Google Buzz on Mobile: Buzz supports a good number of mobile phone platforms which include Symbian 60, Android, iPhone/iTouch, Windows Mobile and Openwave. When accessed from a mobile device, Buzz tags posts with the current location of the user. There is an integrated Google Maps feature on Google Buzz for mobiles, so that users can see the other users around them and what they are saying. It also supports voice recognition for mobiles.
6. Comments and Email Updates in Real Time: Google Buzz intends to keep you constantly up-to-date on all comments and status posts and thus, the user will receive emails alerting him/her once a comment is posted. These emails will contain all the comments and links associated with the Buzz to which the update has been made.
The Disadvantages of Using Google Buzz
1. Complexity: Google Buzz has been compared to Twitter but Twitter has been largely successful because of its simplicity. Buzz has a lot of features which might make it harder for the casual social networker to use. One of these features is the option to create private or public buzzes. Such an option, whilst it is well intended can create a lot of confusion for some people.
2. List Creation and Auto-Suggest Feature Errors: Google Buzz wants to automatically create friend lists from people whom you have recently emailed from your Gmail account. This creates a problem as your boss or a business partner whom you have just emailed may not be your friend. The auto-suggest feature also tends to work in the same way.
3. Lack of Privacy: Buzz auto-recommends people on your network to other Buzz users on your network. It also displays the names of the other users with whom you have been conversing on your public profile. This can result in the sharing of information that the Google Buzz user has not intended. The Buzz feature on mobile phones that results in the tagging of buzzes with the user’s location can cause a user to reveal a location that he/she is not supposed to.
4. Lack of Opt-in Option: Google Buzz automatically adds all Gmail users as Google Buzz users whether or not they wish to participate in the social networking service.
5. One More Social Networking Service: Google Buzz has been criticized as just another addition – without any spectacular or differentiating features – to an already saturated field of social networking which includes the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Orkut, MySpace, and so on.