Today, Google announced Google Buzz which is their play into the social web.
Here’s a look at how it works.
On the face of it, the simplicity of it seems similar to a microblogging tool such as twitter (you have a space to write your update). However, it is embedded in the gmail interface, making it easy to transition between your email and buzz. You also have a notification bar just below the text box, telling you important updates (in this case if you have new followers, whether or not you are already following them, and a link to find new followers; a very simple, clean, logical design.
What takes it way beyond something like twitter, is the ability to add pictures, video etc. into the post so it’s a lot more like blogging in that sense (yet a lot simpler). In the screengrab below you see a post from Ed showing the snow in Oslo. Also notice the ability to reply with a chat message… so very good integration with both gmail and chat. Also notice that the Buzz has been posted as publicly visible, you can also post it privately to only your chat contacts.
As you can see, you can like, comment, email and reply by chat to a particular “buzz”
You can also take other actions such as linking to a buzz, viewing all buzz from that person, stop following that person, or muting that conversation which will make it disappear from your feed.
A pretty useful thing is that it can analyse your communication habits in order to suggest people to follow. As Google Buzz grows, this will help you by suggesting people that you already communicate a lot with (via chat and email).
Openness is an important aspect, and connectivity to other online tools that we use is available. The screenshot below shows some of the initial ones such as Google chat, Google Reader, twitter, picasa, flickr etc. but this list will grow and grow. This means that your actions in these other social networks will automatically update your buzz.
An added benefit is that this should also play into Google’s social search, which will show you more relevant search results on google.com based on things that your own personal network are sharing and find useful.
In conclusion – a great start with a good clean design. Twitter have not really innovated much since they launched so it’s great to see Google driving some new ideas into the world of the social web.