11 February 2010

Google Buzz Panned by SEO

Google's new "Buzz" social networking feature has been panned by SEO experts and industry analysts, who have questioned the project's relevance.

The comments come after a number of companies, such as Microsoft and rival search engine Yahoo, have criticised the new project for crowding the market and copying previous social networks.

Google has partially aimed Buzz at businesses, saying in an official blog post that content posted on public networks within the Buzz platform will be indexed by the Google search engine.

However, chief executive of Stewart Media, Jim Stewart, says this won't necessarily be attractive to SMEs if the platform is too complicated to work.

"Google has always been a bit too technical in this space. They were like this with video, and ended up buying YouTube because Google Video was too convoluted."

"I think a big problem with this is that it's all held within the browser. With other chat programs and those sorts of things you can pull them out and are separate to the browser experience, so it's pretty restrictive in that sense."

Google Buzz appears as an extra tab in a Gmail inbox, and allows users to post content via status updates similar to the methods used by Facebook and Twitter. Users can share photos, videos and links in both public and private groups, while new features built into the Google Maps applications incorporate social interaction with Buzz.

Stewart says the Buzz platform is extremely similar to Twitter, especially with the added feature of indexed content, and says he is unsure of who will actually use Buzz regularly to make it a competitor with Facebook or other social networks.

"Google are already doing this same thing with Twitter where it's being indexed in a live environment, but to be honest it really depends on how old all of these things are, and after a few hours these things drop from view."

"There is probably a niche out there that will use it, but I'm not sure. I'm really unsure of how it's going to position itself on the social media space next to Facebook or Twitter."

Rafe Needleman from CNET also criticised Buzz, saying it lacks the innovation provided by rival social networks.

"My big beef with buzz is that it's yet another social communication system aimed at an audience that's already deluged with communications methods and networks. I don't mean to suggest that Google shouldn't try to compete in this space, or any other, but there's more that could have been done here."

"Recognising that Twitter is still a destination for millions of users would be good. The capability to put items on Twitter and have them show up in Buzz is nice, but for some reason Google decided not to enable the reverse."

PC Advisor wrote the introduction of a new social network doesn't matter as the service itself lacks a number of features seen on other sites.

"It's way too early to give the definitive verdict on Google Buzz. At first glance, it's a so-so Twitter clone with a bunch of glitches, and the look and feel of Gmail. The potential for success lies in its ability to set tailor-made privacy settings, interact with other Google social services and utilise search to point only useful or interesting information at users."

Yesterday Microsoft attacked the service, saying users won't want to deal with a totally new social network when services such as Facebook and Twitter are already available. Yahoo also said it had introduced similar features over one year ago.

Google Buzz is now being rolled out across Gmail accounts, with the process to be completed in the next few days.

contributed by, ABHISHEK SEO

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