Like almost everyone that I know, I have this love/hate thing going with Google. I’d probably feel better about the company if I had been smart enough to buy share of the stock at the darkest moment of the recession. But I didn’t.
Instead of counting my capital gains, I become frustrated that Google almost never responds to personal inquiries, the answers to which are vital to my company even if they seem only like a pesky mosquito to Google. When the do respond, it’s is usually by means of a form email that almost but not quite addresses my original topic.
I worry that they are becoming far too big and have too much influence over the future direction of the Internet. A large company’s interest rarely coincides with the broader public’s interests.
However, I do have to admit that they are usually very good at what they do. Oh, they’ve had their occasional flops. In my mind, Google checkout has probably the worst interface ever conceived by a tech company from the perspective of a retailer or service provider. Google video wasn’t good enough to compete with Youtube. They fixed their video problem by simply buying Youtube. Maybe they’ll eventually fix their checkout nightmare as well or buy some company that has done it right.
Now, Google is taking another step into the world of social media with the introduction of the Google Buzz add on to Gmail. Clearly, they’ve more than dabbled in social networking
previously, even beyond the previously mentioned purchase of the largest user driven video service. Their reader and bookmarking functions integrate reasonably well with prior social media, but they haven’t become the dashboard from which all Internet social activities can be controlled.
Google Buzz linked with Gmail is a step toward that imagined centralized control panel. I write this on the day that Buzz is introduced, so we don’t know how the public will respond.
Neither do we know fully its strengths or weaknesses. Furthermore, and perhaps most important, we don’t know what new features Google will be introducing in the near future.
Here’s a Google produced description of what Buzz can do as of the day of its introduction to the world: