On February 9, 2010, Google, Inc. announced a new service to its existing Gmail service that would permit users additional social networking functionality. Providing functionality in many ways similar to Facebook, Twitter, and other web-based services, Buzz was hyped as a "Killer" of more-established social networking platforms.
Google's approach to Buzz was to address the question: how do you know if you're following the best people? The underlying premise of Buzz' approach was that if your friends are discussing a specific link or trend, you might be interested in it as well. To that end Buzz would provide you with a recommendation based upon your contact lists and communication patterns.
This report discusses the social networking functionality of Google Buzz as of its release, disclosed plans for future functionality, and compares it to Facebook and Twitter's functionality for both online and mobile (e.g., iPhone) versions. Commercial growth and revenue markets are also discussed
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Google Buzz has met with widespread criticism regarding user privacy. Google had thoroughly integrated Buzz with its Gmail, Google Reader, Flickr and other social platforms, without the users' knowledge, permission, or capability of quickly and easily turning the service off. Suddenly users found that their personal connections to reader items, friends, and friends of friends were very, very public. Critics were quick to point out the unintended consequences, as unauthorized (or unapproved) "followers" could trace back social connections; a goldmine of information for anyone from dictatorial governments seeking dissenters to abusive spouses stalking their exes.
Within hours of its initiation, Google began making changes to the Buzz service, and has continued to make changes to provide a more secure user experience. While the immediate concern for user privacy became the breaking news about the service, Google's Buzz service was by no means a failure: within the first five days there were over 9 million Buzzes.
The obvious questions arise: if there were such concerns about privacy, why did it become so heavily used? If there are services like Facebook and Twitter (as well as others), why would someone use Buzz?
The answers to these questions come from a multitude of variables addressed in this report. In order to understand the significance of Buzz' entry into the social media marketplace, it becomes important to understand that there are different types of social media.
Up until recently, social media and social networks have been relegated to a specific destination; that is, the requirements for success involve the pro-active step of user intent to "go to" a specific location. These digital social "places" have been the key structure around which social media strategies are implemented. The limitations are obvious: it requires the user to not only choose that destination, but also be a member of those social groups.
Alternatively, there is another type of social network, one that provides integration of social networks. This changes the metaphor of the key "node" from a location or social "place" to the individual who is doing the communicating. Google Buzz takes this approach, and as a result becomes the key differentiator.
By taking the individual user as the focal point of the communication metaphor, Google has radically changed the game with respect to providing businesses - both small and large - tremendous reach into targeted audience groups. As a result, Google is less concerned about "killing" services like Twitter and Facebook, and more about generating ROI for both itself and its advertising customers.
This report evaluates the working aspects of social networking, both as it relates to destinations and integrators, as well as discussing some of the functionality and controversy surrounding the Google Buzz services. An in-depth analysis of Buzz' market reach, ROI potential, and recent patent awards and filing show a longitudinal picture of what Google Buzz' entry truly means, and its significance to businesses and end users.
This report is one of the must-read reports for people who want to understand and evaluate the importance of Google Buzz within the Social Media/Networking space. These include - but are not limited to - social media planners, marketing decision-makers, and strategic advertising professionals.
By taking a top-down, "big picture" approach, this report successfully answers questions a reader may have for this particular subject, namely :
· What is Social Networking?
· What are the types of Social Networking?
· A brief overview of Google Buzz
· How does Google Buzz work?
· What does Google Buzz' mobile interface look like?
· How is Buzz different than Facebook, Twitter, and/or other Social Networking platforms?
· What are the privacy concerns surrounding Google Buzz?
· What does Google Buzz mean to mobility?
· What is Google's incentive for creating Buzz?
· How does Google plan to capitalize on Buzz for its revenue model?
· How would advertisers capitalize on Buzz?
· What does Google have in store for the future?
· How does Google Buzz affect a company's social media strategy?
· What is the best way to use Google Buzz for social media planning?
· Is Google Buzz something I can risk not investigating?
Scope of Report. 3
Overview of global and social networking
Understanding Social Media Types. 5
Google Buzz. 8
User interface 10
Face-off: Google vs. Facebook and Twitter
Buzz Controversy.. 18
Facebook Controversy 19
Contextual Advertising. 22
Advertising Impact 23
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