What's wrong with Google Buzz?
This week, Google rolled out a new social media platform. But not everyone is in love with Google Buzz.
It's getting to the point where it's tough for any new technology to get a fair shake from reviewers – by the time the thing gets rolled out, it's been chewed up and spit out a dozen times over. It happened with the Droid, it happened with the Apple iPad, and it's happening with Google Buzz, the social media platform launched this week by Google.Skip to next paragraph
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The loudest complaints have to do with the privacy settings on Google Buzz. As Horizons blogger Andrew Heining reported yesterday, some bloggers have argued that the "Autofollow" setting on Google Buzz could unnecessarily violate some users' privacy. Others worry that the GPS functionalities on Google Buzz mobile go a little too far. (Google's Todd Jackson says Google is tweaking the settings on Buzz to increase privacy control.)
Then there are the folks who say that the excitement surrounding Google Buzz is a little overblown. Over at CNET, Caroline McCarthy says we've passed the point where the rise of one social media platform proceeds the death of another. Twitter, she points out, is growing fast, but thus far, Twitter hasn't stolen anything from Facebook. It's an interesting point, and McCarthy defends it well.
McCarthy also argues that no matter how much attention Google Buzz gets, Facebook is a more dynamic experience for the time being:
There's a whole lot else that people do on Facebook besides comment on one another's status messages – the biggest of which is the company's groundbreaking third-party app platform. The biggest social game on Facebook, Zynga's Farmville, attracts 75 million people per month. That's nearly a fifth of the social network playing a single game. Then there are the people who engage in other sorts of "games" on Facebook: the social capital that members feel they earn by getting tagged in a lot of photos and having a ton of wall posts from friends should not be sniffed at either, for example.
For this blogger, however, the immediate problem with Google Buzz is that it's too dynamic. There's enough to worry about with the chat function on Gmail, and all those incoming emails. Now we've got to track Buzz, as well? ZDNet's Jason Perlow agrees. Perlow recently signed up for Buzz, and found himself buried in messages. Buzz is cool, Perlow says, but it's "a bit too Alpha and uncontrolled for me to participate in it right now."
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