The Null Device
Google have just announced their latest bite at the social-software cherry: it's called Google Buzz
, is integrated into Gmail (with mobile web-based clients for iPhones and Android phones), and, from the video on the site, appears to be a way of sharing status updates, with optional embedded images, videos or links, to your Gmail contact list; it seems much like Facebook's Publisher, in other words. There seems to be a location-based component, with the mobile clients inferring where you are and optionally sharing that information, and also the ability to see posts from people located geographically nearby. Buzz seems to attempt to identify the actual building or establishment one is in, which could lead to Foursquare-like location-based functionality. It also has some means of interacting with other sites, such as Twitter and Flickr (though, obviously, not Facebook).
Buzz is rolling out to Gmail users over the next few days (much in the way that the new Facebook layout took the best part of a week to reach everybody), but from the video and blog announcements, it looks quite nicely designed. Of course, Google haven't had a huge amount of luck with social platforms yet (there was Orkut, which was somewhat of an odd fit for the rest of Google's line, and the OpenSocial/Friend Connect APIs, whose lunch Facebook Connect seems to have eaten), and it remains to be seen whether this time will be any different.
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