Lately, it seems, every social media mogul has jumped on the Twitter train, and search engine giant Google is no exception. The company released Google Buzz, its own microblogging tool, Feb. 9, allowing users to share photos, videos, links and status updates – this time with no 140-character limit. (See FutureWeb speaker Chris DiBona‘s Buzz account here, on his personal profile page: http://www.google.com/profiles/cdibona.)
To most, this sounds helpful, but to professionals like journalists and lawyers with confidential sources and clients, it threatens to unravel entire private networks.
“Privacy isn’t a technological binary that you turn off and on,” boyd has said. “Privacy is about having control of a situation. It’s about controlling what information flows where and adjusting measures of trust when things flow in unexpected ways.”
For those unsatisfied with Buzz’s current form, Google has launched an official product ideas Web site on which users can make suggestions. More than 900 have already contributed.
But far from the privacy threat some perceive it to be, Google calls its social tool a new way for users to connect with the networks they already have.
“Buzz is like an entirely new world inside of Gmail,” product manager Todd Jackson said. “Organizing the worlds’ social information has become a large-scale problem, the kind Google likes to solve.”
Striving to be more sophisticated than its competitors, the network uses an algorithm to filter through posts and publish only the information it deems a particular user would find interesting. It might even “recommend” posts from people a user is not following based on the people who comment. Like other social networks, it is integrated for mobile use, and plans for expansion are in the works.
Buzz is set to hit the Middle East in the near future, with an expected launch in Arabic.
By Rachel Cieri