Tim O’Reilly positively gushes about the possibilities. Personally, I see it as yet another silo within which my social messaging and identity will be trapped. Sure, by dint of Google’s position as single dominant search engine and dessert topping/floor wax, the size of that silo is potentially larger than all the other social networks combined. I just read this sort of unchecked optimism about the transformative nature of Buzz and all I can think of is that we are still waiting for Wave to do just about the same thing. Which it still hasn’t.
Skimming through the Twitter and Identi.ca comments, I also predict a rocky start to what amounts to add on features to many of Google’s existing offerings. Open standards are promised but Ryan Paul, a regular contributor at Ars Technica, is skeptical. Not of Google, per se, but rather that the implementation of open standards will be of benefit to anyone looking to integrate with Buzz. Having helped a coworker recently look into OAuth for doing some open integration work at the day job, I tend to think Ryan’s hesitation is credible and warranted.
Many of the journalists attending the press event asked questions that seemed to suggest that Google’s internal project teams are perhaps a bit too autonomous. There is no compelling integration story with Wave and it sounds like there may not be any time soon. I am not so sure I want the sort of intermingling of direct, personal messaging for which I currently use email with the more diffuse, less intimate messaging I conduct on Twitter and Identi.ca. We’ve all seen the direct message fail, lowering that barrier further seems somewhat risky to me. Also consider the rising cost of triaging let alone organizing and responding to message. I suspect this will open a flood gate on the average user which will kill the utility of both types of messaging when they are combined in one place.
ReadWriteWeb frames Buzz even more simply: this is what Google did with its acquisition of FriendFeed. I know people who far preferred FriendFeed to any other social messaging system. I’ll concede it had immense potential to be a truly useful dashboard, an aggregator for the wildly dispart and competing social systems clamoring for our attention. Unfortunately, I think it fell far short of the mark, re-committing many of the same mistakes in terms of actually adding friction to social communications rather than easing it.
I am skeptical but open to being convinced Buzz really is an improvement, even just an incremental one, over what we have seen so far in this space.