Psst, Buzz? Buzz off!

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.

buzz google

Not quite as popular as Buzz Lightyear, but Google Buzz might be just as stellar

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.

google buzz logo

We'll be seeing this just below the 'inbox' button, but do we want to?

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.

Opera jumps aboard the iPhone bandwagon, at last…

Opera, one of the worlds most popular browser makers has today revealed that they intend to launch Opera for the iPhone.

The parent company to the popular software says that the new browser will load webpages up to six times faster than Safari since it compresses content when downloading a webpage for viewing which in turn can also reduce browsing costs significantly per MB, which means the GB which O2 grace us with goes a bit further.

The popular browser, turned app will feature tabbed browsing, google search in-built,  speed dial showing thumbnails of your favourite websites and a password manager.

All of which are much, much handier than features in Safari for the iPhone, which is still unchallenged in terms of web browsing on what is the worlds most popular, and infamous phone.

opera browser for the iPhone

Functional, smooth, solid - a lot to look forward to from Opera

Opera are also sounding quite optimistic about their chances of having the app approved by Apple. The hardware, and software giant has been typically hesitant of allowing apps which mimic too closely the functions of its own native apps to appear on its store. Opera may be betting on the large amounts of negative criticism which Apple have been attracting thanks to their strictness, when their own browser goes through the approval process.

With the upcoming release of the iPad, which may still revolutionise portable computing, Opera may also be looking to jump on board from the beginning, offering users an alternative to Safari when surfing any where with a nice big 10” screen and making the iPad feel much more like a full computer, with choices among browsers etc. Rather than a big iPhone.

Having proven themselves time and time again on Macs and PC’s for being able to produce solid and fast browsers, the software company should do well against Safari, which has seen recent fall backs on the browser market share stats with the arrival of Chrome on the scene.

Opera is already on pretty much every other platform, and is the worlds most popular mobile browser, so landing on the app store is really allowing it to cover all the basis, and should give Safari a good run for its money.

There’s no doubt that the Opera iPhone browser will be a brilliant app, well worth the download, that’s if it gets approved.

So watch this space, or rather the space under ‘O’ in the app store…

Google to take on Apple? Again?!

Google looks set to release their own pad computer following Apple’s release of it’s long expected iPad on Wednesday.

If the rumours and mock-ups are true then it brings Google’s attempts to jump into the hardware industry and tackle Apple’s might into the foreground.

Looks like an iPad, a... G-Pad? Too many jokes right there...

The software giant may be taking advantage of the criticisms being thrown at Apple over the iPad, such as lack of flash and webcam integration, and the manufacturers well-known strictness when dealing with apps and software which need to be approved before appearing in the app store for download.

Google’s open source nature may deal a serious blow to Apple’s attempt to take over the ebook and new found pad market (even if it is just the old tablet market with a new lease of life), using a pad running its open-source Chrome OS which the device will probably run on but is still to be tested on any major scale in the consumer market.

Whether or not Google’s device could be an iPad killer is yet to be seen, if it is released at all. The search giant’s much awaited Nexus One was expected to be an iPhone killer when it came out earlier this year, however take up has been poor and failed to dent the growing iPhone market which is showing little or no signs of being slowed by a competitor.

Google definitely don’t bring the wow factor or coolness to the table that Apple does, or even the hardened experience and solid production that Microsoft brings, but at the very least it they show the computer world that Google is tenacious and wouldn’t be put off by a let down by a larger competitor, even if they can’t match the hype levels that come with Apple launches.