Feb 11th, 2010 by Rob
I’ve only had Google Buzz now for about 24 hours, but I already feel that it has the potential to revolutionize the way people communicate with friends and family. It’s easy to look at Buzz as being Google’s too-little-too-late competitor to Facebook, with a bit of Foursquare and a dash of Twitter thrown in. But in my mind, Google took everything that is right about those services and threw out the crap.
Facebook is all about ego
If your Facebook home page is anything like mine, it is filled with junk. Farmville this, Mafia Wars that, Joe has joined the Save the Manatees Group, Sarah is now friends with Fred.
I DON’T CARE.
I’ve filtered out most of this stuff with Facebook’s “hide” settings, yet still, Facebook feels like High School to me. From the way your friends are so prominently enumerated and displayed on your profile, to the endless lists of causes people join, all of it just reminds me of the ego-centric days of yore when all most people cared about was looking cool.
You see, Facebook’s main focus, the page at it’s core, is the profile page. Your online persona. Everything you do adds to that page like some sort of shiny bauble to be shown off. If you’re tagged in a photo, it shows up on your wall, if you become friends with someone, it shows up on your wall, people write directly on your wall, and all this in turn gets pushed out to your friends’ feeds. Too much noise, not enough signal.
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook can be fun, and it does have it’s occasional value. Sometimes I actually see stuff on there that I care about from my friends and family. It’s just buried under tons of garbage.
Buzz is all about communication
Buzz takes Facebook and flips it around. While your Google Profile, like your Facebook profile, does make up a part of the Buzz ecosystem, it’s only ancillary. This makes the mindset completely different. Buzz doesn’t bother telling me when someone starts following someone else, or if their relationship status has changed, or if they got a high score in some new game. Buzz just makes it easy for people to communicate those things to me if they so choose. This gives the whole service a different feel than Facebook. Think more “I want to show this to people,” rather than “look at me.”
My email inbox is already where I go to communicate. It makes perfect sense to make it easier for people to aggregate content into that space. That is Buzz’s true promise: help me share content and keep in touch.
Facebook can keep the posturing.