<< by on February 9th, 2010
Google announced yet another new product today, Google Buzz:
Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting. It’s built right into Gmail, so you don’t have to peck out an entirely new set of friends from scratch – it just works.
Today, we’re launching Google Buzz, a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting and share updates, photos, videos and more. Buzz is built right into Gmail, so there’s nothing to set up — you’re automatically following the people you email and chat with the most.
The service has already been widely panned, as well it should. People already share status links, videos, updates on Twitter, Facebook, etc. There isn’t really a need for people to get even more connected, especially with an inferior tool.
My suspicions are that the REAL reason Google is rolling out such a tool is not to improve communication with its users. The real reason is to get some critical mass on Social Search. We have already discussed Social Search and the key to getting your content included in Social Search results.
Google has relied on searchers to voluntarily set up Google Profiles and integrate them with their social media IDs so that it can deliver Social Search results to and from Google Profile users. But the masses don’t even know about Google Profiles or want one.
The masses, over 150 million of them, use Gmail. By integrating Google Buzz right into the Gmail interface Google is targeting the bulk of its audience with a clear way to start associating their Gmail account with a Twitter account, Flickr account or other Social Media platform, and if you don’t have any of those it gives you a way to “Follow” people who do have Social Media content.
Doing this gives Google the ability to bring Social Search results to anyone with a Gmail account. Even if you just barely participate you are giving Google data about yourself that will allow them to customize your search results with social media content.
I believe when a Google Buzz user “Follows” another user its a vote for that person’s content. Whether that just helps Google serve up more targeted Social Search results for a user is one important issue. But the important point about Social Search that really hasn’t been discussed is that Google is now measuring the influence of its users. How they use that “influence” measurement is the key to Social Graph metrics contributing to regular everyday search results. It’s quite possible that getting a retweet or a shared link from a Google user with a lot of influence could be a factor in determining search engine rankings.
Google honestly doesn’t care that much if Google Buzz is an inferior product, they are relying on the reach of Gmail to its users to get more participation in Social Search. The users just have to take the bait, associate their Gmail with their own social IDs or start following other Buzz users with Social Media content. Google makes money from advertising on it’s search results and “improving” those results with Social Search results is its new mission.