Remember Google Wave? It failed miserably not because of the technology - it was a far better version of MSN and Group emails - but because of the lack of platform to promote it. You needed a wave account and nobody felt it was necessary (i.e. Necessary = Facebook) to register. Also, it was a bit ahead of its time.
This time, they wised up. In order to reach the most users in the shortest amount of time for Buzz, they've leveraged their one and only platform - Gmail - to reach them. Within minutes, I suddenly had 50 "followers"... and I automatically "followed" another 50. That's a great start.
Now to the function... it seems more like twitter than Facebook (even though I don't use Twitter), or maybe just Facebook's status update. It links to several other apps (e.g. for me, blogspot and Picasa are important) for automatic updates, and my "followers" (That sounds nice) can comment on the updates, either my own post or automatic. Sounds convenient to me! I'm sold so far. If enough people are sold too, Buzz is good to go.
Which brings me to a BIG BIG problem: um... it's not really a breakthrough... just makes me have to do two status updates every time - Buzz and Facebook. So, let me ask the ultimate question: when MSN tookover ICQ, it was because MSN offered a service that was better. When Facebook destroyed Friendster, it was because Facebook had a better interface. What about Buzz is better than Facebook/Twitter? Anything? More convenient notifications?
Me thinks not much yet. And until the Google team figures out a better product and not just a copy, two things will happen:
- Advanced Google users will probably use Buzz along with Facebook and Twitter
- Not so advanced will not