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This morning I noticed something new in Gmail – Google Buzz. Think along the lines of your Facebook News Feed. First thing you need to do is look at your privacy settings. By default it seems to share Picasa pics, your shared Google Reader items and status updates from GTalk and it’s linked to your Google Profile.
Your Google Profile has now also been expanded with some additional features that are linked to Buzz. Easy ability to share content, links, interests and a personalised URL. I just don’t like the fact that your static URL is not customisable and it uses your email address (the part before the @ sign) as URL.
It seems like a mixmatch of things that starts to compete with Facebook, but it’s not all available in once place. So you’ll ask, what’s the point? Is it Google trying to increase the amount of information they already have about their users (cue conspiracy theory)? Or are we going to see a Facebook competitor one of these days?
At first I thought Google brought Google Wave into Gmail. It might have been an interesting match by adding some additional features to Gmail, but in my opinion Google Wave is a failure. It might be one of those cases that the average Joe just doesn’t get it, and in cases even tech savvy users, but I have just not seen the value at all.
Google has the money to play around with lots of things and this is probably just another foray into looking at tools that might gain traction (especially when their features are very similar to what users are used to with Facebook). I think small things like these, lead to big things and believe me a lot of analytics will go into these new features to see how people adopt it.
The question is, do we need another Facebook and can Facebook be bettered? Will anyone even care?
I say competition is healthy, let the games begin!
It has been confirmed that Google is in talks with Twitter about a real time search engine. This would bring about a lot of value to search results, but also some concerns about how it would be managed.
Twitter unfortunately don’t have a current way of deferring spam, except for a subtle reporting of abuse via email or @abuse tweet. What will keep shady marketers from continuously polling twitter on certain topics to increase traffic?
I am however certain of the fact that Google will employ various algorythms to weed out spam, as they’re doing with conventional search results, but it will be interesting to see how they go about it.
I don’t think an outright sale is on the cards, but we could well see a live feed being sourced to Google for producing faster results. As mentioned in the Tech Crunch article, if Google doesn’t receive a live feed the feasibility of such a deal will be worse off, as Twitter depend on real time results and that is what will make it most useful to Google Users.
Things to keep in mind on integration:
- Will there be a limit on frequency of Tweets by unique users indexed or frequency on a specific topic/keyword?
- Will users be able to reply/retweet etc directly from Google Results (if they’re logged into Twitter)?
- Will power users have the ability to track topics (this will be great – maybe with Google Alerts)?
- How will the integration impact Twitters current ability to manage traffic / uptime?
- Give me your thoughts!
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