FirstTake: What Google Buzz Means

Good For BusinessLeft: Inline with the Google style guide of primary colors, Google launches a new logo for Google Buzz, using familiar “chat bubble” iconology.

Google launches status update features
Google launches Buzz, which many will find similar to Friendfeed now part of the Facebook family.  Google Buzz will enable content to be aggregated, and then prioritized based upon the people you already email with, which Harry McCracken and I call this a social graph based on history, “Historical social graph” or HSG. Secondly, this Google Buzz feature will rate and rank content based on activity and interaction within your social group. Users can choose to publish the Buzz in public, which will display on the Google Profile page. They also announced the ability to input this data from mobile devices and showed a voice to text scenario. They plan to make more announcements based on enterprise versions –and more at their IO developer conference.

Enough about news, I’m sure you’ll find more on Techmeme, here are my insights.

Analysis: Impacts To Industry

  • Google continues its prime directive. At the high level, this is a strong move for Google, they continue to aggregate other people’s social content, and become the intermediatry. This helps them to suck in Twitter, Flickr, and any-other-data type as the APIs open up, giving them more to ‘organize’. This is Google acting on it’s mission to the world.
  • Privacy woes will scare consumers –yet adoption will continues upward. For consumers, the risk of privacy will continue to be at top of mind. Although the features allow for sharing only with friends or in public. expect more consumer groups to express concern. Overtime, this will become moot as the next generation of consumers continues to share in public.
  • Buzz could have faster adoption rate than Twitter. For consumers, this could potentially have more adoption than Twitter as Gmail has a large footprint Google told me it’s tens of millions (active monthly unique). Of course, most Gmail users likely aren’t Twitter users, but there could be a large platform to draw from.
  • Physical businesses lose more control over search strategy. For small busineses and retailers, this will impact their search engine results pages, as a single top ‘buzzer’ could cause their content to be very relevant, if that person was relevant, then their influential content could show at top of SERP pages. Expect Google to continue to offer advertising options now around buzz content –fueling their revenues.
  • A direct blow to Facebook, they must accelerate go to market. To Facebook, this is a direct threat, these features emulate Friendfeed and the recently designed Facebook newsfeed. Expect Google to incorporporate Facebook connect, commoditizing Facebook data as it gets sucked into Google and displayed on Google SERP.
  • Great for Twitter now –yet painful in the long term. This is good for Twitter in the short term, as it’ll amplify tweets, and suck them into a new system and give additional reach. Yet over time, status features will become a commodity, and Twitter as a destination will fade into the background.

Back in July 2009, I took a bold statement to say that Email and Social Networks are the same, I distinctly recall a lot of people disagreeing with this notion, but I think it became true today.   Posted from the Googleplex at the live briefing, I also spoke to NYT, SF ChronicleSJ Mercury, NYT (second time), UPI, and Financial Times.  Also, I polished some of the writing up in the afternoon, as the first pass was quick and dirty.

Below: Pictures from the event, including Sergey, Google Founder
Buzz Team, and Google Founder photo photo Screen shot 2010-02-12 at 6.44.24 PM