Tag Archive: Google Buzz

The old adage “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” is tossed around when discussing economics, but in the light of the Google Buzz FTC complaint filed a few weeks ago by EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center), there are a lot of parallels in the web landscape as well.

Now that we’ve used most of the web’s services for FREE for the past few decades, we’ve become quite accustomed to accessing content and services just by creating a “free” account and moving on without any regard to the trade-offs. If you stop and think about it, what does it cost you (non-monetarily) to use Facebook? I mean, besides the incredible timesink. I’m not talking about the physical activity of using the web versus working out, or checking your Facebook page instead of taking your dog to the park. I’m talking about the trade-off that occurs when your personal information starts mingling with technology that you’re not paying for directly. People, businesses, groups and causes you’re connected with, your activities, comments and “check-ins” all weave an intricate, yet telling digital footprint. Your footprint equals dollar signs for these businesses, since they can sell your attention at a premium to advertisers.

You don’t think web entrepreneurs without a “pay for use” business model are providing you with a service out of the goodness of their hearts, right?

While I’m not accepting Facebook’s shady privacy games or Google pushing your “most emailed” contact list into the social media sphere, there has to be a point where we, as web consumers, understand the opportunity cost of using the web.


Google Buzz

Let’s be perfectly honest. Social media is noisy. Too many apps like Farmville and Mafia Wars are cluttering Facebook at break neck speed. I digest too many tweets I really don’t care about by people I want to follow, and aside from locally relevant “check-ins”, I don’t care where my friends in San Francisco and Chicago are having lunch, or what time they check into work via Foursquare.

Enter Google Buzz. Buzz is an add-on to Gmail. Google is good at a lot of things, but what is their core service? Search. And to be king of search, you have to be king of relevancy. Advertisers and marketers flock to Google services because Google knows how to deliver their messages most effectively. Take a look at the flip side and you’ll find a Google user that is presented with relevant information in the form of a search or advertisement. I like to look at Google as being the best at organizing the collective digital sphere. Google dominates as a search provider, as a commanding 67% of users turn to it. The next closest competitor? Yahoo search at 14%. As a parent company, Google has an active reach of 84%.

So here’s where Google Buzz comes into play. If Google Buzz can help me navigate the social media waters and deliver the most relevant content, it will change social media. No more wading through tons of Farmville updates, unless of course you’re into Farmville. And yes I know I can block certain applications, but that is not the point. Since Google already knows that I’m into DSLR photography and digital editing based on my searches and usage habits, Buzz will hopefully help sort through the noise and deliver updates that are relevant.

There are a few drawbacks though, and hopefully Google will address these. First, I can’t update the other platforms from Buzz, it’s only an aggregator of sorts. So you can’t update your Facebook or Foursquare status from Buzz. Currently, Buzz only supports from Picasa, Twitter, Google Reader, Google Chat and Flickr. Hopefully it will evolve to support activity from Facebook, LinkedIn and such eventually. For now, I’m buzzing, care to connect?