Google Buzz: Already Better than Wave (and Maybe Facebook, Too)

25 Comments

In the past, I have gone on record as being none too impressed with Google Wave (s goog). 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?

25 Comments

kripssmart

I opened my gmail one evening and saw a new ‘Buzz’ and its showing that I am already following a handful and so many following me! This s what Buzz was all about for me! But when it comes to Buzz or Wave my answer will be definitely Buzz. But I don’t think it will come anywhere near to Twitter though!

Martin

From the limited amount I’ve seen of Wave, without my own account- Buzz seems to be a lot more accessible and useful, ie gmail integration and existing social networking plugged in from the get go….not had a long look at it but definately going to check it out

PHP Hosting

Yes indeed.I had a question for quite sometime,that though social networking has been in a boom,how come Google hasn’t made its debut there? And finally,now they did. Though I haven’t used Buzz much as of now, but I feel it to be much promising that the others.People are so much in love with the big G,that the services are appreciated always (most of the time though).

The one thing that I did not like about it was, it added my personal contacts by default to buzz.Though they have offered a settings tab there to decide who to have on this social network. Rather they shouldn’t have forced users to get added to Buzz. Its seems they have made changes now.

Glenn

At least Wave has some potential to become actually useful. Buzz has nothing essential for getting things done (unless you really want to invite people you don’t know, say, to a party or something). You like Buzz? Fine, you use it. Google, however, has realized at least some of the little things it did wrong with Buzz and privacy/security and has addressed those issues [mostly]. (Now all they have to do is remove it entirely from Gmail–because it has nothing to do with communication–and give it its own little app-space, sort of like Blogger; and then folks can just widget it into Gmail if they like it so much.)

Raphael Aguiar

I think it’s not a reasonable, fair comparison. It’s like comparing, let’s say, MS Word and MS Outlook: their objectives are completely different.

Google Wave is NOT a social network, although Google tried to launch it as a 10-into-1 product.

It’s actually an under-construction platform for corporative collaboration, with a lot of potential IF used by the right people – usually professionals who suffer a lot with a huge pile of attached file versions, or need to take a decision quickly.

I’m using GW heavily in my work for project management and supervision of student’s final projects in a specialization course.

Jack Stone

Love buzz for its gmail integration, simplicity is the key to emergence of ideas and collaboration with tools like those. Google needs to think about the user and make him the center of this world, not the tools… example : my picassa and blog spot have their own independent profiles inspite of updating the same on gmail and buzz.

Peter Pugliese

I really think Buzz needs to be available in Google Apps. There are a lot of personal users who run their own domains in Apps and don’t use Gmail often.

jmacofearth

Darrell, I have to argue for a second with this paragraph. 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.

The miss here is that just because Buzz “lives in your Gmail” does not make it better or more connective than lots of other apps/sites/services. For example: if you are just looking for threading and connectivity outside of the system look at FriendFeed and Ping.fm. If you are looking for streamlining your communications don’t jump on Buzz and ask everyone to join you on Buzz, simple cull your Twitter and Facebook accounts. If you’ve gotten yourself in a bad place with those services (too many games, following to many spammy tweeters) it is your responsibility to work with those services to get them back under control.

Adding a new “in-box” on G-Mail is not an innovative solution for anything.

Then you take aim at WAVE, “Google Buzz is already much more functional than Wave” and I find this one the funniest. If you don’t understand WAVE that’s okay. If you don’t have any WAVERs that you like, that’s okay too. But WAVE is a platform not a fully formed service. I agree WAVE is hard to get connectivity on, but when you’ve been on a good WAVE it’s hard to imagine collaboration on WEBEX or Live Meeting, ever again.

I wrote a littel post of my own here” Why Google BUZZ Does NOT Matter: 3 Reasons to “Turn Off Buzz.” http://bit.ly/why-buzz

@jmacofearth | uber.la

Josh Q

Buzz is for social media and Wave is for collaboration. I don’t think they kill each other, only show how Google is tackling markets on two fronts. Good for them!

Srećko

It’s not better than wave, nor microsoft office for that matter. Different programs require different approach. No one compared wave to facebook. If you thought that marketing or quantity of people is better, you should have written so. Also comparing something that is in clearly in early development to something that is superimposed to end-user is not professional.

Tami Smith

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.

Nate

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.

Daniel Hoang

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.

Adrian

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.

Dustin

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.

Wayne Sutton

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.

Goldi

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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