Thoughts On Buzz

Reece asked me in the comments the other day what I thought about Buzz. I told him I hadn't had the time to turn it on and play with it. I did that later in the day and have been using Buzz for a couple days. So here goes Reece.

I'll state right up front that there are elements of Buzz that are derivative of Twitter, Tumblr, Disqus, and Foursquare (and many other services) and being that our firm is invested in some of those services, I can't be and won't be unbiased in my views of Buzz.

I think Buzz is Google's finest implementation of "social" to date. It is a given in the web/tech circles that "google doesn't get social". So maybe the most important thing about Buzz is that it puts that idea to rest. 

I also think that the decision to place Buzz into gmail was a smart move. Every time I move to my gmail tabs (I keep gmail open in two to three tabs at all times), I see something like this:

Buzz
That's quite a temptation to click on Buzz and see what those 42 messages are about. And I've done that at least a dozen times the past couple days.

But that is also one of my big issues with Buzz. That (42) number includes replies to buzzes (can I call them tweets?) that the people I am following leave. Buzz copies the FriendFeed user experience for the most part. And as much as I admire FriendFeed and the people who built it, I don't believe that is a compelling experience for the mainstream user.

When I follow Pete Cashmore in Buzz, I'm basically following all of his fans. And my Buzz timeline is filled with all of their replies to his posts. I think that user experience works well in something like this blog and the comments. I don't think it works well in a mass medium where I want to follow hundreds of people.

Like FriendFeed, Buzz allows me to "pump my data into it". It is an aggregator as well as a updating service. But that poses a problem in some ways. What does this service want to be? Once I pumped this blog, my tumblog, and my twitter into Buzz, I was done. You can all follow me in Buzz here.

I've updated Buzz once or twice since then, but since I can update Buzz via this blog, twitter, and tumblr, I think that will be my favored approach. That's what I do with Facebook and that's what I did with FriendFeeed. 

I'm not saying that everyone will do that. Clearly that is not the case. But of the 9 million posts and comments that people have submitted to Buzz since it launched, how many of those were brand new status updates and how many were items automatically pumped into Buzz and how many were comments?

I believe the most compelling experiences on the Internet do one thing and do it very well and then open themselves up to other services via an API. Buzz is trying to do way too much in my opinion and while that may work for many people, it does't work that well for me.

I think mobile presents some amazing opportunities for Google and Buzz. You can already see Buzzes near you on Google Maps on Android (via a layer in the map). I think that's a very interesting place and way to receive Buzzes. And when you search for and select a specific place on Google Maps on Android, you can "buzz about that place." I did that the other day using my Google phone in my office. That's like a Foursquare checkin and you know that I think mobile checkins are a fantastic way to create social utility.

My partner Albert who still builds web apps, posted about Buzz and he had some favorable things to say about the Buzz API. If third party app developers start building Buzz apps, or building Buzz into their existing mobile apps, that will be a big plus. I'm sure it will happen.

So in summary, Buzz doesn't really do it for me but I think it's an important new entrant in the world of social media and given that it's from google, it's in gmail, it's nicely integrated into their mobile offerings, it has an excellent API, and it will be constantly improved, it's likely that Buzz will turn out to be an important player in the social media world.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. chris dixon

    Huge overstatement to say Google now gets social. Buzz is a messy copy of other existing servives (FF etc) – at best.

    1. Louis Berlan

      I agree, and I have trouble with the separation between the services. To me, it has no specific value as of yet.(On a side note, where did the “like” button go – am I the only one to have lost it?)

      1. Aviah Laor

        refresh the page

        1. Louis Berlan

          Didn’t work – I had to restart my computer. Bizzare…

    2. fredwilson

      9 million posts and comments in three days suggests otherwise Chris

      1. chris dixon

        they rolled it out to every gmail user so of course they got people playing with it. i am 10 of those posts and i since turned it off.

        1. fredwilson

          you may be right. in some ways I hope you are.by the way, i really liked your post yesterday

          1. chris dixon

            you are gracious to say these things about google considering they knocked off half of your portfolio companies 🙂 I thought it was funny watching a video with Sergey yesterday when he said social was just a “ranking” problem like search. what carries you up will also bring you down….

          2. fredwilson

            imitation is the finest form of flatteryi wrote a year ago that the “status update has become the ultimate socialgesture”http://www.avc.com/a_vc/200…now we are seeing two things happenfirst, big companies are jumping onto that idea. facebook and google are twogreat examplessecond, we are seeing startups re-invent and re-define what a status updateis (foursquare, blippy, plancast, etc)it’s never a dull moment working on the web. you gotta move fast and lead.following only works for the big guys

          3. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

            “it’s never a dull moment working on the web. you gotta move fast and lead. following only works for the big guys.”Another great sentence. I’m with Chris on whether Buzz shows that Google gets social, though.

          4. karen_e

            In my industry, use of the LinkedIn status update has *really* taken off.

          5. markslater

            brill

          6. Mark Essel

            I’m sure we’ll see many shades and forms of status: health/medical, emotional, artistic/creative. The interface for self expression will never remain stationary.

    3. awaldstein

      I agree. Buzz is less about community and more like another crowd. A hodgepodge.The thing that Facebook does well, is to connect across age groups. To my experience, teens and young twenty-somethings don’t use email. They will be left out of the Buzz paradigm.I guess I don’t really know what to do with it in the face of my other networks.

      1. fredwilson

        my oldest daughter who is in college sent me a blackberry messenger lastnight”what do you make of Buzz”i replied this morning with a link to this post and asked her “will you useit”she uses gmail, facebook, bbm, sms, and bloggerit will be interesting to see if buzz makes it into that mix

        1. awaldstein

          You should do a follow up post on this in a bit to flesh this out.The teen and YA market are great indicators of the future. They are honest. They don’t have much baggage. They aren’t afraid to try and adopt new things (like video) and they are wildly viral. I always use them as a lens on new consumer social apps.

          1. Andrey

            I agree that teen and YA are great indicators. But then again, I’m not one of them and I will stick around for a while. This market, if can call it that, develops so fast that it will reinvent itself couple times before teens get to form workforce. I guess it all depends on how you define young adults. In my book almost all of them use gmail.

          2. awaldstein

            Andrey–thanks much for sharing. Maybe I hit it wrong re: gmail.I do believe that in fashion, art, and tech lifestyle, those without preconceptions of how it should be (regardless of age ;)) determine the future.

        2. kidmercury

          IMHO your daughter and probably most folks in your close social network are too much of early adopters. IMHO buzz will be great for those who don’t have a blog, login to facebook once a month or every couple weeks. the people that don’t “get” social media (but they will now because gmail gives buzz context of social graph).

        3. Mark Essel

          I’ll find out if my fiancé uses it. She uses gmail and is a big Facebooker.

          1. fredwilson

            Pls report back

        4. Rich2001

          Can’t help but appreciate your ‘humbleness’ in a post like this.Quick focus group research among my offspring (16-21) – initial reaction was to ‘Buzz off’ – they rarely use any form of email at this point (interesting generational, only for Grandma and attachments).However, watch old school social games on mobile (poker, scrabble, backgammon). They are each playing 10-20 simultaneous games against friends (and parents). Just a couple moves a day…

          1. fredwilson

            That pretty much sums up my kids until they get to college (actually college applications)For some reason, it was around then they adopted gmail and blogger

    4. Mark Essel

      I’d say it’s substantially better than most social first releases. Expect them to plug the holes fast (not updating on comments to other people’s buzzes as a default, etc).I prefer status integration with gmail, but it doesn’t mean I won’t use twitter (tweetdeck, tweetie).Interop is where Buzz is headed. Expect it in Seesmic, Tweetdeck, etc shortly

    5. ErikSchwartz

      I am going to rant for a second.We have no idea whether Google gets “social” or not. We won’t know if they do until we see what they do next. I was about the 3000th person on twttr (spelling intentional). It sucked back then. It was way too SMS focused. It was impossible to find people. It was impossible find discussions. But that didn’t mean the team (Odeo at the time) didn’t get social. What proves that is what they did next.This is what drives me INSANE about the “social media expert” crowd (I don’t mean you Chris) who are out there cluttering up world. This is an iterative process. There are no “hire me for a day long seminar” and you’ll get social. Social media is not compatible with ISO 9000.

      1. chris dixon

        I’m not basing “google doesn’t get social” on Buzz – i’m basing it on their past 5+ years of social attempts.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          Where else have they given social real distribution? Is Orkut even available in the US? When I was last looking to try it (2005?) it was invite only. They didn’t do anything with Dodgeball or Jaiku.This seems like the first time the’re getting behind distribution by integrating a social product.

          1. chris dixon

            Dodgeball, Jaiku, Orkut, Knoll, Video (vs Youtube), Wave, Reader social features, Picasa social (vs Flickr)

      2. Aviah Laor

        +1. Social is a continuum – say between email on one side and FB on the other end. Google certainly figured out social email (first to introduce conversations in email), and they will move upwards. I almost said slowly and surely, but the slowly part is questionable.

      3. fredwilson

        Nice rant erik

  2. Aviah Laor

    A few thoughts:1. There was a thread here about the distributed social web as a threat to the centralized Facebook. Buzz is the realization of that.2. Google had the chicken & egg problem with Buzz, so they just threw everything in. They will probably add filters later.3. Buzz will skim the grown-ups (those who have credit cards) and will leave Facebook with much less profitable teens.4. The next target is Paypal. Buzz can easily become a Paypal killer. Once you pay something for any Google service than payment for everything is one click away.5. Google is joining the G-8 forum, which from now on is called G-9, to be later replaced by Google-9 (they already have a foreign policy).6. DISQUS should hurry. really hurry.

    1. fredwilson

      who else will be in the google nine? amazon? facebook?

      1. Aviah Laor

        Not Facebook. IMHO, still, Facebook is the next GeoCities. Amazon probably.

        1. markslater

          hahaha – spot on

      2. Aviah Laor

        Funny, just occurred to me that when Amazon tried to compete with Google on search they named it A-9

    2. markslater

      actually if we are building a list about who should hurry because of buzz – here are my contributions (and you have to look at it from the point of view of the quality of defense that alot of these new services have in the face of people rapidly churning – it used to be patents – but none of these services have that)1. yelp – discovery and reviews are now a commodity – google has way too much geolocated information and search reach now2. Foursquare / gowalla / loopt – guys – google has a phone platform, has the worlds best mapping and geolocation tools and owns search. It is a small ask to build in a gaming layer, and to go real-time – seriously.3. facebook – this one is actually really scary. i hope its obvious to all here why zuck and his frat should be worried.whats going to be fascinating to me is to watch the dark side of this stuff. For over 5 years now – VCs and entrepreneurs have been waxing lyrical about how little it costs to “start up” and how easy it is to “innovate” (read code) – well there has to be an opposite to that. How quickly can your user base get wiped out, or your value get eaten up? (dont forget – you have not ring fenced with patents and what you have built is not difficult at all to replicate, so your only point of difference is getting big quick – see 1999)there is the really prospect of dramatic churn facing alot of these guys. Buzz may be a catalyst.

      1. AndreaF

        I am unsure about n.3, Facebook. I hate Facebook and never really used it until I needed to promote my new start up. I am now all the time on FB and although I still don’t like it, its power is obviously massive. It’s their game to lose. FB is becoming fast the internet default platform. Taking over the nice spot FB has will be tricky even for Google especially now that Bing (search) will be more engrained into FB and FB itself building an email platform. Interesting times ahead.

      2. Mark Essel

        Spot on Mark! Agree that dynamic pockets of value in web tech is shifting faster than ever before. I expect huge growth and equally sharp declines in web communities that don’t stick to the basics: Providing incredible value, service and cultivating trust.

      3. Aviah Laor

        Spot on. They should all worry.I thought of DISQUS as the alternative to FB, as a more reasonable social graph – which is now emerging in Buzz.

        1. markslater

          i think disqus needs to integrate with buzz to me it is complimentary – i am scrolling my buzz on my iphone right now and saw that fred checked in to the office using buzz – but i would like my disqus comments (this thread for instance) aggregated through buzz as well

          1. David Sanger

            first step would be to allow rel=”me” links on the Disqus profile so Google could verify identity and draw the Disqus site into the Social circle. From there it is easy to read the comment feed. I am amazed they don’t have the option.

        2. fredwilson

          I can’t put buzz on this blog right now

    3. xackr

      I don’t think Buzz will skim all the adults, I think it will skim the geek adults who represent a varying amount of wealth. Farmville, love it or hate it, is cleaning up right now. I think Facebook may decide to split into two volumes – Facebook for Fun (the Farmville crowd) and Facebook Pro (business to business). If they do that and succeed in embedding a good search product – they could be a big problem for some folks.

      1. RichardF

        I think Facebook will struggle with the business side, they have brand problem there imo

        1. xackr

          Richard not sure what it’s like where you are, but here in my hometown just about every business is slapping the Facebook logo on their advertising. I just held a seminar and taught some Navy people who have been told to create a Facebook page for the Navy Base. When I drive around town, I don’t see a single Google logo. There’s a huge billboard by the interstate that is 70% Facebook logo for a local mattress company. I’m positive Facebook is paying zero for that exposure. Facebook is the darling of businesses around here.

          1. RichardF

            Sorry I misunderstood what you meant.re the billboards that’s really interesting, I’ve not seen any off line facebook advertising here in the UK.Actually what I meant was that I think Facebook has a branding issue with regard to a professional social graph

          2. xackr

            No question Richard, I agree that tech is not enthused about it. But it’s opened a channel between business and customer that doesn’t require going to see a guru and that has been very disruptive – at least here.

          3. ShanaC

            Now that is interesting- I’m getting marketed all sort of stuff to, and a lot of people are based out of small communities in NYC no less. I don’t think the people who are spreading around this stuff quite understand what is going on either…

      2. Aviah Laor

        Maybe? personally I can’t think of Facebook as a business tool, but FB should certainly consider your idea in order to compete Google. But than they loose their “we are so cool” mojo? Google is smart here because they focus on the “gray but more useful” they are already strong at.

      3. Wavelengths

        Are you giving your sweetie a $40 “unwither ring” for Valentine’s day? (250 in FarmVille cash) Talk about monetizing a “free” game!

        1. xackr

          Just to be clear. I don’t play Farmville or any computer games. I’m more a “drinking games” kind of guy. Which I don’t consider FourSquare to be a “game” to appeal to a “gamer” mindset. I think it’s more like a “drinking game” – last man standing is the mayor.

          1. fredwilson

            😉

  3. Dave Pinsen

    I think I’m going to wait until the chaos consolidates before trying to figure out another social medium and decide whether it’s worth investing any time in it.

    1. David Noël

      Same here, Dave. The Wave crate is not too distant and practically irrelevant in my social graph

      1. Dave Pinsen

        I’m still trying to figure out what a “social graph” is, so you’re way ahead of me. But it’s funny that I had totally forgotten about the wave hype.

        1. David Noël

          See 😉 #wave

        2. David Noël

          Typo up there: craze instead of crate

    2. ShanaC

      Dave, you are the smartest person here right now…..

  4. kidmercury

    buzz is huge, i don’t really like it (google fear keeps me off most google products, save gmail), but integration with gmail gives it a HUGE edge over competing services. new app integrates with mainstream app, that’s a textbook way of crossing the chasm.a few thoughts i wanted to share:1. any company with a “get a lot of users and have primary cost be infrastructure (i.e. servers, bandwidth)” is at risk of competing too closely with google. it’s like going one on one with michael jordan in his prime. i wouldn’t recommend it, not even if you’re lebron.2. more and more evidence suggests stallman is right, and that cloud computing will lead to one world internet. google dropped more news about their ISP service yesterday too.3. the solution is open source. open source apps made by open source production communities financed by companies with a non-technology core (i.e. game design, media publishing, niche expertise). web 2012.i still don’t think google “gets” social. to really “get” social, you have to go gaming. and therein lies google’s achilles heel, they’ll never get gaming, because a borg company can’t get something as social/cultural/psychological as gaming. we’re still in round 1 of gaming. as such one might argue that social has just begun, and that google’s own structure and existing operations serve as a hindrance in emerging gaming market — another sign we’ll see gaming be what disrupts the incumbent.

    1. fredwilson

      interesting that what separates foursquare from the pack of clones is howwell the game dynamics are executedgreat insight kid

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        It’s not just a pack of clones. Some apps are taking the basic “check-in” functionality and pushing it in different ways.

        1. markslater

          Buzz is absolutely awsome. I’ll just leave it at thathere is my prediction. People would much rather play the game that provides them with some tangible measurable benefit (like cost saving accumulation) – rather than a virtual badge and a diluted merchant promise.

          1. Guest

            I’m not sure I agree with that. When I play a game, I do so out of fun… not with the expectation I’m going to save 50 cents on a cup of coffee, or $5 on a t-shirt.

        2. Mark Essel

          A better term is startup forks

          1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

            I like that.

          2. Mark Essel

            I’m learning the ways of open source and git. Don’t like the way a code project is going, or want it your way? just Fork it!

      2. MikeSchinkel

        I keep trying to like FourSquare, but it just doesn’t have a compelling draw for me. It’s use of “First name Last initial” instead of a screen name like Twitter means I never know if “John S” is someone I know of not. It’s iPhone app loads too slow and is too complex. I’ve yet to find myself feeling like “I must checkin here!” Instead I think “Oh, maybe I should checkin in hopes they’ve finally made it interesting.” I really want to like it, I just don’t.

        1. fredwilson

          Its raw and has to get better in all the areas you outline and more

    2. Aviah Laor

      but they will own the non-gaming pie.

      1. kidmercury

        indeed. though i suspect that will also end up being the non-money part of the pie as well.

    3. Ed Freyfogle

      re: google fear and thus not using their products – you use them whether you want to or not. When you use this site – Google analytics knows. Between Google analytics, maps and adsense Google can track you across most sites on the internet, whether you ever agreed to a terms of service or not.I’m personally not a privacy freak, but I think the fear of “big brother” (especially outside the US where it rightly or wrongly assumed all massive US communications companies are in bed with US govt) is too big of a target for some politician to resist. Populist legislation around the privacy issue is for me Google’s biggest strategic threat.

      1. kidmercury

        yes, i agree there is no escaping google, for now. you hypothesized populist demand will lead to govt intervention to spoil google’s fun — i agree this is possible, though i think it is also possible greater awareness of digital rights will lead to greater demands for privacy friendly solutions from the private sector, and so that is also a part of my google abstinence logic — to fuel consumer demand for privacy solutions. as an example of what i mean, i’d much rather support an inferior search engine like startpage.com, a startup run by privacy fanatics, then feed the google machine (though agreed the google machine is omnipresent enough to see me anyway).

    4. raycote

      If I hear you correctly, you are implying that when the X MEN finally land, their first words will be “TAKE US TO YOUR GOOGLE”I am curious to know more about the context in which you use the word gaming as a disruptive incumbent.I am an old guy. Never really got into games much.I could never really afford the time. I am a little dyslexic. Meaning I am input/output bound and syntactical transformations are a time consuming hill for me to climb.(writing this here is even a lot of work, so please excuse the spelling and word stumbles)My wetware-resource constraints, time limit my knowledge drill down opportunities. This means, as a practical matter, I cannot afford to be a postmodern man. I am forced to work with reusable overarching social themes and frameworks. I do realize, that under today’s high speed electric condition, the modernity of such themes and frameworks has a very shot half life before environmental dynamics sweep them into history’s dust bin.IMHO, collaboratively overhauling and updating universal social themes and epistemological memes is simply an eternal social challenge. To be effective, epistemological memes must have efficacy, be easy to learn, easy to visualize and easy to socially participate in. In short they must be accessible to all. Otherwise the forces of oligarchic lock down will simply continue to morph around any efforts by civil society to access the full inventory of social capital that is crucial to web enabled creative synthesis.In order to extend the useful half life of a given overarching social theme or epistemological frameworks, it helps to zoom out to an appropriately generic level in order to accommodate abstract reuse. Taken to a Zen extreme by zooming way way out, we are left with nothing but change itself as our only reusable. Now if we zoom back in until the epistemological themes have some practical granularity but are still general enough to have some enduring technical and social utility, what should our zoom-o-meter focus on?LIVING SYSTEMS and the reusable epistemological memes that can be distilled form them! In other words, let us not be to proud to use the biosphere as a cheat sheet for building our own noosphere.We need to focus our social networking memes around building a virtual perceptual space, not a social net work that is out there, but a video game that mimics the dynamics of being injected into a living organic system, where your gaming persona survives by mastering the themes and memes appropriate to reaching mutually beneficial homeostasis within your specific social organism’s game motif. Hopefully the games could also focus on developing some organic social-graph techniques for identify and stomping the neo-cheating defectors that will inevitable attempt to game the game. I guess coming up with the solution to the prisoners dilemma is asking a little too much of any game.Any social organism can serve as the motif, inside you own body, inside you own head, family, group, community, political entities, corporate entities or even the living system that is our present international bank looting debacle.Sort of like 2nd-life but imposing a more realistic mix of social graph, experimental organic dynamic structuralism and an organic community lexicon primer for civil society .Game them into a lexicon of organic thinking. He who controls the language controls the debate. No more politics by ideology. Politics by goal and function. Politics based on an organic interplay between social goals, social-graph explorations of all the available methods and an organic debate about how each possible method benefit which stakeholders. Socially well informed stakeholders? That could be an even bigger can of worms than our present mess ;-)In my dream of dreams, yes I do know I’m dreaming here, the games ultimately scaling up into reality. Where they displace the lunacy that is today’s, past due date, obsolete representative governance.Amongst the fiendsControlled by the screensWhat does it all meanMore than your eye can seeAnd ears can hearYear by yearAll the sense disappearsNonsense perseveresPrayers laced wit fearBewareIt might feel goodIt might sound a lil somethinbut Damn the gameIf it don’t mean nuttinWhat is game who got gameWhere’s the gameIn lifeBehind the gameBehind the gameI got gameShe got gameWe got gameThey got gameHe got gameDoes it matter?Thought of reperations Got em playin wit the populationNothing to loseEverythings approvedPeople usedEven murders excusedGod takes care of ol folks and foolsWhile the devil takes careOf makin all the rulesFolks don’t even own themselvesPayin mental rentTo corporate presidents1 outta 1 million residentsBeing dissidentWho ain’t kissin itHey yo…I don’t think they heard ya Stevesing it again kick it to them againOne more timeThere’s something happenin hereWhat it is aint exactly clearThere’s a man with a gun over thereYeah that’s right HA HATelling me that I got to bewareIts time we stopped childrenWhat’s that sound everybody lookWhat’s going downSorry about repeating this lyrical passage but it goes so well with this particular post I couldn’t resist

      1. kidmercury

        “In my dream of dreams, yes I do know I’m dreaming here, the games ultimately scaling up into reality. Where they displace the lunacy that is today’s, past due date, obsolete representative governance.”yes, i think your dream will come true, and that games will be the new form of governance. life is a game we play!and love the buffalo springfield reference! 🙂

    5. Donna Brewington White

      I’m not a gamer, but I’m with you on this. I’m not a techie but I’m a social observer and intuitively just know that gaming is significant and that we haven’t scratched the surface of what it will develop into. It will be like a lot of things where the value isn’t inherent in the thing itself but in what we bring to it and how it’s used — which is one of the reasons I finally gave into my kids’ gaming instincts and even support this. I’m still not sure why Google has to go social in a copycat way…seems there is still a frontier out there. Also, even gaming in this early stage has a lot of untapped potential. Wouldn’t you think a powerhouse like Google could take social (including gaming) in a whole new direction? Seems like they could afford to sit it out until they came up with something truly phenomenal. It’s not like this social thing is going away — or is it the fear that they will lose valuable momentum by coming to the party too late?

  5. reece

    Fred, thanks for the response.”I believe the most compelling experiences on the Internet do one thing and do it very well and then open themselves up to other services via an API.”I agree here. I really like Google Reader, mostly because I can tailor exactly what I’ll see. Now with Buzz, I’m seeing everything that people share on Reader, whether I want to or not, and I’ve got to say – some of my contacts read some stupid stuff.Like you say, I think filters have a lot of potential to help. I know I can filter my input, but I’d also like to filter other people’s input. As of now, I’m seeing a lot of redundancies and that will just make Buzz annoying for me.For some though, I’m sure it’s the ultimate social aggregator.

    1. Mark Essel

      That offtopic sharing is what social is missing. Working it Reece, soon you’ll have your own customizable window to curate your friend and influencers streams to your tastes.I have to come up with a fully customizable UI though.

      1. reece

        Very cool.

  6. reece

    Also, Fred, I imagine this will spur some interesting conversations with each of your portfolio companies, and each will be very different in terms of strategy going forward…Twitter (supported by Buzz)Foursquare (not supported, blatantly in competition)Tumblr (not supported)Disqus (not supported, in competition – already people have commented on this post in Buzz, but not here on the AVC community)I say “supported” to mean an individual can include their Twitter feed in Buzz directly. The others must first publish to Twitter, in order to be seen in Buzz. Regardless, there are a lot of questions about how to handle it all…

    1. fredwilson

      good analysiswhat each of those companies should do is push buzz to support themdisqus did that well with friendfeed, for example

      1. reece

        Thanks.But will Google support 4SQ when it could cannibalize their own check-ins? Or do they support 4SQ fully and enable users to check-in to both using one service?I’m sure you’ll let us know when it’s all said and done…

        1. bartdenny

          Part of the power of a Buzz checkin is that the “buzz” shows up on that business’s Place Page in Google Maps (right now only shows in Android maps, but surely coming to the web shortly).Will Google aggregate foursquare checkins onto place pages as well?

          1. reece

            I’m not on Android, so I hadn’t seen that yet. Powerful stuff. We’ll see…Hopefully someone at Google is tuning in to this discussion and taking notes. I think this community is one of the smartest groups of early adopters there is…

        2. kidmercury

          IMHO none of these companies compete with google in an intimidating way. worst case scenario for google is that they are forced to buy them out and stifle innovation. more likely i think is that google supports them. google is designed to monetize on their turf or on your turf, so no need for them to start a platform war just yet, IMHO.

          1. reece

            Great point Kid.

      2. markslater

        yes eaxactly – well i can see that with Disqus. foursquare and twitter on the other hand…..its much less clear. especially foursquare.

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Anything that makes it easier to comment on something on the web is better in my eyes. I don’t think Buzz is competitive, just like I didn’t think FriendFeed and don’t think Facebook Connect is competitive (each of those services would kill Disqus, according to a few excitable bloggers).I haven’t spent enough time with Buzz, personally, but I have thought about it a lot in regards to how it’ll make our plans with Disqus even more effective. More people understanding social services, more comments, more likes, more engagement — all valuable for us and our direct competitors (other comment systems).This all assumes that we can play well with each other and not make the web even messier, which I think Google gets as well. I’m looking forward to our integration with Buzz…

      1. reece

        Agreed, and fantastic outlook and approach to it Daniel.I have no doubt you’ll be successful regardless.Keep it up.

  7. ssaint

    I also find the comments thing really annoying, I was following Jason Calcanis for a while, but the constant comments popping up (and being counted as unread) just filled it with conversations I didn’t want to be involved in…The other problem is that I follow techcrunch, for example, on twitter and in reader and now buzz, which means I have the same article shown to me in 4 different places.. google reader needs to identify when you’re subscribed to a feed and also following them on buzz, otherwise it shows up twice…

    1. fredwilson

      it’s friendfeed all over again, with all the good and the bad, this timeamplified by google

      1. Mark Essel

        I really enjoyed friendfeed. But it never reached critical network mass…

        1. fredwilson

          I didn’t but I know many who did. Different strokes for different folks

    2. Aviah Laor

      Buzz is more for following real people. Take a look, browse some pictures and get back to your mail. Enough to keep you away from Facebook for many hours.

    3. jasoncalacanis

      For the first time in years I’ve thought of posting something to somewhere other than Twitter first. That’s shocking to me.In fact, I’m going to remove my Twitter from posting to Buzz so that my Buzz items are of VERY high value. Tweets are casual, but I think Buzz is more like an email/important thing.I don’t know if my thinking is good or bad news for Twitter….

      1. CJ

        I’d say indifferent because most want a convergence of their social streams rather than a divergence. By creating an artificial schism between your Buzz and Twitter streams you just end up with followers who follow you in both places who are then tasked with the unenviable prospects of aggregating your thoughts back into one place. If, however, you can limit who can follow you on one stream vs. the other, you’re then able to use Buzz as a more cultivated version of the social stream…sorta like a Facebook Lite where the following of a person is a two way street, request/accept. But to my knowledge that isn’t possible so you’ll end up just having to spend more time cultivating your online tribe rather than less, which wouldn’t seem to be desirable since the schism is indeed artificially created by you.

      2. fredwilson

        Good for twitter and bad for buzz because I had to unfollow you on buzz. The noise your posts generate is really annoying

        1. Ryan Williams

          FYI you can “mute” threads; as you mentioned, some people are un-followable without doing so. Certainly this should be made more configurable, e.g. only notify me of new original buzzes, not comments, or just do that for certain people and not others.

  8. Bernardo Rodriguez

    I feel that Facebook, gmail and twitter are a different set of networks (friends, friends+business, everyone) and communication models. They all have status updates, but Twitter does one thing only and better: public status updates from a unique ID. That was revolutionary and allows great things to happen: from viral news in Iran to future powerful recommendation engines. I feel that BUZZ should feed from many sources, including twitter, but not pretend to go after its market – I think it can’t.

  9. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Oftentimes your best sentences come out as an aside instead of being your main point.The other day I blogged that sentence by you in the comments to your Chatroulette post paraphrasing “I can’t and I won’t tell my kids what they can’t do online”This time I’d like to highlight “I believe the most compelling experiences on the Internet do one thing and do it very well and then open themselves up to other services via an API.” I don’t know if that’s always true (Facebook does a bunch of things and it’s pretty powerful) but it’s certainly quite powerful (and illuminating of your investment choices).

    1. Adam Wexler

      i agree that fred’s “aside” is a very powerful statement. he echoes the sentiment that i’ve had for a while now.think a/b twitter to facebook. they basically recognized facebook’s most popular feaure, and built an entire business around it. it’s basically the same thing we did with iTunes most popular feature by stripping it down & making it all about the fans @ http://GoRankEm.comOnce companies get too inflated (i.e. Google), they try to do things that aren’t their core competencies. you must remain true to what makes you better than everyone or else you subject yourself to being heavily distracted by issues that arise from non-major situations.

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        Yep.

  10. David Noël

    I already posted this to Bijan’s post from yesterday so I’ll just paste it here as well:I’ve had a post in my head since the launch of Buzz and my comparison was that Google is becoming like a supermarket where it’s products are the cheaper white label products “copied” from other more popular but also more expensive brands whereas I specifically chose Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare over Buzz because of:- the brand- the people behind the brand (the case for Tumblr and Foursquare over Posterous or Gowalla)- I can keep a specific account/service closed for a while and go back and discover its content when I have time or feel like checking it outIn addition, the thing I find most interesting is the integration into the social graph in Gmail but I’M not yet sure I want it to be there.

    1. Mark Essel

      Your not alone on that feeling about the mixing of buzz with an email account. Did we lose the ability to maintain different networks?

      1. David Noël

        I *want* different networks. I love my “friends” over on Tumblr in adifferent way than my friends on Facebook. It’s like in real life, you don’tforce everyone to sit at the same table all the time.

        1. fredwilson

          Exactly. I posted about that today

          1. David Noël

            Yup, read it. Spot on.

    2. Joe Siewert

      Nice way of putting it. The cool thing here is that the user doesn’t have to pay more for the fancy differentiated brand because it’s all free. Makes me wonder why a “generic” brand would take off over the branded one, if cost is taken out of the picture. Then again, Google is certainly a powerful brand.

      1. David Noël

        Thanks, Joe!Actually yes we don’t pay, but they get hell of a lot of data from us and byGOOG locking you in to all their free services, you get the picture 😉

  11. cpiercy

    Nice job. This sums up my experience so far as well. I’m wondering though if having us pump all of that content into Buzz (by posting through Twitter, etc.) isn’t the main point. Basically, it’s us loading Googles database with social content that then enhances Google’s social search initiatives.Craig Piercy – Director, Master of Internet Technology program at University of Georgia.

  12. jkaljundi

    For me be the biggest value of Buzz are the longer discussions. Sure, you might have them here, but most people don’t blog. Twitter is more about single short updates, not longer quality discussions. Facebook unlike blogs and Twitter is more for discussions between friends, and even then I have found Buzz and Friendfeed discussions always being of higher quality than on Facebook. Discussions might not be for everyone, true, so the question is, how mass-market it will be.The mobile version is nice, but the most important part might be the API. Jyri (ex-Jaiku) had some good thoughts on Buzz opening up the world today: http://www.zengestrom.com/b

  13. Ed

    I think Google’s implementation of Buzz was amateurish. The condescension, arrogance, and greed seeping out of Mountainviewis NOT lost on millions of us mindless, mine-able commoners.They can appease the neighborhood with LGBT Day,but they’re as socially responsible as Ma Bell at their gluttonous peak.http://twitter.com/vl/statu

  14. Kevin

    Within 10 minutes I found it annoying that new buzz went to my email. I set up a filter so that I won’t see it, but trying to force that on people without an obvious opt out setting is a bad experience. Everyone I know was buzzing about how to get buzz out of their inbox.For me at least this will be useful for two types of social: 1.) social with friends that I see/talk to pretty regularly but who I never blog/tweet with (many of them don’t use twitter and rarely comment on FB, but are already using this) and 2.) the mobile stuff which I haven’t been a big user of so far (not a ton of Foursquare activity in Philly yet so less compelling than NYC, etc).I also think that this is an extension of Wave in many ways and that it may become a great way to collaborate on a project.Increasingly I want social networks for certain aspects of social — and not to be aggregators. Aggregators are aggravating for me.

    1. Mark Essel

      I see social networks as merely additional communication channels. If they don’t have the right dials or user network I drop them.

  15. RichardF

    For me Buzz is a mess. It may have huge potential but I think Google just missed a big opportunity to take the aggregation of social networking in one fell swoop. Everyone was waiting to see what they would come out with and instead of giving me something that made me think wow I am going to jump on this I’m looking at it thinking I can’t be bothered to figure out the nuances of it to make it work the way I want to, if it even does.Maybe peer pressure will make me look it again sometime soon but Google haven’t made me feel like I should bother

    1. markslater

      try it on the iphone – its freakin amazing

      1. RichardF

        I agree on their iphone app it is much better and I also like the map layer.I just want easy, bidirectional, granular filters. If Google do that in Buzz then I’m sold because there is just too much noise across social networks as a whole and nobody seems to be addressing that at the moment.

  16. seankelly

    Fair comment.

  17. ErikSchwartz

    At the end of the day the distribution Buzz has is the whole game. Having a link right next to the inbox makes this thing work. Until you’ve had Google or front page of Y! scale distribution you don’t truly understand its power.Yes, the implementation of Buzz isn’t quite as good as it should be yet (but when twitter was twttr their implementation was weak too). And it is also true google does not have the luxury of learning quietly and under the radar. I think they need to work on their default settings.But there are pieces of Buzz which are very well done (the Android/Maps integration is terrific). There is awesome power in the merging of your social graph and your search history. Does Buzz start sending you stuff based on search history? Not yet, but I bet they will.

    1. kidmercury

      “At the end of the day the distribution Buzz has is the whole game.” for sure. good enough product + killer distribution = winner

      1. Aviah Laor

        Disagree here. Microsoft has large enough distribution, and Hotmail is still bigger. But MSFT fails to integrate and their products are spread all over the place, each horse pulling to another direction. Google has the same amount of horses, but they still manage to work together.

        1. kidmercury

          right, but MSFT probably just as internal issues that are likely to plague a behemoth of a company like MSFT….meaning they have the pieces (the good enough product, the killer distribution) but internally they seem to have difficulty making the connection. perhaps as google establishes its place as a titan of technology they will have the same trouble. but if MSFT ever gets integration down, they may prove to be as seemingly omnipotent as google, maybe even more so, IMHO.

          1. Aviah Laor

            exactly.

        2. fredwilson

          Yahoo is the king of email. They have well over 100mm accounts. Hotmail is also bigger than gmailGmail has the best product for sure. I use it and love itBut if email is going to be a distribution point for social media then I think we’ll see a few companies knocking on yahoo and hotmail’s doors

    2. markslater

      great comment – i do agree with fred about how google struggles to “get social” but i dont believe that those who do can rely on this as being a defendable point of difference in the long run

    3. Mark Essel

      Google has plans to incorporate search history, with social status, behavior, etc. It’s scaring the bajesus out of me, but it’s what I would have done if I were Goog.Erik that personalized ad concept was what me and a friend worked out at Victus Media. We’re still working on compelling user social search tools (awesome defaults, but plenty of tweakability). Plus we share 90% of affiliate revenue with the host. I’m thinking Google’s cut may be a little higher 🙂

      1. ErikSchwartz

        It’s also why YHOO were damn fools not to get the Facebook deal done.

        1. fredwilson

          Blame the board and cfo for that. There were quite a few senior execs that wanted it very badly

    4. Aviah Laor

      You underestimate Google. Both Microsoft and Yahoo had (and still have) amazing distribution. Google real power, IMHO, is the INTEGRATION. They cover overwhelmingly large line of products, and still keep a unified vision and user experience.What do Sharepoint user, Xbox user, Silverlight developer, Office user and Windows Mobile has in common? nothing. What Google apps, Gmail, Android, Buzz etc have together? Everything. It’s this unique integration that counts. The only other company that gets this deep- almost metaphysical – unified integration is Apple, and it’s no wonder both companies are now leaders in innovation and growth.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        They have the POTENTIAL to do the integration. They have not done it yet. At the moment all they’ve given buzz is terrific distribution.There was a time (back in the 1990s) when Y! understood the power of integration.Apple’s fine with integration but a big part of their integration is the commoditization of all their partners (which is great for Apple but lousy for anyone else who wants to work on their platform).

        1. Aviah Laor

          fair enough. but it has the familiar look and feel for a start (zero design? :D)

      2. kidmercury

        that is true. goog does have the structure to allow for superior integration. a role model for tech visionaries everywhere in that regard. albert’s blog post, which fred highlighted in his blog, elaborates on this.

  18. Jeff Hilimire

    Fred, you’re one of the only people that have drawn the same conclusion as I have, mainly that Google Buzz is eerily similar to FriendFeed. That’s probably because not a ton of people used FF of course, but either way, I find it interesting that Google chose FF as their model as it really never took off the way other social networks did.I disagree with you about one thing. While this certainly points to Google being interested in social, I don’t think it means we can put away the “Google doesn’t get social” mentality. The fact that they are just now trying this so late in the game, and that THIS is what they came up with, is more a sign that they either still don’t get social or that they don’t have the right people focusing on it…yet.

    1. Mark Essel

      Jeff almost every friendfeeder drew the same comparison, so you’re not alone. But what friendfeed lacked wasn’t functionality, but user adoption. Even if only 10% of gmail users adopt Buzz, that’s a HUGE new information network.

      1. Jeff Hilimire

        Good point Mark, though the last numbers I saw on Gmail were around 170 million, so if 10% used Buzz we’d be talking about 17 million, which is a much larger number than FriendFeed but is it enough to move the needle? Not sure.Also, while I enjoyed FriendFeed I always felt there was something lacking. I used it (and still use it) mainly as an aggregator and disbursement tool (you can see it here in my lifestream: http://bit.ly/9ypJyc). I’m just not sure anyone can realistically expect to unseat Facebook unless they come with something altogether new and make it extremely easy for people to get all that built up content out of Facebook and into the new tool.

        1. Mark Essel

          The best attack against Facebook is to force them to be interoperable with other tools.This means fluid data mobility so that ultimately users benefit by gaining the ability to pick up and go anywhere they want with their attention and social connectivity. I have some sharp friends that love what Facebook is doing, but as long as I can’t easily port my Rolodex to other tools as a user, it’s a lock in system.

          1. ShanaC

            Actually, making Facebook interoperable with other tools may make it work better. Look at Twitter- it is interoperable- and now it works better. Though it is totally unclear where someone is in Twitter- but it works great because of it!

          2. Mark Essel

            The friendfeed guys are pushing facebook that way.My soapboxHttp://www.victusspiritus.com/

    2. ShanaC

      I think friendfeed was onto something- I just don’t think friendfeed should have allowed people to comment or like things in site. It should have sent comments and likes on their way to the right places as a true aggregator would have- which is why the damn site felt so confusing. What did friendfeed had to do with the main content? I used it, I still technically am part of it, I can’t figure out what it should be used for…That is a bad sign. If you can’t figure out some sort of basic idea, you screwed up…

      1. fredwilson

        That’s what I told the FF guys early on. Send the likes and comments to my blog via disqus, don’t post them on your serviceThey did it the other way and I never participated in their community as a result

  19. Kevin

    I’ve also noticed on multiple occasions that when I edit my profile it defaults to “Display my full name so I can be found in search” even though I have repeatedly unchecked that. I think it is possible that this is a bug since there have been a few times when it hasn’t happened. I also think it is possible that it is a strategy. If that is the case I will lose all trust in Google for trying to trick people. I really don’t know at this point — but I have noticed it on at least 4-5 occasions already.

    1. sssrinivasan

      Kevin – I agree with you on this totally. This “Display my full name so I can be found in search” keeps getting checked on. That issue combined with everything else is making me deeply suspicious – surely Google is not that stupid to trick us!

      1. Kevin

        I am giving them the benefit of the doubt for now; but this, combined with some other things I’ve noticed lately from them, makes me a little more skeptical.When Google (just Google) came out it was so minimal and so obvious. It just worked and there was no debate about any of this. Most everything else online at the time was a mess of annoyance. They were minimal and functional. Now? Now I’m wondering if they might be trying to trick me. I hope it’s a bug.

  20. xackr

    Fred, I agree with a lot of what you say but I have a couple of sticking points. When you give 50 million Gmail users a product getting 9 million posts really speaks poorly of BOTH products. My friend clicked the opt out link on the Buzz entry page and got Buzz anyway. So I’d love to know how many of the 9 million posts are “What the hell is this?”. I know that about a million of the posts are comments on Pete’s Mashable posts. They prove the medium jammed into the side of Gmail isn’t working. The other problem I have is, my blog, as pitiful as it is, is monetized in Blogger and by tossing it into Buzz I throw away that 35 cents I’m earning from Google every six months. 35 cents will buy 1 tenth of an Energy Drink. So to declare Buzz a hit when 50 million had to get it seems a bit premature. About 80% of my tech friends appear in Buzz but my family is still over in Facebook and I can’t imagine them migrating. The public profile fiasco was pretty chilling too. We’ll see. I love Google but this seems rushed to market to me, and not the result of some stunning innovation like FourSquare, which I think is a brilliant idea.

    1. markslater

      stunning innovation is way over the top – good idea – yes.

      1. xackr

        Yeah I agree Mark. Stunning innovation I guess I would reserve for that laser, built from eBay purchased parts, that shoots mosquitos out of the air. I still think FourSquare is more than a good idea and will stick with brilliant. The mayor thing seems genius to me unless you can point me to where it came from.

        1. markslater

          sure – think about the social construct or a part of society’s implicit social hierarchy that existed before the mayor came along.

          1. xackr

            Not sure I follow you. I can’t think of anyone with a location based app that made you the pixel Mayor of someplace before FourSquare and I consider that to be a strange attractor.

          2. markslater

            i am asking a deeper question. What makes you want to be a mayor of anywhere? the answer is simple. Its value is entirely in the fact that you tell people about it. it means you were ignored as a child.ok a bit harsh – but seriously what possible meaning is derived from telling people that you have been to a place more than them? its fickle, its twitstalking, and its a modern day regurgitation of a prior social construct.

          3. xackr

            I don’t think so Mark. It’s what we call around here “bragging rights.” I don’t think it’s symptomatic of some childhood trauma. The great thing for local businesses is, if you don’t keep visiting you can get unseated. It’s a really fun clever marketing tool – i.e. brilliant.

          4. markslater

            what are you bragging about? that you need AA?seriously – what is there to brag about? i am interested to know. Does it go something like….i have been here more times than you and that makes me XXXXXX than you?

          5. fredwilson

            Its a game. Its winning

          6. Joe Siewert

            Mayorships remind me of a high score in a video game or being the leading scorer in a basketball game or something. People like to compete.

          7. xackr

            Thanks Joe – well put.

          8. muratcannoyan

            Competition for sure, and I would add reciprocity.

          9. markslater

            but should you not be asking what you are competing over? i played football last night and lost and was pissed because i like competing at football (soccer here) – but i am trying to understand the competitive dynamic associated with being a mayor of a bar.

          10. Joe Siewert

            At a lot of places mayors are getting special deals/promotions on food and drink. I think that’s reason enough to compete for a mayorship. Who doesn’t like getting a free drink once in awhile?

          11. RichardF

            I can see the novelty of the Mayorship but think it will wear off. I think they need expand deals beyond the mayorship thing.Starbucks have it right, I get a free drink every time I buy a bag of beans from them using my Starbucks card or a free extra shot every time I pay for a drink with with my Starbucks card which makes far more sense to me

          12. Joe Siewert

            True, but as I think someone mentioned in another comment today, these types of services are iterative and constantly changing. Give Foursquare time to continue honing these ideas.

          13. fredwilson

            What do you think of a starbucks Foursquare hookup?

          14. kidmercury

            in the ideal games, prizes will be associated with reputation and privileges, i.e. becomign mayor enables you to do XXXX (get X% off, get first dibs on new products, etc). much like how the “badge” of a college degree opens up lots of doors for you in “the real world,” and hence is coveted for that reason. as gaming takes over everything, the badges become the key that unlocks opportunity.but, as we are in a very elementary phase of social gaming, we do have lots of simple games that don’t really the aforementioned apply gaming principles rigorously. i am bearish on their survival odds, but not on gaming as a whole.

          15. fredwilson

            Have you become one?

          16. fredwilson

            And its incredible. I must have been ignored as a child because every time I get a mayorship I get this great feeling

          17. markslater

            come on fred – it does say something

          18. markslater

            come on fred – it does say something

          19. fredwilson

            i’m sure there is a deep psychological reason why it matters to me and hundreds of thousands of other people who are using the service every day. i’m not going to pay a shrink to find out though

  21. Aviah Laor

    Buzz is confusing for now because it mixes two paradigms:”Email” == communicate with real people you know. It comes to you. You block spam.”Social Web” == everybody you accepted or followed could be many. You go for it.Buzz just brought “Social Web” to the inbox, and this is annoying. But once realized, people will remove all the “spam like” connections. And with a smaller group you know, Buzz will be great, real social, set of tools. Buzz will end up as coffee in the local Starbucks. A social inbox. FB etc: a huge crowded arena, sometimes visited.

  22. Chuck Blevins

    My issue is that gmail doesn’t distinguish between business and personal contacts (and based on there response they don’t perceive that divide). Even with a work and private email there is overlap, and many folks have multiple FB or Twitter accounts dedicated to that division. Google’s default assumes that my email account IS my persona and not a service that I use to manage the various sides of that persona into various other services. Perhaps I’m an oddity, but I use gmail as a control hub and from my perspective it’d be better if Buzz loosely orbited gmail instead of embedding directly into it. I think there needs to be more subtlety in it’s functionality for it to work for me.

    1. Chuck Blevins

      Gah, apologies for the spelling errors “their” and “its”.

  23. Diego Sana

    I agree with most of your thoughts. I think that placing buzz inside gmail was the smartest move to solve the chicken and egg dilemma that kills most of the social apps, but it may also become a shoot in google’s feet, as many users are feeling annoyed by the buzz ever-growing number of updates (i know i am) and once they turn it off, they may never come back even if google improve things.IMO, they should have rolled this out like they always did (by invitation), collecting feedback from closed beta users to improve the experience and cut the noise before opening the gates to everyone. The fact that they released it to the entirely gmail user base in a roll shows the power of their infrastructure (as Albert noted in his post), but also that Google may be starting to get arrogant.As for the API, i took a quick look and saw some nice stuff like enabling pubsubhubbub to push/pull data, but it’s not nearly as good as Twitter’s and i’m afraid it will never be. Although Google uses, promote and distribute open source software, they are not as open when it comes to their data and APIs. I.E., while any developer has ilimited calls to bing/yahoo search apis and can modify results order, you can’t do the same with Google’s.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes, it seems like this should have started out in labs

  24. Mark Essel

    I wrote up a comment but lost wifi, will rewrite it at home. Weak net conectivity sucksAhh here we go:I freaked out a little when I first used buzz. I saw it as Googles run around social pipelines, they’ll get users to feed them what they need to offer relevant, targeted, personalized ads. As you can imagine that’s mixed news for businesses that are developing targeted ad technology (*cough* me).The bad:We’ll be competing directly with Google in social search and advertisigGoog has deep pockets to subsidize/fund development.the good:we have a new firehose to learn about users and better create listening tools that they can fine tune.Plus we have unlimited stamina to counter Googs deep pockets. I just ran a marathon this morning to warm up for a day of coding (ok it wasn’t running, or a marathon, but only two older ladies passed me while writing my morning post on the obsolescence of corporate business structures).

  25. Mark Essel

    Oh yeah, disqus can easily pull in buzz comments as reactions

  26. andyswan

    Location, location, location. It’s becoming as true on the web as it is in real estate. A dump crawling with roaches can be worth a million in the West Village. Coca-cola can put a sub-par enhanced water in every gas-station, supermarket and vending machine in the world overnight.And Google can put social-salad in gmail.It doesn’t matter if your product is better. Their product is *here*.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah but if you knock down that roach infested place in the west village and put up a sharp looking first class building you can do even better

      1. andyswan

        They will :)Sent from my Millennium Falcon

        1. David Noël

          Ahahaha. I love that “Sent from my Millenium Falcon”. Total win, Andy. Total win.

  27. falicon

    Excuse me for a moment while I get up on my soapbox and take the microphone to share a bit more of my drivel…but….Overall I like the idea of buzz…but I hate the implementation. Not just buzz, but all the ‘social’ services are way too focused on real-time…and really ‘time’ in general. They seem to miss the whole point of the word ‘social’…it’s about the people, people. I follow people, I care about people, I want to stay in contact with people…not content, not really.But all of the existing systems really break down quickly when you follow any more than a handful of people…and it so it becomes about “What’s the latest, the shiniest, the loudest?”…both quality and connectedness are actually lost in this model…as well as any sort of flow or stream of a real conversation…Buzz is especially bad because it’s so active…everytime I look at it, I’ve got at least 40+ ‘new’ items…I click the link and honestly I can’t tell what’s new (I assume because it’s comments on things)…and I quickly become overwhelmed and just mark all as read and move on…Disclosure: I’ve been building http://friendstat.us specifically to alter these various services from a time-based focus to a person-based focus…so far it only supports Twitter, but facebook support is on it’s way, and then I’ll work on ‘fixing’ buzz too…

    1. fredwilson

      Good insights. I took everyone out of my facebook network except my family and very best friends. I loved the result. Slowly I’ve been adding a select few back in. I like it less

  28. xackr

    You know you can go right to the top of any organization and tell a lot about it. When you do that with Google you don’t see two guys who were probably super social at Stanford – so it’s a bit foreign to them anyway. Maybe why they didn’t see the value of it for the longest time. I know I didn’t see Facebook coming like this. I thought it was a fluke too. I’m convince now it’s not.

    1. fredwilson

      Company DNA comes from the top

  29. Ovi_Jacob

    What does Buzz add that’s new? integrated aggregationAll of your social haunts integrated with Google products – updates, geolocation, document shares, picassa and eventually SEARCH. Right there on gmail – why I opened it and why I started playing around yesterday.A few concens – 1. It doesn’t do anything new or better than available services. buzz just reach the broadest audience. This usually doesn’t end up a lasting product, as there’s no stickiness, no hook.As KidMercury noted, if there’s no gaming element, the social hook’s not too sharp. Ultimately they will have to give people a reason to use the service beyond integrated aggregation.2. Could buzz be information overload – many avc readers are power users, we don’t mind lots of data and connections (even when we are getting the same info through 3 different applications). But for the average person – if he/she follows all their gmail contacts on buzz, it then connects them to every internet move their contacts make. Do I want to wade through 50 buzzes every time I open gmail? Many of those buzzes are pictures and posts I will see otherwise. If I question, my thought is that others will say no, opt-out and limit the effectiveness of the total network.3. When cometh SEARCH – This is ultimately how google makes their money. What will the search integration be? recommendations for events, activities, locations. The user data mining capability scares me quite a bit.My thoughts – appreciate all of yours.STill not sure what to make of this. The beauty of the internet is that the user community will ultimately determine how far this goes We live in blessed times

    1. ShanaC

      I don’t think the user can mine the data- which is the whole point of searching, and how we got to social networks in the first place. It’s why this is such a turnoff and why there was such concern with privacy on social networks to begin with.This feels like such a screwup…

    2. fredwilson

      Search integration will be interesting for sure

  30. Eden

    Much like Google Wave, I don’t see the point of Buzz and I turned it off a few minutes after noticing it on my Gmail page. I already have Twitter available for time wasting on the ‘social web’ (whatever that is).Gmail is a tool for getting work done. I like to see the numbers in there drop to zero. I don’t need another stream of data to think about and process every day.Twitter wins because I launch a Twitter app when I’m ready to spend some time on Twitter. It doesn’t jump into my inbox and yell at me!

    1. Kevin

      I agree with you that people seem to like “the numbers in there drop to zero”.

    2. fredwilson

      I like to get to zero too. As you can see from the image in the post, its super hard for me to do that and it kills me

  31. randomdan

    I think Google needs to work on the privacy settings within Buzz, to create a private network I have to leverage the addressbook which means creating a new group and then hand picking the people I want in there.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes. I posted about that today

  32. eriklumer

    Buzz seems right now much more of a potential threat to Twitter than to Facebook. Don’t you think Twitter ought to accelerate on making its firehose available to a broader spectrum of search and discovery innovators – playing well the ecosystem card – rather than reinforce Google and Microsoft with exclusive deals as it has done so far?

    1. fredwilson

      That’s coming. They just need to be able to price and support it

  33. Rob Freeborn

    I’m a little confused about part of your critique:”Like FriendFeed, Buzz allows me to “pump my data into it”. It is an aggregator as well as a updating service. But that poses a problem in some ways”That seems to mesh perfectly into two themes that I (thought) you had discussed any number of times before in both postings and the accompanying threads.Haven’t you looked any number of times for the “perfect” aggregation engine that could take any number of feeds in? I thought Yahoo! Pipes had come up at that time. If they – Buzz – provide that aggregation (may not be there yet) wouldn’t you like that? The fact that you’ve taken the time to figure out a way to do that doesn’t mean that Google Buzz doing it better/faster won’t appeal to the 99.9999% of the world that hasn’t done the Twitter (or competitor) thing yet.The ability to have the update engine – and open API’s to it – is powerful as well. Again, I thought that you had preached the religion of API’s and not worrying about the who/what/where/when/why of getting info into your stream (think all the third party clients for Twitter) but just getting that stream harnessed.Social search is in warm up BEFORE the first inning and Google just trotted out A-Rod to take some practice swings….wait till they bring out the rest of a “murders row”.Google’s game IS advertising, under the guise of search, and plugging this real time info into their engine should scare the CRAP out of any of the smaller competitors out there…….

    1. fredwilson

      I think buzz is a terrific aggregation engine. And a fine update tool as wellI’m just not sure the two are combined very wellTumblr has come the closest to making that work but very few people use tumblr as an aggregation tool if they don’t also use it to post

  34. buzzuserscom

    Buzz will succeed because the fact that all gmail users are automatically buzz users. They took their member base and signed them all up automatically. Android phones are going to incorporate buzz into them heavily, and android will have a 50% market share soon enough.Jameshttp://BuzzUsers.com

  35. greenskeptic

    Buzz is more noise than I need. I’m Buzzing-off.

  36. gyardley

    I need my GMail account to contain Buzz like I need my toaster to play music. When I’m writing email, I’m writing email, and the last thing I want are external distractions. By baking them into my email client, Google’s not exactly endearing itself to me.In addition, it seems the Buzz product has some serious privacy issues. The article linked to in this Hacker News thread uses some strong language but is worth reading:http://news.ycombinator.com

    1. fredwilson

      I posted about that latter issue today greg. I think they should have launched buzz through labs

  37. MattCope

    Food for thought:You can receive, but not reply to, buzz from your desktop email client.In order to reply to buzz, I’m forced to keep my gmail web client open – and view more ads.Diabolical.

  38. Evan Balzer

    I’m actually surprised how addicted I’ve become to it. I thought Wave was going to be THE thing but I think they made it a mistake to make it invite only. I couldn’t get anyone to “surf” with me. Buzz is just so seamless – seems like everyone;s on board to.

  39. Daniel Kligerman

    I think it will be interesting to see where Google goes with Buzz within Google Apps. They have said that it will be a few months until that is ready, because they are working on features around sharing within an organization. Yammer-esque. Wrote more about this here: http://bit.ly/axB8sQ

  40. ShanaC

    I hate this. Too much going on. You can’t watch it on one hand, and you can’t have a conversation on the other. and it folds, and you can’t privately talk to one person. And there is no sense of flow. Why is this here? What is it for? What am I doing with it. There is soo much going on, with so little imput.I think that is what brought down friendfeed. And I only see the techies there too. None of my “normal” friends with access are using it at all. (granted very few use twitter) and most of the posts I see come in from elsewhere, not directly from the service. So no one seems to want to type in there either. That’s not a sign of health… You want people doing things on your site with your stuff!!! Not turned off by them….THe only good thing- it is with my email, but it is another scary number to check. Plus if you are into SEO- I’m wondering if it helps or not (friendfeed helped….a lot).

    1. fredwilson

      My oldest daughter told me that most people at her school are sticking with facebook and twitter. Facebook for friends. And twitter for celebs

  41. Guest

    FWIW, I think the Buzz numbers are deceptive… I added it, sent a few updates, and then removed it. I didn’t like the fact that I was automatically connected to colleagues – some of which were of business nature.I’d like to see how those numbers change in the next 3-6 months after everyone’s had a chance to try it out.

  42. ShanaC

    I officially got my first buzz in my email inbox. I hate the world…

  43. Wavelengths

    This whole approach seems disrespectful: of my time, my privacy, my several social networks, and even of my safety.Google slides this in so that it can push more ads in my face? Or am I missing something.Perhaps a product that enhances relationships, in appropriate circles, rather than just adding to the noise?At some point, “too much information” becomes just static, and meaningless. Except, I suppose, if you’re Google and you just want to sell more CPM to your advertisers.

    1. ShanaC

      I don’t think it is just a you thing I think everyone is sick of being over advertised to. OI think there will be a revolution in advertising, mostly because I don’t think people want to be a damn statistic anymore.

  44. rohun

    For me one of the most interesting observations has been how many of my friends who have to this point managed to resist participating in the “social web” of twitter, tumblogs, etc. jumped in with two feet when it came to Buzz. I have to think that native integration with GMail plays a big hand in this. So far it seems like my social interactions are going to take place in multiple spots across web (not sure there will be a single ‘winner’), but less and less on Facebook and more and more on services like Twitter and Google Buzz.

    1. ShanaC

      sorry!

  45. Abe / Outlier

    The really interesting thing about Buzz to me is how much it seems to be dependent on Gmail. I have gmail account but barely use it, it exists mainly as a login thing and way to chat with a few colleagues that don’t use AIM/iChat.Buzz is pretty much worthless in that context. A low rent twitter with almost zero content. Google is used to dominating the search space, but I think they may have forgotten that gmail is nowhere near as dominant. By tying the Buzz experience too tightly to Gmail they are essentially giving up on a majority of the web… It seems to create a decent to good network for people who use gmail extensively, but how does it scale outside that network?

  46. Eric Leebow

    Yes, Google makes a great product, yet they are not always built on the same exact dreams as a smaller entrepreneur or team with a creative idea. They will inevitably succeed with Buzz, and I give Google credit for building Buzz into Gmail. I think Google will be able to integrate with other services as well, and don’t doubt that this service will do the same. What’s fun about FourSquare is that it’s a game, and you can use it. I’m pretty sure Google does not want to equate gaming to Gmail, so it’s not in the same boat. I know both Buzz and FourSquare will do especially well. More services in the social eco-system is good, as it encourages believers, dreamers, doers, and visionaries to push the limit to what can be done in this space. I don’t see Buzz, FourSquare, Twitter, etc. as the same type of service, yet there is definitely some overlap, as they are all part of the growing social media services.

  47. Murat Aktihanoglu

    Google has practically ‘infinite’ resources, an amazing, scalable infrastructure and smart people. I think Buzz was the obvious next step for them combining:*Google Latitute (which is probably going to join Lively and Jaiku soon),*Google Wave (didn’t get the traction),* Google Profiles,* Google Places (which was obviously a pre-cursor to this, competing with Yelp)* Gmail* The mobile-browser ‘Near Me Now’ feature on google.comWell done:1) Mobile version is browser-based and well-done. The future of mobile functionality is not ‘apps’, it is definitely ‘browser-based’. No one will download an app to look at some photos or check a reservation, too much friction. (Try adding any mobile homepage to your homescreen as a shortcut to get the same ‘app-launching’ effect ).2) Haven’t tried the Android Google Maps integration but, again, that was the obvious next step for Google to have a social layer.3) Yahoo launched a similar product last year, but nobody stood up and took notice like this. So good job hitting at the right time with a well thought-out web and mobile stack.4) Gmail integration. ( Need Google Apps integration too, obviously).5) Fine-grained privacy settings.6) Asymmetrical following structure.7) Voice-recognition integration. Decreases the friction of publishing more data while on the go.Needs work:1) Need the “Import from Twitter / Facebok” feature and Buzz needs to do a better job of ’suggesting’ friends. ( Orkut integration is suspiciously missing from this section as well)2) The post layout, ‘like’ and commenting system is an exact copy from Facebook/FriendFeed. Need more innovation here.3) Need OpenID access. Why is this open to only Gmail users?4) Being able to post to Buzz and have that trickle to all my other accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn mainly).5) Need Google Toolbar integration, so I can post a link from any website with a click.

  48. Andy Lee Graham

    Google Buzz is the only one that is truly an extension of email, while the others are can must stay inside their captured social groups. They (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube) can only extend an invitation, they cannot write people outside the group. This is an extreme advantage, and I assume Google knows this and will exploit it.I own an Internet business, the address of that business it HoboTraveler.com.My inquiry handling system uses a Yahoo email as the primary communication conduit.Time to sell Twitter Fred, peak value is achieve.Andy on the beach in Sosua, Dominican RepublicI posted a video of a Typhoon in the Philippines, a TV station wrote me using the YouTube.com message thing. I did not get the message in time, my business dropped the public relations ball, or more correctly, my inquiry management system dropped the ball. If this would have been on Buzz, I think the TV station may have been able to jump to real communication levels, and not just social.I receive communications via:YahooGmail – Forwards to Yahoo.FacebookTwitterMany more….Gmail allows me to communicate in and outside the group, while the others are only social groups. I hope facebook will soon add email to their bundle of features, whereby my friends could write me on my yahoo account.I tend to believe Twitter has lost the focus, there is no way a person can follow 20,000 people. This negates the value for this person, he or she is only point out, not receiving. Facebook is still in the game, and would pass Gmail if they added email.I would like to log into one place, communicate with the world, and log off, that is my goal of having a business, one location, not many. Even though I am 100 percent location independent.

  49. Donna Brewington White

    Appreciate your thoughts, Fred. I have a feeling I will land in a similar place. I’m giving it a whirl…mostly so that I can have the experience of being an early adopter which doesn’t happen very often, but also because I want to lend my “two-cents worth” of support to what seems to be a highly viable entrant into the social media space…which makes the social media enterprise more sustainable in the long run. I don’t believe we’ve even begun to scrape the surface of how revolutionary social media will prove to be in shaping society and history. As for buzz, I will be surprised if I stick with it past my experimentation stage…but at least I can say “I was there.”

  50. Michael Rad

    seeing the buzz unread account became a huge distraction for me, but i didnt want to completely remove buzz just yet… so i enabled the gmail labs feature that turns off inbox numbers… i recommend giving that a go.

    1. disqus_IVC0oVSuSb

      thats a good idea mike

    2. fredwilson

      Thanks! I’m headed there asap

  51. David Sanger

    The most significant innovation of Buzz I think is under the hood, the underlying data map centered on the Google profile. The aim seems to be a reliable, consistent and verified picture of your activity all over the web.When people focus on the Gmail implementation they miss this. Gmail is just a convenient, available client. Buzz data can be accessed from anywhere; the API is planned to be quite robust, the standards open and any number of clients could be built. You don’t need a Gmail account to be on Buzz. You just need a profile.When you open a FriendFeed account FF asks you which feeds from the 58 services you’d like to aggregate into your stream. They don’t know who you are and you can enter anyone’s Twitter or Tumblr or FB feed. FF is a useful way to aggregate any feeds you are interested in, usually your own, and then add comments.When you enable Buzz, however, using your Google profile, Google tells you which feeds to include. Because Google crawls it already knows much of your presence on the web. By tracking XFN rel=”me” links Google has been building a Social Graph of your web presence. You do have to confirm if you want a feed added to Buzz, but you can’t add anyone else’s feed. It really has to be you (or things you share).All this comes from crawl and Google is making the data public via API. This is what it knows about avc.com Social Graph API Demo – Site Connectivity http://j.mp/aM8H6ITwitter on the other hand has very little sense of identity. Opening accounts is trivial and Twitter really only concerns itself with the stream of tweets and the followings between accounts. It doesn’t search the outside world and even seems to have trouble searching its own data reliably. Its strength is the immediacy of the commentary within the stream and the ability to filter and fine tune the firehose.Facebook has been very attuned to identity from the beginning but solves the problem of authenticating by creating its own little universe it controls. It doesn’t crawl or know much about what’s outside and makes it difficult for anyone seeking to integrate facebook streams with the outside world.Google’s plans are that Buzz can be hosted on other platforms, and that a variety of apps read/write to Buzz streams.There’s interesting commentary from the Google engineers DeWitt Clinton, Brad Fitzpatrick and Brett Slatkinherehttp://www.google.com/buzz/…And herehttp://www.google.com/buzz/…

    1. David Sanger

      the other side to my own argument is that the Gmail-embedded Buzz client isn’t very pleasingly designed (unlike Tumblr) and isn’t comfortable like Facebook, so it may not attract the massive numbers of users Google hopes for. Interconnectivity is one thing, but usability quite another,But others will come and build better clients and interfaces that are well-designed and easy to use.

  52. paramendra

    Buzz joined the ranks of Twitter and Facebook overnight. I use Twitter to broadcast, Facebook to connect, and Buzz/Tumblr to listen.http://technbiz.blogspot.co