Google Buzz is a Twitter/Facebook type of sharing service in Gmail. You can communicate and share items of interest with your Gmail contacts and others you meet on Buzz. Conceptually, Buzz works very much like Facebook.
Buzz came out of nowhere on February 9th. No one, I mean NO ONE, saw Buzz coming. Google kept it totally under wraps until the day it was announced. None of the pundits or publications ever spoke of Buzz. This is certainly a tribute to Google’s ability to keep the wraps on their secret projects.
I believe it’s accurate to say that Buzz has the potential to facilitate communication in a way that’s nothing short of revolutionary. Why? Because it’s so tightly integrated with Gmail. Your Buzz updates go into your sent mail and buzzes you comment on are sent to your inbox. You can easily create filters to keep them out of the inbox, that’s your call. This tight integration provides a new type of email experience that you simply won’t find with other email services. Yes, Buzz is still a little rough around the edges and probably isn’t quite ready for mass adoption. I think it’s safe to say that Buzz is more for geeks like me at this early stage of the game.
Gmail Integration: Asset or Liability?
I also understand that most of you who are still hanging on to your Hotmail or Yahoo accounts are not likely not move to Buzz right away. I know how difficult it is for most people to embrace change like this, especially if the tools you’re using now work well for you. Heck, many of you are just now starting to use Facebook regularly and it’s been around a few years.
While I believe it’s awesome in terms of current and future product features for Buzz to be part of Gmail, I understand that this integration could also be a liability when you consider how many people are using other email services. My guess is that Google will offer Buzz as a standalone application for all you Hotmail and Yahoo mail users. This would be an application similar to Facebook that would not require you to be a Gmail user to post updates with Buzz. Undoubtedly you’ll need a Google account though, much the same as you must now sign-up with Facebook.
Perhaps once you start using Buzz you’ll find some good reasons to migrate to Gmail in order to enjoy the benefits of having full integration with your email service.
More About Buzz
Rather than rehashing what dozens of respected journalists and pundits have been saying about Buzz over the past week, I thought I’d highlight some of what I consider to be among the best writings to date about what Buzz is and what it might mean for you. If you want to learn more, give them a read.
What is Buzz?
Getting started with Buzz
Google Buzz in Gmail from the official Gmail blog
Google Buzz Brings Social Sharing, Aggregation to Gmail by Louis Gray
Most Popular Buzzers
Tips for Using Buzz
Millions of Buzz users, and improvements based on your feedback from the official Gmail blog
12 Undocumented Tricks for Google Buzz from aext.net
Google Buzz Tips from Google Operating System
Buzz News, Discussion, Criticism and Response from Google
Buzz on Mashable
Dèjá Google from Slate
A new Buzz startup experience based on your feedback from the official Gmail blog
Google Message Feature Moves Beyond Twitter from the NY Times
There are many more articles and discussions about Buzz. Watch my Buzz feed where I’ll be posting links to these and other resources to help keep you up to date what’s going on with Buzz.
Finally, turn Buzz off if it’s not for you.
If after reading about Buzz and playing with it some, you may decide that it’s just not for you. Or you may just decide that you have too much on your plate at this time to mess around with another social networking tool. Heck, some days it seems that just keeping up with your Facebook friends can be overwhelming. I understand. If you’re a Gmail user you can easily turn off Buzz. If you use Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, you can just ignore Buzz.
If you do ignore Buzz, promise me that you’ll take another look at Buzz in about 6 months. You’ll see a lot of changes by then and I believe, just like Facebook, Buzz it will become a resource you won’t want to be without. I have a feeling that you’ll eventually be won over to this versatile and promising technology. Google is going to give you lots of reasons to love it. I predict that eventually you’ll be Buzzing too.