Google Buzz gets us all waving

The internet is Buzzing at the moment with the announcement that Google has introduced a new social feature to its ever-popular Gmail service. It’s called Google Buzz, is linked directly to your existing Gmail account and is easily accessible from the main window.

Buzz offers the usual range of social networking features, but promises to “go beyond status messages”. I have had a quick play around with it this morning, but as it is being rolled out slowly it has been a bit hard to “buzz” many of my contacts.

Luckily, I managed to rope my colleague Hannah into Buzzing – just to see what it was like. Happily she agreed, and I witnessed a very nice Buzz real-time update that happened without the need for refreshing.

Having mastered text updates, we tried a text and photo update. Incredibly, this worked as well! It is also extremely easy to use, using either photos from your computer or from your library.

Google has decided to encourage privacy by giving you the ability to share your updates publicly or privately. I like this feature a lot – if, for example, I have a quick update I would like to share with only the Coast Digital team, then I can. This appeals to me a lot more than sending out an office-wide email.

Another feature that I am looking forward to trying out is the ability to connect Buzz with other sites, allowing you to pull in your Twitter feed or your public Picasa albums. I use Gmail and Twitter every day, so having them both in one place does seem pretty handy.

There is a wealth of other things I should talk about such as complete inbox integration, iPhone Buzzing, and picture importing – but I shall save those until I get fully used to all of this and have a few more followers.

My colleague Hannah Rampton says this about Google Buzz: “I think that Buzz is just a more personal, simpler version of Wave. I love the real-time integration with no need for refreshing.”

And here is Google’s official announcement: