Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here's the Buzz

OK. I confess. I'm a Googlehead. If Google did it, I'm odds-on favorite to like it. And use whatever it is we're talking about. I should say that these comments apply to Google software, not hardware like phones.

But I do use a lot of Google stuff, some of it every day like: Blogger, the search engine (every day, all day)--an aside: I discovered Google search long before the rest of the world did, and it was damn good even way back then--the calendar, Gmail, News, and You Tube. Stuff I use at least once a week: Google movie (features and show times for theaters near me), maps, language tools (the translator),  Google groups, and notebook. And now Buzz (see below). Plus I regularly use Google Earth--did you know you can look at the sky from any point on the globe with Google Earth? And that there are such things as Google Moon and Google Mars?--Picassa, and several specialized searchers: desktop, books, scholar (journal articles). I can say without equivocation that Google is the best that has happened for scholars and research in the past 25 years. When I was in grad school computers and all their everyday wonders of now were still years in the future. We actually had to find things in big ole reference books and card catalogs and in printed bibliographies. And we historians had to go to libraries to view primary sources in manuscript collections. A ton of this research can now be accomplished on your home computer.

But all this is just a prelude to some comments on the newest Google thing out there: Buzz. Which is Google's answer to the other social networking tools: Twitter, Facebook, and MyPage. It's only been around for about a week, and heavy hitters are lining up behind it. Apparently, after 7 days, Buzz has users numbering about a quarter of Facebook's. That would be a about 100 million users, brothers & sisters.

And why this swift acceptance? Well, because Buzz integrates right into the vastly used Gmail. No muss, no fuss. Without actually being obtrusive, Buzz is right there in your face all the time. Plus it's got all the slick tools that FB does: you can include photos, maps, URLs, video, etc. There were some privacy concerns upon the rollout--here's a New York Times piece about that--but Google moved promptly to meet the complaints, and now is just paused for a period of steady growth.

I might have some more to say about this later after I get a feel for it. Meantime, the official Google Buzz site is here. Check it out.
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