ADOTAS – I’ve come to expect in this industry that when a company makes a large announcement — see Google’s acquisition of AdMob — competing firms tend to put out congratulatory and supportive press releases. Or, as they learned from their mothers, if they don’t have anything nice to say, they keep their PR people zipped up.
Well, that’s not the case with Google Buzz, the social enhancements to Gmail the Internet behemoth unleashed yesterday. Microsoft and Yahoo! immediately came out swinging — with claims they’ve been offering the same services for a while.
Within an hour of the Buzz launch, Microsoft released this statement: “Busy people don’t want another social network, what they want is the convenience of aggregation. We’ve done that. Hotmail customers have benefited from Microsoft working with Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and 75 other partners since 2008.”
But Yahoo! somehow beat Microsoft to the punch, snorting that it’s been offering similar social features through Yahoo! Updates for a year and a half. It’s only made things better, the company sneered in a statement, through a Facebook integration. Thbbbppppt!
Oh, on top of that, Google ripped the name “Buzz” off of Yahoo!, which incorporated that title for its Digg-like article recommendation service two years ago. Like, OMG! Yahoo! is holding its own event today, but from its blog I’m guessing it’s a recap of progress made over the last six months since its big makeover.
While this Internet pissing match is kinda entertaining, the implications of Buzz are worth a head scratch. Is it a Facebook killer? Doubtful. Buzz sounds a lot like FriendFeed, a real-time social media feed aggregator that Facebook purchased over the summer.
At the same time, Michael Arrington had an interesting post on TechCrunch the other day suggesting that the choas known as the social mediascape is reminiscent of another giant mess from 10 years ago — the search space. And who came in and straightened that sector out? Why, I believe it was Google…
Can Buzz do the same for social media? In theory, it’s a social media hub that for the best of Twitter, Facebook, Yelp (Can you imagine if the Google-Yelp deal had happened?), etc. In practice…
Plus it’s got some slick mobile features. At the press conference yesterday, Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering, detailed a Google Buzz location feature for the mobile version called “nearby,” which allows a user to see what Buzzers in his/her vicinity are chatting about. Gundotra gave the example of a concert — dude is loving the band, wants to see what other people in the crowd think.
‘Cause don’t you love it when people at a concert are glued to their phones? As a musician, there’s nothing quite like looking into the audience to see the light of their mobile screens reflecting on their faces… Because they’re not watching you.
But Google is a location champ — combine that with social networking and other players in the space are bound to be nervous. Which is perhaps why Yahoo! and Microsoft responded so quickly and with such strong words.
Still, Scott Thompson pointed out something that would seem to be obvious in the comments section: “Gmail is my email of choice and my email is a private tool. Now I have to worry that my emails become public or that I have to set a privacy setting.”
Gmail is also my tool of choice, and I see the benefits in keeping it separate from my social networking. Perhaps Scott and I aren’t the only ones with this concern? What say you readers?
Finally, you wouldn’t catch me dead in one of these t-shirts, but that’s because I’m a fashion maven. I’m having tea with Anna Wintour in an hour.