Yesterday, Google announced Buzz, which is ostensibly their answer to Twitter. It’s a way of sharing a variety of information with your network of friends, and plugs into GMail contacts, Picasa and Flickr pictures, Google Talk status, Reader stories, YouTube videos, and even subsumes twitter updates. The latest version of Google Maps for Mobile will include a Buzz layer, so you can see what’s going on around you and share geotagged updates and pictures from your phone. Google takes its best guess at the location you’re buzzing from, so those following you can quickly access associated reviews and contact information if it’s available.
You can access Buzz on Android in four ways: a mobile website (buzz.google.com); the Google Maps for Mobile layer; a shortcut on the Google front page; and voice-activated Buzzing from the home screen widget. Of course, the iPhone doesn’t have the home screen widget and unfortuantely, nothing for Google Maps yet. Right now you can filter Buzz based on those you follow and those nearby, but if it actually takes off, Buzz will need something like twitter lists. Google had paved the way for Buzz with “shouts” on Latitude for Android awhile back, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Latitude integrated, or even swallowed whole by Buzz in time.
I wonder how (or if) check-in services like Gowalla or Foursquare will plug into Buzz, or if they’ll end up competing. Google could just as easily launch their own knock-off as they could open up the API (which, coincidentally, is available here if third parties want to get involved with Buzz). Between the existing reviews on Google Maps, the social element of Latitude and Profiles, and now Buzz, the bulk of the foundation is already in place for Google to make their own service.
What do you guys think of Buzz overall? Are you getting everything you need from Twitter, or is the Google mothership beckoning you closer?
P.S.: Doesn’t Yahoo! have a little thing called Buzz? Perhaps it’s more like Digg than Twitter, but same ballpark, eh?
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