Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Google maps for mobile and google buzz

Buzzzzzzz! You might have heard or tried this new google application. It integrates fully with gmail to provide a new and rapidly expanding layer of social networking to the popular web based email client. But, have you heard about its geolocation features? When you post publicly with a location enabled device your little status updates can show up on google maps. Right now this is only available on android powerd devices and the iphone through the google maps application.

Is this a privacy issue or will it enable a new level of sharing and worldwide interaction? Probably both. Within my first few minutes of using this feature I had replied to buzzes from 4 continents and some islands that I will probably never visit. True, you can do that with twitter but it feels much more interactive and fun here. Its also potentially more invasive as you're somewhat linking your email accounts together, a much more personal interaction than a twitter profile.

How does this differ from google latitude, the failed geolocation application that was supposed to have learned from the startup dodgeball? It really doesn't. Except that this actually is fun. Why is it fun? I can't even tell you. It doesn't have a game element like foursquare, gowalla, or mytown. It doesn't have a let's share where we are so we can meet up and party attitude like brightkite or dodgeball. It's basically just google latitude done over again. The main difference that I see here is that instead of approaching it from a privacy concerned viewpoint it just popped up as a new layer on my map, and it was full of little bubbles I could read. Compare this to brightkite, a service that started in Denver and for years has tried to get this late adopter city to post geolocation statuses, and the the difference is immediately apparent. On brightkite there are "2" status updates within 4 kilometers of me in the past 2 hours. Then look at the image above. Buzz has been up for about 24 hours and look at all those messages. Whether or not Buzz is a facebook or twitter killer, I don't know, but bye bye brightkite. All bk has going for it is its facebook integration, which buzz is not likely to get.

 We'll just have to see how this plays out, but its very interesting and I predict incredibly explosive growth unlike anything we've seen before.


Jason said...

Good read, Guy. I haven't had a chance to play with Buzz yet, but I'm already seeing a number of updates from people in my Buzz and I agree with you that it looks more interactive than Twitter.

On a tagent... this latest launch of a social networking app has put me into selection overload. I consider myself a fairly low transaction user of social networking apps, but yet I've already reached a point where I'm just about saying "Enough!". What's your opinion about the barrage of social networking apps? Do you think the increasing selection of apps will cause confusion and fracturing of virtual social networks?

Guy Mason said...

It's always been difficult to keep up with even one busy social network. I can rarely read all the posts from people I follow on twitter anymore. I try to read everything on facebook but facebook itself is making that more difficult. I think people are likely to only stay active with one to three social networks, as that is about the limit they can handle. I think buzz is going to eliminate a number of the smaller "helper" social networks because it makes them unnecessary. Although it will be difficult to supplant facebook since it has passed a tipping point of usage in the population, buzz appears poised to also become one that people will not be able to get away from since it is so closely integrated into an already massively popular tool. I dont' even see how to turn off buzz if you wanted to, although you can filter out the messages from your inbox. Filtering the useful info from the crap will be an increasing challenge.