|What's all the Buzz about?|
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 12:43
If you're a Gmail user you may have noticed, upon login this morning, that Google has a new thing called Buzz.
The company calls it a "Google approach to sharing" and says it will be a reinvention of social networking, allowing you to share status updates, photos, and videos right from your email account.
Unlike other companies which have been trying to catch the social networking wave by integrating with Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, Google aims to compete.
Here are the key features it claims separates it from all social networking competitors.
Blending with Gmail
Aside from the obvious convenience of doing email and social networking from the same place (a convenience Facebook only recently caught on to), you don't have to add new contacts to Buzz as you had to do with Wave. Your top 40 Gmail/Gtalk contacts are automatically added. Alerts for their updates will automatically come into your Gmail inbox.
Buzz is also integrated with Google Maps. If you're logged in any status updates near you will appear.
Finally a dislike button! Statuses that are less popular are ranked lower than popular ones, and ones from friends you usually like are ranked higher. If, based on this, Google thinks you may be interested in a particular conversation outside of your direct list of contacts, it may suggest it to you.
Each update you send has its own Privacy settings, allowing you to tailor completely who sees it. Now that's a welcome change.
Buzz can pull in media from Picasa, YouTube and Flickr; lets you share links (with attatched pictures); and lets you pull in your Twitter feed. You can't, however, update your Facebook or Twitter status from Buzz. Google wants to ensure you use its medium.
If you want to access Buzz from your mobile phone you can do it at buzz.google.com where you can update your status by voice and geotag posts. Only available on certain phones, however.
Buzz is going to be rolled out in stages, so if you haven't seen it yet not to worry. You will likely be offered the chance to use it in the next few days.
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