Google Buzz – damp squib or firecracker?
Last week, Google finally joined the social media trend by integrating social networking into Gmail. Unfortunately ‘Buzz’ has run into some pretty big problems pretty immediately.
Buzz users and bloggers noticed that there were some pretty big privacy issues around the new Google offering, and now even the Electronic Privacy Information Centre, a US privacy watchdog group, has filed a complaint. Apparently the group is urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Buzz for violating the company’s user privacy agreement and even federal wiretapping laws.
Google has responded by moving to implement changes as quickly as possible, with some of them taking effect this week. “We’ll be making some significant product improvements over the next few days based on user feedback,” a spokesperson for Google said. “The user always comes first.”
Despite these issues, Buzz is…well, buzzing. The network claims to see over 160,000 Google Buzz posts and comments per hour, and although it got off to a rough start and still has a lot of catching up to do, it seems pretty popular so far.
Google may have entered the social media playground a little late, and made some school-boy errors, but the implications of Google, as a massive online force, dabbling in social media, could result in dramatic changes to social media, as a tool, as an industry and as we know it.
What do you think? Are the privacy issues going to permanently damage Google? And do you think Buzz is serious competition for Twitter, Facebook and so on?