Google Buzz has been getting people talking, and tweeting about what we’re all supposed to do with it; delete it, or keep it? So far the new service which aims to threaten the livelihood of both Facebook and Twitter has been met with mostly negative reviews with people reaching for the disable button, and unsure responses in the form of waiting to see.
Straight off a person can see the usefulness of having their emails, Twitter and Facebook all in the one place, in one tab without leaving. The convenience in an ever more microscopic world is brilliant, but Google have forgotten something; I don’t want my inbox anywhere near my friends.
For most people their inbox is a semi-sacred ground, being filled mostly with auto-mails from magazines, websites, mail exchanged with work colleagues or friends, handy links people might think of and send, planning going out etc. What happens when it all gets slightly mixed up with “oh hey, I’m making toast!” ?
Twitter and Facebook are for friends who we like to keep up-to-date with, but might not always chat to regularly, websites for updates on products or queries, newspapers for news, or even just for exchanging our own news with a wider audience. There is a sense that Facebook and Twitter are, public – like our front gardens; the entire world can see them and chat to us at the end of the driveway, but the inbox is the house front door, we don’t let the milkman in for telly and tea!
The inbox is a private retreat for what we might not want others to see, both for work, and play. Yes, I know, Buzz in a different tab and has very little interaction with your inbox – but at the same time, it’s a mental barrier for most people, and I don’t know about many other people but most of my emails are once off affairs to strangers or people I barely know, besides I wouldn’t have nearly the same amount of contacts as on Twitter or Facebook.
To top it all off; years and years of hair pulling, annoyance and money have been spent ridding our emails of spam, only for Google to let it all back in through the back door? Hmmm…
Google has previously attempted to jump on board the social media bandwagon, with Orkut, which failed to make big splashes in the wider online world, but is still one of the highest ranking sites out there, with over 100 million users (it’s big in India). I can’t help but wonder if Google missed the boat with this one, and was beaten to the post by Twitter.
Even though I’m mostly negative about Buzz and the idea of Buzz, I can see the potential. The issues Google needs to overcome are convincing people to open their front door, not long after we hear of Gmail accounts being hacked, and a general distrust of the company from the public stemming from their seemingly endless power as a search monopoly.
As with Wave, it might just be a case of five years too soon, who knows.