Google Enters Social Media

- February 15, 2010

You may have heard that Google is entering the social media realm with their new product called Buzz.  If you already use Gmail, you may already be aware of Buzz.  Essentially, Buzz will take your current list of contacts and have you “follow” them and they can follow you as well.  With this new feature, you can now share photos, status updates, and other information more easily than before with your friends.

Once you signup for an account, or start using it within Gmail, you can choose to make your profile private or semi-private, and add links to the other social networks that you participate in.  Some have already raised concerns about Buzz attaching to your Gmail because it will now make many email addresses public.  Is this something you really want to do?  And making your profile private only prevents it from being indexed in the search results.  You will be provided a Google profile URL, and if someone knows this URL, they can see all of your content such as photos, status updates, etc. This is unlike other networks such as Facebook, where you can make all of your information private.  In Facebook, even if someone knows your personal URL, they can’t see all of your information unless you give them permission to do so from your account settings.

Another interesting aspect is that it doesn’t seem to be built for businesses, at least for now.  At first, Facebook was only peer to peer and businesses were not allowed.  But now a business can create a fan page and promote goods and services and market to their fans.  With Google Buzz being integrated into Gmail, how will businesses be able to get in this space? I think due to the ability for fan pages, Facebook has grown. Other social networks, like MySpace have made it harder for businesses to have a page and therefore their popularity and growth has decreased.

Time will tell if Google Buzz will be the next social media giant, but for now, I am a bit skeptical.  What are your thoughts?

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