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Chronicle Tech Talk: What on Earth is Google Buzz?

By Matt Scotto, Supervising Editor

If asked, many people would probably deny the need for another social network. With sites like Facebook and Twitter, we have the ability to connect with pretty much everyone we know, and even those we don't. On February 9 Google Buzz was released to the public. The new service operates within the search engine powerhouse's own Gmail service as a mini social network, including Facebook-like status updates. Google Buzz users are given their own profile, in which thy can share as much personal information as they'd like with their "followers."

The main feed operates much like Twitter, along with the ability to post links, photos and videos. Your followers are given the option to comment or "like" your updates, as well as compose an email directly to the poster. Users can also integrate applications such as Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, Google Reader, Blogger and Twitter. When Buzz was first rolled out, it received harsh criticism for its poor privacy options. Whoever follows you can, by default, see the people you've recently emailed or conversed with. A New York Times article revealed that Google is infamous for making new services public without them being truly ready.

I really do not see the need for Google Buzz at all. It may be beneficial to Gmail users in some way, but not to the extent needed to really make an impact on pop culture like Facebook and Twitter have. Of course, it's not doing anyone harm by merely existing, but I'm doubtful in Google Buzz really making a dent in the world of social networking. Many of the people that Buzz would be useful to are most likely already members of a major social network. As a result, Buzz is useless. Especially since you need Gmail to become a user.

I'll admit that I created my own profile on Google Buzz, but after realizing that I have a very limited list of people that also use Gmail, I ultimately decided that Buzz would be absolutely of no use to me.

There is clearly nothing wrong with Facebook and Twitter (and this can be proved by their unprecedented number of members), so there is no valid reason to mess with perfection. The only question left to ask is: WTF, Google?!
   

With their new ventures in social media, Google is taking over the world. (Photo Courtesy of ocularharmony.com)

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