An XKCD comic shows the following morning routine – 1) wake up, 2) catch up on the lives of friends around the world, 3) get out from under the covers. It sounds weird when you put it like that but it’s nonetheless true and it’s social networking that made it possible.
Now Google is launching Google Buzz – a social networking tool that integrates into Gmail and taps into a lot of other sites you might be using, like Twitter, Picasa, Flickr and Google Reader.
Facebook is apparently working on an email service, which will likely jump to a spot in the top three email services the moment it starts – Facebook has 400 million users or thereabouts. Google Buzz is doing the opposite – turning the (current) number one in email into a social networking site.
With Google Buzz, the search giant is playing to their strengths. When someone comments on an update you’ve posted, the comment goes straight into a dynamic entry in the Gmail Inbox.
Positioning is an important part of Google Buzz – but it’s not just your current coordinates, it’s the place you’re in. This uses Google Places – you can post a comment about the place, check out information about it and other places near it, look through comments of others about the same place and so on.
Google Buzz makes sharing photos and videos a child’s play – there’s a quick and easy to use photo browser and video player and posting images and videos is as simple as it gets. It imports content from Flickr and Picasa and it will even pull the images from a link you posted, so you just click on them and they are embedded into the post.
Buzz also shows the Twitter streams of your contacts and will recommend posts by your friends’ friends. By selecting which ones you like, Google Buzz will get even better at recommending comments that are interesting to you. For now however, it can only display Twitter feeds. Buzz also integrates the news feeds from Google Reader to push you to the brink of information overload.
Google Buzz will be heavily used as a mobile app – Apple iPhone and the Android are the first to get it, because they have HTML5 support for location-based services. Gizmodo has posted a hands-on for the mobile version, check it out.
Well, well – being a big company has its advantages, doesn’t it? Facebook email will get a huge user base even if only a quarter of their users sign up for the service, and because Google Buzz is integrated into Gmail and automatically imports you email contacts, it will get you through the hardest part of creating a new social networking account in an instant.