Google today announced "Buzz", their attempt to merge the worlds of social computing with e-mail. Buzz adds social tracking features to your in-box, allowing you to see the social activity of your contacts. So what's not to like?
I think the biggest issue with Buzz is its reliance on Gmail. Google makes the assumption that your e-mail contacts are your buddies, but that's not necessarily the case. I've got a lot of folks in my in-box who are business or casual acquaintances, or whom are on mailing lists that I'm on, and who aren't friends I'd want to follow. The people I want to follow are all in my Facebook account, but Google doesn't yet connect to Facebook. If there's a "killer app" that will move people from Facebook to Google, I don't see it. Buzz may have some use as another social computing channel, but at this point I don't see it replacing Facebook (or even LinkedIn).
Where Buzz, I think, has the greatest appeal is in creating a social community within companies using Gmail or Google apps as their corporate messaging environment. Buzz just fired a shot across the bow of all the social computing software or service vendors targeting SMBs. If you are already paying for a corporate Gmail service, you just got a whole suite of social tools as well.
There is one other problem, it doesn't work. At this point I don't see the "Buzz" link in my Gmail in-box, and from following various twitter comments, neither do many others.
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