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Google Takes Aim At Facebook With ‘Buzz’

Google Takes Aim At Facebook With ‘Buzz’

By Chris Scott Barr

Over the last week or so, there has been some talk about Facebook launching a “Gmail killer” webmail feature. Various sites covered this and described how Facebook was looking to replace Gmail (and any other webmail client) with their new service. To be quite honest, I haven’t really cared, or given it a second thought until now. After all, since Facebook likes to half-ass things anyway (look at their new layout which has actually taken a step backwards by removing the option for a live feed, or their crappy instant messaging service), why would I want to rely on them for anything more than social networking? The only reason I’ve given it a second look is because of a new feature in Gmail called Buzz.

Feel free to watch the video above, as it’s going to point out some of the finer details of this new feature. Essentially what ‘Buzz’ does is allow you to post status updates, pictures, links and videos from within Gmail. Anyone who is on your friends list will see these updates on their Buzz wall. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s pretty much what Facebook boils down to. Sure, it has some nice features that you won’t find over on Facebook and appears to have the typical Google polish to it. Just don’t go removing your Facebook page right away, because Buzz is likely never going to replace it.


I’m typically a big fan of Google and most of the products that they develop, however this is one that I just don’t see going anywhere. There are two major points that will hold this back from becoming mainstream:

  1. Using Facebook does not require the person to switch their primary email address. Gmail will always be an email client first and a social networking platform second. Many people still cling to their old Hotmail and Yahoo addresses; if you try to offer them a social networking experience inside of another webmail provider, they will simply shrug it off and go back to Facebook.
  2. Farmville. Many people waste countless hours on this and other silly games inside of Facebook that are designed to do little more than kill time. (Brilliantly they also encourage you to harass your friends until they start playing as well, but that’s a conversation for a different day.) Google likes everything to be streamlined and efficient, which means these types of games will likely never be found inside of Gmail. Sadly, without these games no social networking service stands a chance against the mighty Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see Facebook get some competition. They have a lot of room for improvement and this might actually give them a reason to sweat. I just find it ironic that both companies have chosen to invade the other’s territory at almost the same time. It will be very interesting to watch this play out.

[ Google ]

  • mcman

    If I hadn't lost a bet I wouldn't be on Facebook or any other sheeple site. In other words, I could care less about buzz.

  • decembersun

    Seems like a fair competitor to facebook, but not really all that different.

  • Anthony Oliver

    Actually you don't need a separate e-mail address to use it. Google converted a while back to google accounts instead so you can login with any e-mail address. I use it for my work e-mail to share documents with co-workers. Don't forget google set itself up as an openID provider a while back too.

    As for the farmville comment, I think buzz will be better. I hate seeing those apps, or this person added this person as a friend. I think google will make things more relevant to us than facebook will. So instead of seeing people's stupid baby pictures, or their update about them eating lunch at taco bell I will get more things I care about reading like OhGizmo post. 😉

  • Grangoire

    “Takes Aim At Facebook”?!?
    It just replicates the mere BASIC functionality of Facebook's wall.

    Headline should read “Takes Aim At Facebook's WALL”

  • Aarti

    Hey… by last morning, when I opened the gmail, found this new functionality, I am very amazed with this. I had enlisted some of the options and many friends. This Buzz will rock. Gmail is always doing some new with all its dramatic changes. I love the way Big G introduced this functionality. lol

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  • Grangoire

    Issue with this is privacy. I've read that you're forced to disclose your name on your public (read Google searchable) profile if you use it.
    And that it will automatically change the privacy option on your profile to suit it's needs/wants without telling you outright that it will.

  • Grangoire

    Search in Google for your real first and last name now.
    All of your public buzz posts will be in search (even if you mark them as 'muted'), tagged with your real name.

    So now it's only one DB slip-up for Google to post your emails in a Buzz thread for the world to see. :-

  • Jessicat

    A lot of people hate the apps on facebook. I feel that there isn't a need for anymore networks. Bolt, friendster, xanga, myspace, and facebook. There are millions of others…

  • Jessicat

    A lot of people hate the apps on facebook. I feel that there isn't a need for anymore networks. Bolt, friendster, xanga, myspace, and facebook. There are millions of others…