While I know Google does not always have the OSS community’s best interests always in mind, they do provide some pretty neat tools from time to time. I definitely applaud their efforts with the Android mobile operating system. You all know, once my AT&T contract expires in September, Android will be mine. Not sure how I feel about the expected Chrome OS, but I do use Chrome browser as my browser of choice these days.
This week Google released Buzz, their foray into the social networking space. I use Plurk and Facebook as my social networking tools, more for professional reasons than social, and I do not use Twitter at all. So short of the PR nightmare they started with, having open access to profiles, what exactly does Buzz do? I spent time using Waves, and still cannot quite figure that out. So what about Buzz? According to Google:
with Buzz you can share updates, photos, videos, and more. Start conversations about the things you find interesting.
So, once I signed up for Buzz, I noticed a Buzz logo/space in my Gmail inbox, below Inbox. When I click on that, I can see Twitter, blog, photo, and other updates from my friends in Gmail. I can also reply right back to those in the window. Supposedly, those updates will happen in real time, but a friend has noticed it sometimes takes a few hours to come from Twitter. I assume that will improve.
How will schools use this? Well, those with Google for Education, as we are beginning to migrate too, will like the ability to bring in their other tools for one ‘dashboard.’ I can see students using this to keep up with a variety of topics, for online courses, if the teacher utilizes RSS/Atom feeds, or other type tools. Just to provide students with the social networking they crave will definitely be a benefit, while maybe enticing some teachers into social networking.
The integration of all these things into my Inbox definitely strikes me as the right way to go. I throughly dislike going back and forth from Facebook to Plurk to Gmail to my Google Reader. I think trying to bring all these things together is the right way to approach social networking. I think they need to work on the bugs a little, as things were open to the world by default. I would also like them to bring in my Plurk, which I am sure is in the works. Overall, a neat application, so we will see where it goes…