The report “Google Buzz” discusses the social networking functionality of Google Buzz as of its release, disclosed plans for future functionality, and compares it to Facebook and Twitter's functionality for both online and mobile (e.g., iPhone) versions.
On February 9, 2010, Google, Inc. announced a new service to its existing Gmail service that would permit users additional social networking functionality. Providing functionality in many ways similar to Facebook, Twitter, and other web-based services, Buzz was hyped as a "Killer" of more-established social networking platforms.
Google's approach to Buzz was to address the question: how do you know if you're following the best people? The underlying premise of Buzz' approach was that if your friends are discussing a specific link or trend, you might be interested in it as well. To that end Buzz would provide you with a recommendation based upon your contact lists and communication patterns.
According to the 34 page report, within hours of its initiation, Google began making changes to the Buzz service, and has continued to make changes to provide a more secure user experience. Google Buzz has met with widespread criticism regarding user privacy. Google had thoroughly integrated Buzz with its Gmail, Google Reader, Flickr and other social platforms, without the users' knowledge, permission, or capability of quickly and easily turning the service off. Suddenly users found that their personal connections to reader items, friends, and friends of friends were very, very public.
While the immediate concern for user privacy became the breaking news about the service, Google's Buzz service was by no means a failure: within the first five days there were over 9 million Buzzes.
Up until recently, social media and social networks have been relegated to a specific destination; that is, the requirements for success involve the pro-active step of user intent to "go to" a specific location. These digital social "places" have been the key structure around which social media strategies are implemented. The limitations are obvious: it requires the user to not only choose that destination, but also be a member of those social groups.
Alternatively, there is another type of social network, one that provides integration of social networks. This changes the metaphor of the key "node" from a location or social "place" to the individual who is doing the communicating. Google Buzz takes this approach, and as a result becomes the key differentiator.
By taking the individual user as the focal point of the communication metaphor, Google has radically changed the game with respect to providing businesses - both small and large - tremendous reach into targeted audience groups. As a result, Google is less concerned about "killing" services like Twitter and Facebook, and more about generating ROI for both itself and its advertising customers.