Lifestyle

Is Google Buzz the new Twitter?

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Photo from xioubin low via Flickr.

Photo from xioubin low via Flickr.

As if Gmail, Gchat, Google Maps, and Google Wave aren’t enough, Google has recently launched yet another addition to their website services called Google Buzz. Introduced on February 9, 2010, Google Buzz is Google’s second attempt at initiating a new social network website that is hopefully capable of competing with top players such as Facebook and Twitter.

Google Buzz, also known simply as ‘Buzz,’ is a service directly integrated with the Gmail inbox with access also offered via the iPhone and Android. With Buzz, users can post status updates, comments, pictures, and videos just like they do on Facebook. Users can also choose whether to make their posts private or public; private posts are only visible to a selected group, whereas public posts are open and available to search engines. Like Twitter, users ‘follow’ each other, and like Facebook, they are able to ‘like’ one another’s posts and pictures.

Photo from Todd Barnard via Flickr.

Photo from Todd Barnard via Flickr.

When a person posts content from a mobile phone, the exact location of the person is also linked with the update, and this information shows up on followers’ content stream. With Google Maps, you can see what people are saying in your neighborhood, and location posts can also be imported to Google Places, a collective service that gives reviews of different restaurant and theaters in any certain area, much like Yelp. Updates, or buzzes, can also share content from Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Picassa, and Google Reader.

Photo from David Berkowitz via Flickr.

Photo from David Berkowitz via Flickr.

Google Buzz seems like it may be an overwhelming attempt to be a one-stop hub for all other social media sites to connect together. Critics have brought Buzz’s inadequate privacy policies into the spotlight, and issues concerning the accessibility of personal email addresses and contacts have perturbed users and private policy officials.

Buzz automatically links your email contacts list and suggests these people as ones you should follow, whereas Facebook gives the alternative option of choosing whether or not you would like to import contacts from a certain address book and add them as friends. Google has apologized for potentially revealing their users’ private information, and they have promised to adjust their features to better accommodate their users’ preferences.

Is Google Buzz a genius innovation that can potentially blow Facebook and Twitter out of the waters? Or is this bound to be another failed attempt of anyone trying to delve into the social network aristocracy? Only time will tell.

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