Google Buzz – This is Google’s latest attempt to expand into another area of the web, whilst taking on Facebook at the same time! (www.google.com/buzz)

If you’ve read my previous post, you will see that I ended by saying that Google has had a tough time lately, with its problems in China over censorship, and Apple’s plans to drop Google on the iPhone and to replace it with Bing, but to watch this space as Google has lots of interesting plans, especially around Social Media. Well, this announcement has come a lot sooner than I’d expected, with Google Buzz launched last week!

Google has already attempted once to get into the Social Media market, with its launch of Orkut in 2004. But as this this didn’t take off as well as it’d hoped, Google has tried again in 2010 with their Google Buzz.

Good or Bad?
Google Buzz is a Social Networking area which links to your Gmail account. This has already thrown up some problems. A Gmail account – this is one of those things that I set up a while ago, but have never bothered to use, because of the pain of transferring all my contacts and making sure all my emails go to my new address. So, when trying to use Buzz on Wednesday, it was a bit of a downer. Looking to see what I could do, with no friends, the answer was… very little. If I want to use Google Buzz, I would have to add my friends, although very few of them have a Gmail account.

As well as this, Google Buzz has already received complaints about its privacy settings! When Buzz was first launched, your Gmail contacts were automatically visible to all your address book, which, as these examples show, isn’t always a good thing…

“Imagine … a wife discovering that her husband emails and chats with an old girlfriend,” the Web site said. “Imagine a boss discovers a subordinate emails with executives at a competitor.”

Google Buzz to take on Facebook?
So is Facebook in trouble? It depends. I personally think that Facebook hasn’t done much to help itself lately. I’m constantly receiving error messages stopping me from sending updates, and the changes they made last week (co-incidentally close Buzz’s launch?) were just Facebook moving around the buttons, but with no extra useful functionality.

Despite this, we are all asking outselves, like when any new Social Network appears – “Do we really need another one?” For this question, I agree with David Coursey:

“Mostly, I think we need a better Facebook, both as a service and the company behind the service, rather than a Facebook replacement. However, if Facebook continues its user alienation program of aggravating changes, its users now have a new place go. Buzz could potentially shatter Facebook’s hold on its 400,000 million members–because of things Facebook does”

But as from all new ideas, Buzz could be a good this, as with more competition, this may lead to more innovation. So some exciting new Social Media ideas could appear soon! And, I look forward to seeing what people think of Google Buzz! 😀

Thank You, Elizabeth Harmon.

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