As I talked about a couple weeks ago, Google has been making some moves that could greatly increase Google Buzz’s shot at more widespread adoption. This includes the addition of some features, and perhaps more importantly, the release of the Buzz API (announced at Google I/O).
Recent feature additions include a reshare button (basically the Buzz version of the retweet), the release of an XHTML version of Buzz (which can be accessed from many mobile devices like those running Android pre-2.0, BlackBerry, Nokia S60, and Windows Mobile), greater email integration, and the official Buzz Buttons (which can go a long way for the strategic branding of Buzz across content sites all over the web).
Do you think Google is improving Buzz? Tell us what you think.
The API should lead to a much richer ecosystem around Buzz, with third-party apps finding new ways for users to get involved with the service – much like third-party apps have done for Twitter.
Famous tech blogger Robert Scoble appears to think Buzz may be ready for a comeback (it did release to much hype, but that has since fizzled out for the most part). He wrote an interesting post highlighting 9 reasons why such a comeback could be possible. Among these are superior mobile features (compared to other social networks), the addition of features in general (he says its getting "close to matching FriendFeed", a service Facebook found significant enough to acquire itself), a good search tool, and possible SEO opportunities to name a few.
He also lists some "significant negatives", which include a lack of noise control, lists, clients, and brands. Read his entire analysis here.
Google’s own Matt Cutts weighed in as well, saying, "Do you remember when you first started on Twitter, and you didn’t know quite what to do with it? Who do I follow? What do I say? I didn’t really "get" Twitter for months. But as I found interesting people to follow and got the hang of it, I began to see the appeal of Twitter and started using it more often. I’ve noticed Buzz is tracing that same trajectory for me: an initial burst, followed by a bit of a slump, and then a steady climb as I found people that make Buzz interesting."
Again the API could go a long way in this regard for a lot of people. Scoble’s point about brands is a very strong one though. I would include celebrities in that category. Remember stars like Oprah and Ashton Kutcher did for Twitter? You just don’t hear that with Buzz.
Gmail might be considered both an advantage and a disadvantage for Buzz. Being a feature of Gmail, it automatically gets in front of Gmail users (though certainly not all actually use it). At the same time, Buzz being a feature of Gmail may be keeping others away from it. Scoble notes that it’s not available as a service that’s separate from Gmail and that it’s "a real bummer."
Buzz just may find its niche in the social web though, if it hasn’t already. It was never presented as a replacement for Twitter or Facebook (at least by Google). In fact, the company has tried hard to distance Buzz from such services, and has repeatedly referred to Buzz as simply a node, and a node that promotes an open web at that.
Some are probably still turned off by the initial privacy fiasco that Buzz launched with, but as Facebook continues to show, privacy concerns don’t necessarily impede growth.
Do you think Buzz has a bright future? Share your thoughts.