In a world where we feel some odd compelling compulsion to update not only our friends, but often total and complete strangers about every minute detail of our daily life, Google decides to join in the fun by launching yet another way to do just that with Google Buzz. It seems as if we are almost in the midst a latter-day arms race with all of these different social networking platforms racing forward to reach the very same goals- be it offering email, short status updates, or pumping up geo-location tools. Google Buzz pushes these limits from a purely technology based stand point, but the real question is do we really need all of this? And not just need, but do we really want all of this as well?
One of the major problems with Google Buzz is that it works off of the Gmail platform. That may be very convenient for those of us that actually log into our Gmail account often, but I don’t know how many people out there really do that versus using a email program or using another email service provider all together. Unlike twitter and Facebook, limiting your user base to those who actively use Gmail seems like putting Buzz in a tiny bubble when compared to the likes of the competition.
Many people are not fond of geo-locating aspects of other social media providers. Not everyone wants the world to know what coffee house they are sitting in or where their kid’s get dropped off at school. The nice thing about Google Buzz is that you can decide with each message you send whether that message is public or private as well as whether you want your location listed with your post.
So if you feel the need to complain about your mother-in-law while sitting in her living room, you can now use your mobile device and send a rant via Google Base. If your mother-in-law knows your user information, you can simply mark that little blurb private so she can’t find it after the fact. And you can turn off your geo-locating function so that none of your friends take pity on you and egg her house on your behalf. See just how useful these tools can be?
The ability to turn off certain functions and features allows us to open our eyes a bit and consider just how much we want to really share about our personal lives with the world when we partake in social media, despite what the capabilities of the technology happen to offer.
The general consensus of those I know that have used Google Buzz is that Twitter, Four Square and Facebook can learn a few new tricks from Google Buzz. Once they catch on to these simple ideas they will continue to surpass Google Buzz, if for no other reason than the fact they are not limited in their user pool like Google Buzz is with Gmail.