16:24 10 February 2010
It was only natural that search engine giant Google would make a big splash in the social networking pool sooner or later, and now it's here. Google Buzz is fuelled by pre-existing breakthroughs in technology, essentially granting more options to your current Gmail contacts list.
There's no need to install a program or create a new account it automatically follows those that you chat/email the most. You can also choose who you want to share your information with.
Buzz is compatible with Google Android phones and their respective operating systems.
As Buzz directly integrates Gmail, Google is planning to appeal to its existing pool of 176million users, giving them an instant entry into competition with popular social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook without having to actively advertise.
Google's Edward Ho said on the official blog: "Buzz is built right into Gmail, so there's nothing to set up - you're automatically following the people you email and chat with the most."
Users can post messages, photos and links on their page either publicly to the world or to a small group of contacts.
Sites such as Picasa, Flickr and more supported allowing the user to easily upload pictures/files from their existing accounts on other services.
They can follow Twitter and share content but cannot publish new messages on Twitter via Buzz. Similarly, Buzz does not display messages that were posted on Facebook - the world's No 1 social network with 400 million active users.
'The fact that Gmail did not connect and allow broadcasts out to Twitter and Facebook could be a real challenge to them,' said social media analyst Augie Ray.
However, Buzz is making waves when it comes to location-specific networking. Status updates can be tagged to the user's location and fellow users can be seen on Google Maps.
Google Places is also supported - for example, a user could send a message from a restaurant, which can then be shown onscreen as a map, series of food reviews and so on.
Updates are seen in real time with no refreshes required. Notifications are sent to the user's Gmail account which can be replied to from there without having to switch pages.
The result is a fully interactive email service that organically creates favourites via your existing interaction. With no set-up needed, Buzz could provide a seamless migration for social networkers, but it's currently lagging behind Facebook in terms of popularity.
Buzz isn't the first time Google have tried social networking (Google Orkut was a hit in some territories like India but quickly faded away in the UK and US), but this time it's got plenty of buzz behind it.
Find out more information on this free service and to watch a demonstrative video, go to the official site here: http://www.google.com/buzz
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