Google killed Twitter today. With the launch of Google Buzz they ruthlessly attacked Twitter’s weaknesses and quietly set the scene for subsequent creeping infiltration into Microsoft’s stronghold in the enterprise market. Buzz is a big deal.
Google’s Buzz is presented as a simple rival to Twitter. It shows up discreetly as a tab in Gmail, will play nicely with other social media platforms and allows users to automatically follow/be followed by people within their existing email contact database. Responses are presented in the Gmail inbox which means that for most users there may be no need for dedicated platforms such as TweetDeck and Seesmic.
Google has clearly put a lot of thought into Buzz and has built it from scratch to integrate closely with Gmail. This means that it can handle photos and video without extra applications, and it’s location aware and mobile ready. And if you want to be found, you just know that Buzz updates are going to be indexed by Google like lightning. Google’s announcement with a nice summary video is here.
Many people have been saying over the last few months that Google should just buy Twitter, but it now seems obvious that Big G thinks they can do better than spending big bucks on the acquisition and then having to integrate Twitter’s code into the Googleplex.
As an indication of just how much impact Buzz is going to have, there are already reports of big brands leaping on board , trying to promote their own hash tags – even though Buzz doesn’t support the “#” symbol yet – and responding to brand mentions. That’s within the first 24 hours. We are going to see a frenzy of early adopters.
There are some naysayers, of course, and Google hasn’t helped themselves by appearing to rush the release of a product that shows some signs of being a beta release.
But this is Day One and if Google can launch a call center to support the Nexus phone within a month of its launch then we can be sure that it’s not going to drop the ball on its first foray into realtime updates.
So what are the takeaways from all this?
First and most depressingly, we’re going to have to deal with an upsurge of ridiculous neologisms. Having slowly come to terms with words like Tweet, Twitterati, Twitpocalypse and fail whale, we’re now going to be learning a new language of Buzzes, Buzzers and Buzzerific. Well, maybe not that last one, but who really knows? It’s going to be bad for anyone of a sensitive disposition.
Second, Twitter is going to have to move fast to build out its infrastructure and improve its uptime. The fail whale has been seen much too often and especially for corporate users, it discourages enterprise adoption. They will rush to Buzz unless Twitter improves. Twitter is the first company in Google’s sights.
Third, Buzz also threatens a whole bunch of other companies. We’ve already mentioned some of the Twitter desktop clients like Seesmic and TweetDeck, but there’s an entire ecosystem of Twitter companies that will now be looking over their shoulders. An offering from Google that tightly integrates Gmail, Google Apps and Buzz into Android and Chrome mobile platforms is going to be incredibly attractive to business users. And another reason to abandon Office and move to Google Apps will hit Microsoft in the one place where it still makes most of its money. Integration with Gmail and Android perhaps kills Yammer and Salesforce’s Chatter. And so on.
What does this mean for publishers, affiliates, networks and the rest of us? It means there’s opportunity. Buzz may just be the catalyst for a general shift to an integrated Google platform/ecosystem, but in the meantime the disruption means that there is money to be made.