Google's Buzz service is clearly hyped to counter the dominance of Facebook in the realm of the Social Web. Their site's main page states "Go beyond status messages" -- an obvious reference to the once obscure social networking website, which is now the top Internet phenomenon ranking a threatening second to Google's number one spot.
While competition usually breeds good things for the rest of the population one can't help but wonder whether all these buzzing (intended or not, the pun is there; deal with it) would actually amount to anything beneficial. What is buried under the trillions of posted messages is the online advertising dollars at stake. Clearly, economic advantage is what these networks are fighting tooth and nail over.
Quick to the draw are the privacy groups crying foul to the launch of Google Buzz. Previously the default settings on Buzz was too revealing for most people's need for privacy. Every Gmail contact signing up to Buzz were automatically set to follow and was available for the rest of the world to see. While Google has since made changes to Buzz's default setting to incorporate such privacy concerns, many are still wary that the latest social networking service is just too square a peg to fit in a round hole.
Personally, I signed up for Gmail for the email service and I simply love it. And if it weren't for the ease of keeping in touch with my football team I wouldn't even have the need to sign up for Facebook. My first impression of Buzz is that Google's attempts at making an email service look and act like a social networking service is just too darn clumsy. I didn't know what to make of it other than being an aggregator. Buzz's claim of going beyond status messages by posting photos and links and what-nots... well, you can do that in Facebook already.
If there's anything that can be learned in favor of Buzz at this point in time it's this; I realized that the people I email are not necessarily the same people I want to constantly keep in touch with. One cannot simply override the differentiation of social circles -- families, close friends, acquaintances, business contacts -- by simply trying to integrate one technology platform with another.
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