Google Launches Buzz API as Answer to Facebook Connect

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-05-20 Print this article Print

Google May 19 launched its promised Google Buzz API at Google I/O, and a number of applications are already integrating with the service, including social apps Seesmic and Boxee.

How do these apps integrate with Buzz? Seesmic and Buzz users can now manage Buzz in their browser through Seesmic Web, through a beta version of Seesmic for Android and in Seesmic's preview version of the new Seesmic Desktop.

Users will be able to use Boxee and Google Buzz to share what they're watching with friends and view what Boxee videos their Buzz friends are sharing on their TVs.

Clearly, some startups aren't blinking at Google Buzz's early privacy snafus, which is good because I'm over them, too.

End users opt into using applications built with the Google Buzz API via an interstitial confirmation screen.

Users will also see which apps have access to their data and can disable access at any time from the Google Accounts page, the Google Dashboard, the "Buzz" tab in Gmail Settings or from the app itself.

Here's what developers need to know, according to Google developer team member DeWitt Clinton:

This initial iteration of the API includes support for fetching public per-user activity feeds, fetching authorized and authenticated per-user activity feeds (both what the user creates, and what they see), searching over public updates (by keyword, by author, and by location), posting new updates (including text, html, images, and more), posting comments, liking updates, retrieving and updating profiles and social graphs, and more.

Here is the Google Buzz API developer documentation.

Google sees the Buzz API as fitting into the current canon of open and community-developed methods for sharing social content, including ActivityStreams, Atom, AtomPub, JSON, OAuth, PubSubHubbub, MediaRSS and PortableContacts.

To my mind, this is Google Buzz's mini answer to Facebook Connect, albeit with completely open standards. Anyone following Connect's traction knows that service has thrived, but how will Buzz fare?

Sure, Google already has a handful of startups using the API to integrate with Buzz, but do those services even rate?

How many users do they have? Meebo has been around a spell. TweetDeck and Seesmic have strong tractions thanks to Twitter, but seriously, who uses Buzzzy? or Marginize? Indeed.

Geeks, so this is an API by geeks for the geekiest of Web users, those who like to consume anything they can get in their browser or onto their machine.

Buzz has tens of millions of users, Google claims. How many of those users will take advantage of these integrations?

Google launched a social service to answer Facebook and Twitter. Those social superpowers have successful developer platforms, so Google had to go that route.

Will the users follow? I can't help but be skeptical after watching the bang Google made with OpenSocial, only to see it whimper.

My hunch is this is a one-off announcement that won't get real legs, but we'll see. |

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