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Summary:

At a fundamental level, Google Buzz is already much more functional than Wave, if only because it talks to other things easily and with a minimum of hassle. Plus it lives in your Gmail, which is where a lot of us spend much of our day anyway

In the past, I have gone on record as being none too impressed with Google Wave. Since then, I’ve seen chatter about the experimental product from the geniuses behind Gmail dwindle to virtually nothing. Sure, occasionally I see someone claiming that it’s actually been useful for them, but the language used is often so defensive in such descriptions that you know even the proponents realize which way the wind is blowing.

Google, too, seems not to need a weather vane to tell it what’s up with its last major new product. Which is why, in my opinion, the search giant introduced Google Buzz yesterday: a Gmail-integrated product which, at least superficially, resembles Wave. Buzz is like Wave, but better, since people are already actually using it.

Top among my laundry list of complaints regarding Google Wave was how it seemed like a walled garden, cut off from other elements of the social web, most notably Gmail itself. Sure, there were a variety of bots and hacks to get those things into Wave, but why make things needlessly complicated, especially with regards to Google’s existing tools? It just seemed designed to sour entry-level and casual users against it.

Google seems to have taken note of that bitterness, and made Buzz with exactly the opposite in mind. It plugs into your existing social networks quickly and easily, but I can already see that people will end up using it instead of, rather than in concert with, sites like Twitter. Avid FriendFeed users like Robert Scoble have quickly thrown their considerable support behind Buzz, possibly because the Google product is fairly reminiscent of that Facebook-acquired networking site.

At a fundamental level, Google Buzz is already much more functional than Wave, if only because it talks to things outside of itself easily and with a minimum of hassle. Plus it lives in your Gmail, which is where a lot of online workers spend much of their day anyway. And unlike Twitter, it supports threaded conversations, and a variety of different methods of interaction and sharing. It’s like Facebook without the annoying apps, or like Twitter with all the good bits of Facebook thrown in.

From a web working perspective, I can already see how it would be better for interviewing, for surveying public opinion, and for conducting meaningful research. As long as people get behind it, it will succeed, and since they already show good signs of doing so, I think this is one horse you can safely bet on.

Do you think Buzz is better than Wave? Do you ever see yourself using it more than Twitter or Facebook in the future?

  1. Buzz…so easy, that is attached to my gmail account.

    I am embarrassed to say that it is my first social networking site. On to do list for months to join twitter, facebook, friendfeed etc., under my blog name. If I am already using it, I think that is saying a lot…

    Love, Goldi
    http://www.goldilocksblog.com

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  2. Yes, I think buzz is better than Wave at the moment for conversations but not for private collaborations. For that I’ll stick to Google Wave. Buzz is more like friendfeed than anything else. As for using it more than Twitter or Facebook in the future, I’m not sure but the possibility is there because it’s linked to google reader and my gmail.

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  3. The Gmail integration from the start is what will keep people talking about Buzz for a while. I have seen people at least “trying” Buzz whereas they wouldn’t even give Twitter a chance.

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  4. Buzz is ok, but I had this separation: Facebook – friends, Twitter – news and interesting stuff, Gmail – work/email. I post on Facebook and Twitter, and now I have to do it on Gmail as well…that’s a bit too much.

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  5. They should have done the same thing with Wave as they did with Gmail. Take the existing Gmail platform, and integrate Wave functionality in. People are resistive to change so by slowly introducing new functionality over time, you build a large adoption to the technology. This is similar to how chat was introduced into Gmail, which at first, a lot of people didn’t like. Now, I can’t live without having chat built into my Gmail.

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  6. The problem is, 60% of the people with whom I want to stay connected don’t use Gmail, and Buzz and Facebook are not friends right now.

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  7. I’m curious to see how Buzz plays out with businesses.

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  8. So far Buzz is better than Wave because of email integration and ease of finding people with search. I’m experiencing conversations that have depth and making new connections easily. Very different feel than with Twitter. I am already using Buzz more than Twitter and Facebook.

    I think we will see more Wave features added to Buzz soon.

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  9. I think you are right. I don´t know why google did not make it before.

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  10. [...] Google Buzz: Already Better than Wave (and Maybe Facebook, Too) [...]

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