Today in Mountain View, CA, Google revealed Buzz, a Twitter- and Facebook-like social networking feature that’s been integrated into Gmail that also extends into Android devices and iPhones. It does a little more than inform your followers or friends as to what you’re eating for breakfast, though. Buzz allows you to share links, images and videos in a IM-like manner that makes sense.
Buzz’s five key attributes are as follows:
Auto-following: Buzz automatically follows the Gmail contacts you converse with the most, so there’s no need to find people to follow.
Rich, fast sharing experience: Pictures that you choose to share aren’t relegated to tiny thumbnails that you’d otherwise need binoculars to see. Buzz has an integrated slideshow feature that enlarges photos on the fly.
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Public and Private Sharing: Your updates can be shared with your “circle of trust” or with everyone in your list of contacts in Gmail. Based on who you’ve shared your Google profile with are the folks who will see your private updates. You can toggle back and forth for each update.
Inbox Integration: Because Buzz is integrated into Gmail, you’ll always be in the loop if someone decides to comment on your Buzz and vice and versa. No need to get your notification in one place and have to launch a new tab in your browser to see what’s going on.
Just the good stuff: We all have friends that like to “check in” or share what they’re eating for lunch and Google realizes this, so they’ve taken updates of that nature and pushed them to the bottom of your Buzz feed. Buzz can also recommend folks for you to follow if a number of friends have commented on someone’s else Buzz that you might find interesting.
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Google has extended Buzz to the mobile space. You can Buzz from your device to share what you’re doing while you’re out and about. The mobile Google homepage has been updated to include Buzz. What’s most interesting about mobile Buzz is how the service finds you when you’re trapped in a building that seems to block out the satellites hovering above. It takes into account your relative location based on carrier towers and time of day to present a list of nearby establishments that you could be at. Google Mobile Maps will also be getting the Buzz treatment via a new Layer.
* Buzz.google.com: This web app provides access to Buzz from your iPhone or Android phone’s browser, allowing you to view and create buzz messages. It has two different views: ‘Following’ view shows buzz from the people you follow, just like Google Buzz in your Gmail; ‘Nearby’ view shows public buzz that has been tagged with a location near you, and might be from people you don’t follow. From Nearby view, you can also select a specific place from the list of nearby places and view posts attached to that place.
* Buzz on Google Maps for mobile: The new Buzz layer allows you to see buzz near you or anywhere on the map. You can post public buzz directly from the layer, and even attach a photo from your phone. Also, try visiting a mobile Place Page to read recent comments or to post buzz about that place. You can access Place Pages from the web app as well, by tapping on the place name in any location-tagged post.
* Buzz Shortcut from Google.com: You will see the buzz icon in the top right corner of the google.com homepage. Just tap on the icon to trigger the posting box.
* Voice Shortcut: The voice shortcut, which is available in the quick search widget on Android and in Google Mobile App on iPhone, allows you to post buzz without typing anything. Just say ‘post buzz,’ followed by whatever you’d like to post.
But something I wonder is whether or not Gmail users will cling on to the service. I, for one, hardly ever go to Gmail on my computer. Nor do I ever use Google Chat. It does, however, make complete sense to launch Buzz within Gmail as opposed to its own stand-alone product like Orkut. You know what Orkut is, right? Me either.
Google is rolling out Buzz to Gmail users starting today.
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