So Google has done it again, and dipped it’s hands into yet another realm of our online life. This time it’s taking on the social media giants that are Twitter and Facebook. Does it have what it takes to take the crown, or will it wither and die out to the current heads of the class? Here’s my breakdown of the pros and cons of the new social media platform…
Why It Could Be A Contender
140 What? – I know more than a few times I’ve gotten annoyed with Twitter’s 140 character limit. Most of the time it’s fine, but when I want to send a real message to someone I need to get their email address and send it to them “offline”. It would be nice if at least DM’s didn’t have to be limited.
Happy Medium – It could be the happy medium everyone is looking for. A status stream of things you really care about that has photo and video capability (unlike Twitter), but without the annoying junk that clutters up the Facebook stream (I really don’t care what your cow’s name is on Farmville).
Account Already Active – Many people already have Google accounts anyway, whether it’s for a Blogger blog, or a gmail account, people already have Google accounts, so they wouldn’t have to sign up for something new. It is not like it’s a brand new service that no one has ever heard of. People know and trust Google, and therefore would not be leery about giving that information to Buzz.
Why It May Flutter & Die
New Interface to Learn – If the recent Facebook redesign is any indication, people don’t like to change and learn how to do something new. If it’s working for them, they don’t want to change. If Twitter and Facebook are statisfying their social network needs, then Buzz doesn’t stand a chance. This could backfire for Facebook right now though, since people are frustrated with the new Facebook interface, it may just drive people over to using Buzz instead.
Are You My Friend? – There are things I would share on Facebook, with people that I have actually met in real life that I would not share on Twitter with my “Tweeps”. I like the security and privacy of the double friend acceptance of Facebook, that make me nervous about sharing things on Twitter or Buzz. I really don’t want everyone to know my cell phone number (posted on my Facebook profile, and not on my Twitter).
Customizable Profile – Right now it’s just in your gmail, and you don’t have control over the background like on Twitter. I’m sure this may change over time, but as of right now, it’s useful, but not extremely “pretty”.
Corporate Branding – The other thing that I like as a business owner is the usernames of Twitter and Facebook. I can tell someone to go be my friend or follow me with a simple URL. Facebook.com/tech4mommies or twitter.com/tech4mommies It is easy for people to find my business. Again, I’m not sure if this is coming (which it would be dumb to not include this functionality) but it doesn’t exisit yet, and therefore could potentially prevent me from really utilizing the service. Using Facebook, I can seperate my personal profile from my business profile. With Google Buzz it looks like it’s personal or business (unless I want to create different gmail accounts for each business). Using Twitter and Facebook people are communicating with businesses like never before. Customer service has taken on a whole new meaning through these services, and I think it’s for the better. On the surface it really doesn’t look like Buzz can accomodate businesses like the other two networks can, and therefore could be seriously unsuccessful.
So while it’s definitely not perfect, and Twitter and Facebook are not perfect, I’m sure I’ll continue to check it out and when it gets some really useful features for business then I’ll probably take a more serious look at utilizing the new service. What are your thoughts on Google Buzz?
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com