Google takes on Facebook and Twitter with Buzz service

Published on: 11-februari-2010

The new service will be accessible on mobile phones and the company said it would also be launching a version of Buzz for companies to use as a communications tool.

Google is trying not to be left behind by the likes of Facebook, which now has more than 400 million users worldwide. Google's own social network, Orkut, has only gained significant numbers of users in Brazil.

The company said Buzz was a way of cutting through the "too much information" of social networking, allowing users to control what and how they share updates easily and simply.

Gmail is the third most popular web-based email in the world, with 176.5 million unique visitors in December, according to comScore.

In addition to the Buzz features for Gmail, Google said it is launching a special mobile application for Buzz, as well as weaving Buzz technology into the mobile versions of its flagship website and its maps products.

The new service allows users to follow automatically the people they e-mail and chat with on a regular basis. Users can posts updates, including YouTube videos, Flickr photos, site links and other materials and can choose to make this information public or private. If the user chooses to make the information public, Google's search engine will be able to find and index the posts.

Social updates that might be of interest to members will be automatically posted to their Gmail inbox and Google has introduced ways to recommend popular posts from others that might be of interest to you.

The mobile version of Buzz, which will use the geo-location feature of many smartphones, will work figure out where they are and show nearby buzz posts. Google has introduced a feature called Place Pages where more than 50 million locations have their own mini-sites on the net. Geo-tagged Buzz posts will automatically be added by Google to a location's Place Page. In the same way, anyone that has a Google Profile Page will have their public Buzz posts appended to their page.

Google is trying to leverage the power of social networks and give itself a firmer foothold in the booming social activity on the net.

Todd Jackson, Product Manager, Gmail and Google Buzz, said in the blog post: "In today's world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it's increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations. Our belief is that organizing the social information on the web — finding relevance in the noise — has become a large-scale challenge, one that Google's experience in organizing information can help solve."

Buzz is already integrated with many Google services such as Flickr and YouTube and the company said it was looking to introduce further integration. Gmail users will see the service rolled out in the next couple of days.

Bradley Horowitz, vice president of Product Management at Google, said Buzz would be rolled out for businesses and schools. Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who said he had been using Buzz internally at the company for several months, said it greatly increased his productivity.

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