I have tried valiantly to make my way through some 35 posts that have been written about Google Buzz, their new attempt at jumping on the social media bandwagon. Seriously, I really tried, but at some point after the twentieth post they all began to blur together.
Some of the posts were the old sit on the fence type while others were all gushy we love anything Google does. On the whole though everyone seems to think that Google has now laid down some kind of gauntlet and pronounced itself as a new heavy weight in the Social Media game.
That might be so but there is one great big glaring problem with this newest effort of Google’s.
You need to be a user of Gmail.
That’s right. If you don’t use Gmail then you can’t play in this newest sandbox from Google. Even though Google and their fans might like to think that there is no other email service other than GMail the fact is that both Microsoft and Yahoo have more people using their email clients that Google could dream of having.
Then there is the whole segment of people who don’t even use a web-mail client at all.
So as grand and wonderful as Google Buzz might sound it is already limiting itself by requiring you use GMail to be a part of the Google social network.
It’s interesting that while Google is trying to build a social network around their email client their main competitor Facebook is talking about adding an email client into their social network.
Either way this news from Google goes to prove on thing – the Social Web is very quickly becoming segregated. It is very quickly coming to the point where you will belong to either Facebook’s Social Web or you’ll belong to Google’s interpretation of what the Social Web is.
Both companies are trying to patch together systems that will have everything you need to play in their version of the social media sandpile. Facebook and Google are staking their claims in the social media landscape and in the process trying to shape it into what they think the social web and social media should be.
None of them however really understand that Social Media has nothing to do with them. As much as Facebook wants to keep piling on the numbers of users so they can head into the world’s largest ever IPO the reality is that Social Media has nothing to do with IPOs or hude user numbers.
For Google this really has nothing do to with Social Media beyond using the term as a handy catch phrase to entice people onto more services so they can serve up more ads. To this point Google Buzz is just another vehicle by which they can get even more information about their users so that they can serve up more targeted ads for which they can charge more for.
Google Buzz is a clever trap, but a trap all the same. It is the hunk of cheese to get more people using GMail which in turn locks users into Google even more.
People have often wondered why it is that Google has never succeeded at their attempts to get social. Well the answer becomes clearer with every new attempt. Google doesn’t understand what social media is because they are always looking at how they can manipulate it in order to increase their profits.
Social Media isn’t about profits. Social Media is about people. So it is no surprise that a company which slices and dices numbers to pick the correct shade of blue to use doesn’t understand Social Media.
Chances are they never will.