So Google Goes Social (Again)

So Google Goes Social (Again)

Just when you thought there could be no more social networks left to invent, Google joins the social network party again. The reason is they say again is that roughly the same time last year, they made an announcement about a little project that was to become Google Wave. Then there was Google SideWiki which was another social functionality provided by the search giant.

So my question is where does Google Buzz fit into the equation? And the answer I have come to is that I am not too sure.

When Google Wave was announced, I had many of my non-tech friends come up to me and ask plenty of questions about the news. They wanted to know whether or not they needed Facebook, Skype, et al anymore because Google was going to promote this fantastic collaboration tool for both business and pleasure.

Last night however, not one of those people was asking me about Google Buzz.

Now I am not saying it is a guaranteed fail on Google’s part – it’s not really comparing apples with apples. But one of my associates on Twitter (@DDsD) made a very good point:

@BenTortora Not entirely,Google Buzz is like a non-real-time wave.. but that’s what people are used to, wave is too complicated for most.

And I completely agree with that statement. That is the exact spot where the application needs to sit. However, many people are active on one of the following networks:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Foursquare

And from our research and questioning of social network users, not many want another aggregator or somewhere else to connect with people. With Facebook and MySpace about to launch full-blown email services, taking with them their massive existing user base – it seems Google is on the defensive trying to make their email client social.

Another reason why I am not completely sold on the service is the same reason why those aggregators never really perform as well as the networks independently – people are connecting with different groups of people on different networks. I know myself personally, I do not add anyone I have not met face-to-face on my Facebook; I don’t have any personal connections – only business – on LinkedIn; on Twitter I connect and share with both friends, strangers, industry leaders and bloggers that I follow. Aggregating all those different status updates and links would add more noise to those networks – the last thing any user wants from a service.

I guess it all boils down to the fact that I am not really a power user of Gmail to begin with, and the announcement hasn’t really swayed me to become one. And if Google wants it to be Wave for the masses, they are going to need to bump their awareness campaign past forcing people to check it out when they sign into their Gmail.

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