Twitter Outages, Second Look Could Push People to Google Buzz

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-06-15 Print this article Print

Blogger Robert Scoble is shilling for Google Buzz, that once forgotten but now found social conversation service Google launched in February.

Buzz was launched fully baked. But yet not. There was no beta tag, but the service was woefully bereft of functionality. Users could use it to post links, videos and photos, but finding and consuming content was a pain from its inception.

Oh and Google exposed users' Gmail contacts -- Google's version of the "social graph" for all to see.

But as Scoble and others pointed out, Google engineers bent over backwards to mitigate the privacy concerns and pad the application with a lot more functionality.

There's a reshare button, a Buzz button for publishers, myriad new controls and other stuff that approach the facilities afforded by Facebook and Twitter, the very services Buzz is challenging.

Scoble wrote June 13:

But lately it's been coming back. I'm getting more engagement on my items there than on Twitter or Facebook.... There's something that's fun about being able to have a conversation. Over on Twitter it just seems everyone is shouting at me "read my blog, click my links, watch my videos." I'm guilty there too, because that's what Twitter really has become.

Google's Matt Cutts chimed in:

Buzz has the casual feel of Twitter, but you can dive into a topic pretty deeply. Buzz is easier than a blog post, but can look almost as polished. I find Buzz especially good for asking opinions, because the signal-to-noise ratio is (at least right now) quite high. I think Buzz is incredibly strong for internal company discussions too, so I'm looking forward to Buzz rolling into Google Apps.

Scoble listed several pros and cons about Buzz. One obvious con he listed that I believe might bolster Buzz use is if it becomes a separate service from Gmail.

The obvious reason for this is Google will automatically assuage the inherent privacy concerns that came with the Buzz launch last winter.

With no Gmail as the underpinning social graph, Google immediately eliminates the privacy concerns, which were solved a few days after the initial issue anyway.

What?! Divorce Buzz from its crucial social graph, you say? It won't survive! All of the users it currently haves come from that!

Sure it can. Other Web services have built their social graphs organically from scratch. They're called Facebook and Twitter.

If those services can do it, so can Buzz. Buzz is a fine service. It just needs a nudge.

Another big positive in Buzz' favor is that it rarely goes down, thanks to Google's infrastructure. Have you seen all the Twitter outages in the last few days? The last one was a doozy, lasting at least six hours.

Twitter noted on its status blog: "We're currently experiencing site availability issues resulting from the failed enhancement of a new approach to timeline caching."

That is so 2000! It's like the dot-com boom days when engineers didn't compensate for traffic spikes. Why does this keep happening?

I don't know, but that alone could be reason to drive Twitter users to use Buzz.

Buzz can't replace Facebook, whose network is too large, its functionality too rich and its applications too popular.

But there's no reason to believe Buzz can't become the new go-to Web service for messages and conversations.

Throw Buzz' geotagging on smartphones into the mix and you have a nice rival to the newly Launched Twitter Places. |

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