In short Google seems to be courting the world of the social once again, and leveraging their extremely popular GMail service. From The Guardian to Jeff Jarvis, the reception of Buzz has been lukewarm, with most commentators noting that Google’s earlier social forays like Orkut or Google Profiles failed to reach popularity except in localised ways. Dave Winer argues that Buzz is dead-on-arrival for developers due to an API which doesn’t leverage a familiar interface (such as Twitter’s API) and thus is unlikely to be developer-friendly. Gizmondo notes that Buzz is more like Facebook status updates than Twitter, “with Likes, dislikes and the ability to respond directly to a posting and have other people see it. When someone makes a new comment in reply to an old Buzz, it bumps that entire Buzz up to the top.”
Personally, I’ve already disabled chat in GMail so while I’ll try Buzz out, I suspect it’ll be disabled pretty soon (I’ve already got Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed, so one more lifestream tool seems unnecessary). I also like my GMail to stay for email, and I don’t fancy getting Buzz replies (Buzzes?) sent straight to my GMail inbox (not limited to the Buzz tab). Buzz seems to drag content in (from Flickr and Twitter, for example) but is one-way; Buzzes don’t (and can’t as yet) send back to Twitter, which seems a rather anti-social integration! I’m also unclear on how Buzz profiles for non-GMail users will be created … if that’s even possible. All that said, I’ve dismissed a few other winners recently, so I’ll give it a try and see what happens. If you’ve on GMail, feel free to add me on Buzz and we’ll see how the conversations go!