Google yesterday released Buzz, its newest foray into the social networking space — and a direct assault on Facebook. There’s a good overview of the new service over on GigaOM, but basically, Buzz provides social networking features (like status updates, photo sharing, location-aware sharing) built right into Gmail. The service is currently being rolled out to Gmail users.
Personally, I’m not sure I’ll get a lot out of Buzz in Gmail — all of my friends use Facebook and Twitter for online interaction (I’m not sure how many of them even have a Gmail account), while most of my professional social networking goes on Twitter and LinkedIn. However, over on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d), Liz makes a very good point: Buzz’s true value is for enterprise customers of Google Apps.
Here at WebWorkerDaily we’ve used a variety of corporate collaboration and social networking tools to co-ordinate our efforts on the site, some more successfully than others, but even the best apps never feel truly integrated with the tool that we’ve always relied on most to communicate with each other: email. I find that having to use a separate tool (or tools) for collaboration, document sharing and and status updates feels redundant, especially as you then get email notifications from those tools in your inbox. As we already use Google Apps to manage our email, if Buzz can provide the functionality that we’ve relied on other apps for in the past and is truly integrated into the inbox in a logical way, switching from our current tools is going to be a no-brainer — and I suspect that will be true of many other web working companies, too.
Does Buzz have the potential to replace your current set of collaboration tools?