Google announced its newest social media service today, Google Buzz, and it might just be the social service Google was always meant to create.
Google has had two problems historically with social media services. The first being they bought a service such as Jaiku (a Twitter clone) or Dodgeball that just didn’t quite fit into their corporate image correctly. The second problem has been with services such as Orkut, which, while popular in several countries, just never caught in the United States.
Google Buzz may very well change all of that because it is built from the ground up by Google, and it integrates with pre-existing services that the company has had success with such as Gmail, Google Reader, Google Maps, YouTube and so on.
The new service is a part of your Gmail account, and by simply clicking on the link in your sidebar, you get a social lifestream service not unlike what you find at FriendFeed. The difference is that Google already knows you so well, it can auto populate your friends for you with those you talk to the most in Google Talk and Gmail. (click the images for a larger view)
Once in you can start adding your information from various social sites. The number of services is limited at this time, but there are sure to be more added.
Once you’ve got your services imported, you can begin sharing things with your friends, and seeing what it is they have to share with you. Comments can be left on any item, so the service becomes social onto itself.
The magic of Google Buzz happens in your Gmail inbox, though. As opposed to other services that require you to go out to their site to see if follow-up comments have been posted, or e-mail you a link to tell you there are new comments, the actual Buzz is delivered to your inbox and you can interact with it from there. A Buzz icon will be displayed next to the mail so you will be able to easily discern what is normal mail and what is a Buzz.
When out and about, you will also be able to use a mobile version of Buzz by simply going to the Google home page from your browser, click the Buzz icon and the service will locate you via your phone’s GPS. Once logged in, you can see what friends have buzzed about that is near you on an improved version of Google Maps.
Google has a history of posting short videos that expertly describe its new products, so here is the one for the main part of Google Buzz.
And the one for the mobile aspects.
So there you have it. Will it succeed? Who knows, but I personally think Buzz has the best shot of any Google social service yet of gaining some traction.
Big thanks to Jo from Jo’s Cafe for the screenshots!