There is little doubt that the age of social media is well and truly upon us. You will be hard-pressed to visit a website today without spotting a Twitter feed or Facebook page link. It’s hardly surprising then that some of the internet’s key players are trying to get in on the act.
Arguably Facebook’s most savvy move to date was in acquiring the now defunct FriendFeed and using it to develop its own status update service. With Twitter’s increasingly popular stake in the social feed game, this was no doubt part of a wider strategy to ensure the platform’s evolution.
The trends are clear, surfers love nothing more than to tell their friends and family what they’re up to – whether through updates, photos or both. Now it’s Google’s turn with Google Buzz.
What is Google Buzz?
That’s not to say Google hadn’t recognised social media’s potential earlier. The internet giant has tried to muscle in on the action by acquiring several failed platforms including Dodgeball, Jaiku and Orkut. This time, they’ve built one from the ground up using Gmail’s database of users as a jumping off point – a wise move.
Although at its core a social networking platform, Buzz goes one step further by analysing user preferences and introducing content based on an individual’s preferences, who they share information with and likes/ dislikes. In short, Buzz appears to be aiming for a more dynamic experience.
A Social Search Engine?
In the first week of launch alone, tens of millions of people tried the platform out, creating over 9 million posts and comments. Of course the upshot of this is that Google were left with a veritable sea of social meta data to use, and will continue to do so at an ever-expanding rate as the platform develops.
This data is expected to be incorporated into the company’s search engine mainframe, evolving the search experience in the process. This will of course have a major knock-on effect on Search Engine results, which will become inherently more refined and personal.
Are You Following Me…
Where Buzz really starts to differ from both Facebook and Twitter is its integration with established platforms such Gmail, Google Reader, Google Profile, Google Chat and Google Contacts. This builds on the ‘following’ feature of sites such as Twitter with data collected from these sources.
In short, if you use a large number of Google services you’ll be bombarded with content and followers from the get-go. If not, it may take some time to build your social infrastructure.
Is Social Media Paving the Way for Online Marketing?
It’s difficult to say with any certainty what the future will bring for users of social media. Given that the platform is still within its infancy (having only really taken off within the last few years), there will no doubt be many changes to come. Having said this, even over such a short period we have seen growth at an exponential rate.
Without a doubt Buzz has generated huge potential for businesses of all sizes – the crucial factor being its tailored approach to content based on a users likes and dislikes. You don’t need to be a marketing genius to recognise the potential inherent in such targeted use of information. With so many businesses recognising Facebook pages as a savvy marketing tool, it’s only a matter of time before Buzz breaks the mould.