Google Maps 4.0 Brings Buzz To myTouch

Todd posted about Google Buzz, the new social networking “features” that Google announced for their Gmail and Maps applications. As he noted, Android owners who don’t own a Nexus One or Droid cannot access the Buzz web application at buzz.google.com. However, this morning I received a notification on my T-Mobile myTouch for an update to Googe Maps 4 that I have found includes the Buzz layer. (Google has also released Maps 4.0 for Windows Mobile that also includes the Buzz layer.)

After turning on the Buzz layer I see little dialog bubbles, as shown here:

googlemaps_buzz.png

…at various locations on the map. When I tap a bubble the status update provided by that person displays along with their location. Locations are shown as numeric address ranges, along with city and state. Bubbles that have a little camera icon have a status with a picture, which you should be able to add by selecting from existing pictures in the gallery or by taking a new picture. Unfortunately, selecting a picture does not work on my phone. As the day has gone on I have seen more and more bubbles appear in Google Map.

To add your “buzz” tap the multi-colored post bubble at the bottom right of the screen. You can enter status information, change your location, and select or take a picture. Either your current location will appear, or you can press the Change button to select from a number of locations in your area. The first time you press the post bubble you will be asked to sign up to Buzz and be asked to click through a privacy warning. There does not appear to be a relationship between signing up for Buzz in Maps and seeing Buzz in Gmail, because I have yet to see Buzz added to my Gmail account.

Google Buzz seems to be similar to Google Latitude, which has similar integration with Google Maps for sharing status information with your friends. Buzz is less restrictive than Latitude and shows all posts by anyone who has posted their location using Buzz in Google Maps. While it would be nice if Buzz allowed users to generalize their location, the truth is that since posts are pinned to a location on the map, people will be able to see where you were when the post was created. The bottom line is that if you are concerned about your privacy, do not post your status in Buzz with Google Maps.