After a good deal of speculation and excitement on tech blogs, Google has unveiled Buzz, a new service that Gmail users to post short, Twitter-style status updates. This signals to many observers that Google is serious about beefing up the social networking arm of its business and is targetting Twitter, which already has as many as 20 million register users. But will Google Buzz be able to get traction against a competitor with such a big head start? (Watch a Google Buzz demo)
Google's tried social networking already — and failed: It's makes a lot of sense to integrate this sort of feature into Gmail, says Mark Milian in the Los Angeles Times. But Google "has already tried its hand unsuccessfully at social networking a few times before" — for example, Orkut, a "Facebook competitor," is completely "ignored by Americans" — and there's little reason to think this effort will fare better.
"Would adding status updates mean Gmail is having a case of Twitter envy?"
Buzz is too complicated: While Google Buzz successfully addresses many of the issues that failed their social networking endeavors in the past, the "complexity" of the service may cause problems, says MG Siegler in Tech Crunch. "Twitter works because it’s so simple." Buzz, on the other hand, "is not that simple." So despite all the possible upsides to the new feature, it may simply be too "confusing for some users."
"If Google Wave is the future, Google Buzz is the present"
Twitter could be in trouble: Google may have failed at social networking in the past, says tech blogger Robert Scoble in Scobleizer.com, but there's good reason to believe this attempt could work — primarily because "Twitter looks attackable." While the micro-blogging site is currently "the best place... to find real time news," it has its weaknesses. And "if I can see a whole lot of ways to beat Twitter... then so can the engineers at Google."
"The social failings of Google"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The case for voting (even if America is a corrupt plutocracy rigged by the rich)
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
Subscribe to the Week