February 9th, 2010

Google has unveiled its newest product called Google Buzz. It’s a social connect application built right into Gmail. So far, it has created tremendous ‘buzz’ across the Internet with its potential in the world of social media, interaction and sharing potential. Let’s run through some of the more interesting features of Buzz.

Auto Following:
Once you Buzz is initialized in your Gmail account, it will identify those in your address book who you regularly correspond with and add them to your Buzz line up of contacts. This saves you the daunting step of having to add contacts right at the beginning.

Private and Public Sharing:

This is an exciting feature to be sure. No, you no longer have to have your whole profile set to private to ensure the privacy of your updates and links. You can customize your sharing privacy for each update and link that you share on your Google Profile.

Twitter/Picassa/Google Reader Integration:

At the moment you can share (one-way share) all your Twitter posts, Picassa pictures, video and Reader links through your Google Buzz account. So far, these are some of the only sites you can share through Buzz, however, Google has informed us that they will continue to open up the platform in the future to offer more integration across multiple platforms through API and Facebook Connect. However, that future is still uncertain.

Recommendations:
In Buzz, if you are not part of the conversation, Google will recommend it to you. With a click of a button, Buzz will allow you to enter in discussions that you maybe interested in.

Mobile App:
Don’t stop at just Gmail. Buzz will be available in a Mobile App for Android and iPhone users. You’ll be able to keep track of your status, updates, conversations while on the go. Also, you will able to geotag yourself in specific places nearby and offer up comments about your location. (Sound familiar Foursquare?)

These are just some of the exciting aspects of Google Buzz. The roll out to users begun at 1pm on Feb 9th, to the first round of journalists and media gurus. The full rollout will begin shortly and extend for a few days. There is no sign-up, it will simply be in your Gmail Inbox as a present one magical morning.

I’m curious to see the impact Buzz has on social media. Specifically, the impact it has on link sharing, privatization versus public updates, platform integration and user adaptation. The last big rollout of Google’s was Wave and Wave didn’t measure up to the hype it promised. Filled with bugs, slow speeds and lack of adoption from users, Wave sunk. Let’s see if Google Buzz lives up to the Buzz.

Do you have Buzz? Have you started using it? If you don’t, what are you excited about?