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Will Google Buzz Change the Social Media Game?

Google Buzz Implications for Search, Business, and Communication

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Update 2: Buzz has gotten off to a great start in terms of attracting users. Google said in a blog post yesterday that over 9 million posts and comments had been created, and they were seeing over 200 posts per minute. Both numbers have likely grown since then.

In the post, Google addresses some of the privacy concerns people have been having, and improvements they’re making based on user feedback.

Update: Google has uploaded the entire Google Buzz launch event. If you are interested in seeing the new product unveiled, you can watch it below:


Article starts:
 Google held a press event to announce the most "buzzed" topic of the week - Google Buzz. This is Google’s new product, which is being compared to social networks like Twitter and Facebook. It is integrated with Gmail and other Google products, and appears to be one of the missing links in tying Google together as a social network, a concept we’ve discussed repatedly.

Do you think Google could make an impact on social media with this release? Share your thoughts.

Editor’s Note: The bulk of this article was written before the announcement was made and has been adjusted to reflect the announcement itself, after liveblogging the press event.

 

Google says Buzz has five key elements:

1. Auto Following
2. Rich, Fast Sharing experience…
3. Support for public and private sharing….
4. In-box integration
5. Just the good stuff…

Watch the video below to get a general idea of what Buzz does.

Buzz will show a thumbnail of a YouTube video and make it easy to play in line. With photos, they will show thumbnails, but Google built a custom photo viewer, which lets you flip through pictures and see them "big and fast". If you share links, it will automatically fetch headlines and photos from the post (similar to Facebook). You can "like" and "unlike" stuff, and expand comments. It works with keyword shortcuts from Gmail.

Public/Private sharing – The post box will let you post updates publicly or privately. If it’s public, it will go to your Google profile, and is indexed by Google’s real-time search. You can share privately, and it will let you send to groups and custom groups.

In your in-box, you will see buzz notifications that contain real-time comments. It sits in the same in-box as your regular email, but you can move between your regular in-box and your Buzz stuff. It integrates it right into Gmail.You can also use "@" for replies like with Twitter.

While Google Buzz is presented as a Gmail feature, it goes well beyond Gmail. For one, all public updates you post will be posted to your Google profile page, (which is searchable). In addition, Google launched three new mobile products for Buzz:

1. The ability to use Buzz from www.Google.com on iPhone/Android
2. Brand new app at buzz.google.com
3.  Maps Update for Nokia Symbian/ Android.

Mobile could be one of the biggest keys to the success of this product. Google says Google.com is the world’s most popular mobile home page, and Buzz can be accessed from there on iPhone and Android devices. Android’s popularity is growing quickly too.

Buzz will find your location (if you let it) and snap your updates to that location. With the Google Maps feature, you can see what people are saying based on location. You can even use voice recognition to post buzz updates by voice.

Do you see yourself using Google Buzz from your mobile device? Let us know.

Search Implications

Buzz posts get indexed by search from the page that its posted to (the Google Profile page), just like anything else on the web. Google says they don’t do anything special to promote it in SERPs.

Google didn’t really talk about social search with regards to Buzz, but it would not be surprising to see Buzz updates integrated these into social search, which recently became part of the web search norm. Your Gmail contacts are the first people listed in your "social circle" that Google draws from for these results.

If Buzz content appears in both real-time search results and social search results, that’s two good-sized chunks of SERP real-estate. Not all SERPs have both or either, but it opens some additional search marketing doors. The feature would also open up more reputation management issues,  as simply an additional place to monitor, not to mention other ways businesses are currently using services like Facebook and Twitter for marketing.

Do you think Google Buzz will be important to search marketing? Tell us what you think.

How Else Could Google Buzz Be Used for Business?

Buzz may benefit businesses as an orgnizational tool. The first thing that comes to mind is the expansion of communication with existing contacts. When you’re frequently seeing what your Gmail contacts are saying, it will not only keep those people fresh in your mind, but it can cultivate further communication.

The feature could possibly lend to better organization of your communication, which could in turn save time. Again, depending on how many of the possibilities (if any) mentioned in this article actually come to fruition, it could become a central place for that communication. The more services Buzz gets integrated with, the better it could become for organization.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin says he wrote an op-ed piece, posted it to Google Buzz, and quickly had 50 comments, and edited based on feedback. He finds it efficient as an editing tool.

Competition

Before it even launched, a lot of people suggested that Google’s product could never compete with Facebook and Twitter, but I was not and am still not so quick to rule out the possibility. No, it’s not likely to come out and kill those two, but that’s not to say that it can’t co-exist, and gain popularity of its own, if Google makes the right moves in integrating it with its other products. It’s already off to a good start on that (especially with the Google mobile home page).

How well the product can compete is directly related to what possibilities Google explores. Even if a lot of options aren’t explored immediately, that’s not to say they won’t be slowly. Google has a way of adding a feature here, and adding a feature there to its different products. Before you know it, things are more connected than you may have realized.

It’s not all bout Gmail. According to comScore, Gmail had 176 million unique visitors in December, but how many people have actual GOOGLE accounts? You don’t have to be a Gmail user to have one, and Google is increasingly finding more ways to draw people in through various products.

Facebook is supposedly working on its own email product, which could directly compete with Gmail. Between that and Google Buzz, the competition might be heating up between the two companies more than ever, but it still doesn’t mean they can’t co-exist. Will it even matter as more third-party apps begin supporting everything? It’s very possible that these updates will be portable among all of these different services anyway, and they could even support each other in the future. Facebook has had no problem with posting updates to Twitter. Last year, Google actually made a big deal about its initiative to make user data as portable as possible. They formed the Data Liberation Front to "make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products."

More Possibilities for Google Buzz

Google says it wants Buzz to be as open as possible. That means there is plenty of room to grow and increase integration with different services. The company says it will be wired up to other parts of Google and other parts of the Internet. Facebook Connect integration is "something they’ll think about", but it’s not happening yet. Google says it will bring Twitter content in, but will not yet let you push it out to Twitter…yett. That could change in time. Think about being able to do all of your social media and email communication from one place. That is something Mozilla is trying to develop with its in-progress Raindrop project. What if Google was able to do it with an established product like Gmail? Google says theyr’e "just getting started" with Buzz. 

I think it’s safe to expect Buzz integration with a lot of other Google features. Google has already said that it places Wave as "high on the list of things they can do" as far as integration.

Google could potentially integrate the feature with any product it chooses (and it has a lot to choose from). What if it became available with the click of a button on the Chrome browser (which is gaining popularity)? It’s already integrated with Google Reader. What about Google Docs? Wave? There could be a Google gadget, for users’ iGoogle home pages. There are a lot of ways tha Google could potentially get people using Buzz. Google says Buzz will be launched as an enterprise product eventually as well.

On a sidenote, it’s pretty interesting that Google and Yahoo both now have products called "Buzz."

Do you see the potential for Google Buzz to be successful? Would you use it? Please share your opinions.
 

Related Articles:

Is Google Launching a Competitor for Facebook/Twitter?

Is Google Bad at Social Media or Really, Really Good at it?

Is Gmail Google’s Real Social Network?

Will Google Buzz Change the Social Media Game?
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  • http://onevacationclub.com Mike Andrews

    for one will be signing up. I am sure that like everything else Google do there will be a lot of wieght behind Buzz. Our company will definately be looking at this as a new social media channel where we can become an early adopter.

  • http://www.neighborhooddealers.com Dr. Harold Elam Jr

    I have been searching for the perfect multi-channel customer relations connection….one that would allow me the best opportunity to manage, track and connect with current customers and potential customers…since The Social media Platform is so vast from Facebook, twitter, blogs and forums…it has become almost virtually impossible to stay updated and connected. Google has helped me in so many ways from analytics to home-made SEO & SEM through their own total connection process…that anything else they would create should set the social media world on fire. I have become an icon in my field of Social Media Management, and I think through Google I can help take the automotive industry into another realm of digital marketing management

  • http://www.altmktg.com Russ Alman

    Whether Buzz is Google’s contribution to the social media playing field, or it is a first step in an ongoing social media strategy, I think Google’s entry into social media is inevitable. Google is in the business of collecting and categorizing information so they can sell targeted advertising — it’s only logical that they would want to create a social network that would allow them to collect even more specific demographics for their advertisers.

    (As a social marketing professional and web developer, I mean this as a neutral comment.)

    I have been impressed with the ability to target a specific audience with PPC advertising on Facebook, and I’m sure Google has been paying attention. Imagine having this type of demographic information married with tracking of browsing habits, and I think most internet marketers would agree the ability to target a specific audience will greatly increase.

    Russ Alman
    CEO, Alternative Marketing Connections

  • http://www.naza.com Naza

    Just a piece of information for you all. Google’s Orkut has been VERY successful in Brazil. About everybody that you ask says that they have an Orkut account. It is huge and I don’t believe that Facebook or Tweeter are an threat to Orkut in Brazil. Actually, the country has one of the largest amount of Internet users in the World.

  • http://www.nevasaneva.com nevasaneva

    That’s what they said about the the Wright Bros. and Ford Bros. Now! look history is repeating itself – technology… a means of modern survival through social media networking is inevitable , because ot he great distance between civilizations and culture. We need to feel we are part of the whole universe. We NevaSaNeva…that’s why we ‘Ami ‘Ami In Da End Zone.

    New Orleans Saints – NevaSaNeva… integrated Google Buzz – One Mo’ Betta. There is a reason
    for dying and living. There is a purpose for living; and that’s experiencing life to the fullest in anyway you can on earth – later in Heaven or Hell. I don’t believe in Heaven and Hell. But, I do believe in using the tools of technology to survive in this world. So, they say a competitive one at that. Talent and skill; everyone has it; but not everyone develops their talent continuously through learning in what manner; you feel is honest, interesting, and energy to the soul; that’s what matters.

    “Never Say Never” To The NevaSaNeva Man – Who Dat!

  • http://www.larrystrait.ws Larry Strait

    I predict that google may pick up some of the market but like thier mail service and instant messaging, they will make it to hard for the common person to use, sure all the marketers will jump in hoping it is the next greatest thing. Knowing google, they will try to take over and tell everybody what they can and can not do…….I’ll leave it at that.

  • http://www.thetattoooutlet.com Jim Morecraft

    You can almost lay money on just about anything that Google does will become a hit. Most of the marketers realize who to follow and will. It may take some time for Google to compete with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and the others but I do honestly beleive it will so you might just want to get in on the ground floor.

  • http://www.auctionstartup.com Jim Cochrane

    Google is the internet. They will make this work some how or another. Let’s face it. They’ll be able to tie advertising (they do that, don’t they?) into the social network. Google may have temporarily missed the boat with Social Networks but when they come, they’ll be the giant that has been awoken!

  • http://affiliatewebsitereview.com Rick Samara

    This has to be a wait-and-see! I was particularly intriqued by your comments on the Buzz’s potential ability to organize business functions and how it might be integrated into SERPs. In their untiring effort to best service the Internet community, this launch is welcomed.

    Google claims to want to connect all of their products through a ‘live’ interface, and apparently they are considering integration with Twitter and Facebook as well.

    We’ll see what we see!

    Rick Samara

  • http://www.gjtutorial.com/ Sarbjit Singh

    Yahoo Mail also launched a similar feature a few months ago.

    I think it makes a lot of sense for Google to start something like this. It is a lot more easy to check social media status updates while you are checking you mail where you are logged in most of the time.

    I will wait for Buzz integration with GApps.

  • Guest

    GO Google….!!!! I love it! And it’s about time!

  • http://www.reynoldsart.net Clive Reynolds

    Go Google, where do I sign!
    Would be nice also to see you approach Zynga and some of the game producers for Farmville and Fishville etc, so we can fully leave Facebook and come to you, especially after the major negative impact the new Facebook face-lift has caused.
    Also the ability to upload and share music in some way which Facebook doesn’t allow would be great.

    We know you will do a great job…

  • http://montazne-hise-on.net/ Monta

    In short yes,it will provide more options to get involved in social networking. I just love it and mobile or home users will too. It’s a pity that you can’t integrate it with FaceBook but you can still do so through Twitter

  • http://www.carstuffoutlet.com/ car stuff outlet

    This sounds great i will give it a try starting today ,,keep up the great work

  • http://www.cheap-lawyers.us/ Chuck Miser

    I really like the idea that I don’t have to sign in every time I want to update. Facebook is like commercial TV, big time waster and 120 spaces and having to use tinyurl’s, really lets get serious. I was posting to a blog and saw the buzz on my gmail uhhhh easy decision, Buzzed!

  • http://www.littleblackmask.com Jessi Miller

    No, I do not think Google Buzz will be changing the face of social media. I think it is an added benefit to gmail users and it is something that Yahoo has been doing for years.

    A little more on my reaction is here – http://bit.ly/9wGMLq

  • http://www.charleslau.com Charles Lau

    Over the years, I have seen one social media website down because of the other…

    It’s just a matter of time that Google shall take over the Twitter of the world and also Facebook status sharing!

  • Guest

    Yahoo already has a service called buzz: http://buzz.yahoo.com/ (which is sorta like digg). Google, however, has that Midas touch. So their buzz will probably buzz much louder.

  • http://www.ldii-sidoarjo.org ldii

    I’ve just registered to Google buzz yesterday. Let see the impact next time. Will it overcome others social network had been existing now. By the way, I’ve never accept traffic from social media so far.