If you’ve been on vacation for the past week without your computer and cellphone, welcome back. Here’s what you missed: Everything! Yes, in seven little days, we’ve watched in amazement as Google the Giant Internet Gorilla with unlimited financial resources jumped off the 1,000 foot cliff without a parachute and then set about discovering how to land safely. Google jumped head first into social networking with a new product, Google Buzz, and decided to kick start the project using the age-old business trick of tying the new product to an old one, in this case their 175 million existing Gmail customers.
In the process of introducing Google Buzz, Google got almost everything wrong. Ironically, it’s the only new Google product that’s ever been introduced without the beta label. We’ll let you be the judge of whether Buzz is ready for prime time. Consider the following. There was the exposure of people’s most cherished Little Black Books to complete strangers. And cross-scripting security issues have been reported with the potential of exposing users’ Google credentials which in turn provides the key to the Google Checkout castle not to mention all of your most confidential emails. Then there were complaints that customer’s geolocation data was being compromised without user authorization. If that wasn’t enough on your plate for one week, Google now has to contend with a class action lawsuit and several government investigations into its Buzz business practices. Aside from that, did we mention Google Buzz is a huge hit!
If social networking is your thing, then you’re going to love Google Buzz. Think of it as FriendFeed on Steroids. Rich multimedia and location-based services on top of everything you always loved about IRC. And, if you have an Android 2.0+ phone, it gets even better with complete integration into Google Maps 2.0.
Unfortunately, everyone has been so busy with damage control and Google bashing that there’s been precious little time to actually explore the potential for Google Buzz in the social networking community. Our brief look at the product and its potential suggests that Google has another winner on its hands. It’s just too bad it wasn’t introduced in a manner similar to Google Wave so that users (and Google) could walk before attempting to fly. Here’s our first crack at how Google Buzz could actually be integrated into the blogging community, in our case making Google Buzz an integral part of a WordPress blog. And there’s also the widget approach from MoreTechTips.net which we’ve tweaked in the right margin below our Google maps. We’ll have more to say about these methodologies in coming weeks. In the meantime, come join the fun and Get Your Buzz On.
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