Remember Orkut? That was Google’s first venture into online social networking. Users in Brazil and India took Orkut to heart, the rest of the world gave it a big yawn (kinda like Wave?). Don’t count out the genius which is Google U – it had to happen, they have the network, the user base and the technology. Next to search users, who are not required to register, it seems a no brainer that Gmail would be the true target.
Facebook has 400 million users – how many are active is a question. Facebook does not have an email service, yet every user essentially requires an outside email service to obtain, and use a Facebook account. It seems obvious then, own the email, own the social network – one login, and enjoy all the services. That is essentially what the new system behind Gmail is all about, 170 million email users, ready to engage with online social networking systems – allbeit, Google run and owned.
Gmail users can now post private and public status updates – one of the essential features of Facebook. There is also integration with photo sharing through Picassa, and mapping features. Like Twitter, Gmail users can ‘follow’ others, and send messages (longer than 140 characters). All the features are directly compatible with Google’s mobile platform Android.
Will Google Buzz be able to take market share from Facebook and Twitter? That is the ultimate question. One advantage is integrating all possible messaging and sharing services under one platform and login.