Google Rolls Out Google Buzz

Looking to cement its position as the Web’s top resource for information—a position that is gradually being threatened by social sites like Facebook—Google has rolled out Google Buzz, a new product that is aimed at making Gmail more of a social networking environment.

Over the next few days, Google plans to roll out Google Buzz to all users’ Gmail accounts automatically—with no downloads required–according to a blog post by Gmail product manager Todd Jackson. According to Google, the new tool is all about sharing content, everything from photos to information, while its grander ambition is to bring organization to the vast amounts of information being sent back and forth via social networking sites.

“In today’s world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it’s increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations,” wrote Jackson. “Our belief is that organizing the social information on the web — finding relevance in the noise — has become a large-scale challenge, one that Google’s experience in organizing information can help solve.”

But clearly, Google would like to use Buzz to blunt the growth of Facebook and Twitter, by perhaps eliminating the need for its Gmail users to visit those sites as often. Like Facebook and Twitter, Google Buzz can update their statuses, share photos, videos and interesting links, and then track what there friends are communicating about in real time.  “If you think about it, there’s always been a big social network underlying Gmail,” Jackson blogged. “Buzz brings this network to the surface by automatically setting you up to follow the people you email and chat with the most.”

However, so many Web users these days have shifted their daily communications to Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter, and many have amassed much larger circles of friends on these platforms than the average person’s tighter group of email correspondents. It will be interesting to see whether Google can encourage Facebook fans to rethink email’s purpose in their digital ecosystem.

To help, Google is pushing mobile as a differentiator for Buzz. Comments and content posted via mobile devices using Google Buzz will incorporate a user’s location—adding a unique and compelling element to the social experience, hopes Google. “Posts tagged with geographical information have an extra dimension of context, the answer to the question “where were you when you shared this?” can communicate so much,” wrote Jackson.