Microsoft on Google Buzz: Been there, done that

Summary:Google Buzz, which sounds like the slightly less confusing successor to Google's "future of e-mail" Wave product, is coming in both consumer and enterprise flavors, according to Google. Are the Softies quaking in their boots? Not exactly.

Google Buzz, which sounds like the slightly less confusing successor to Google's "future of e-mail" Wave product, is coming in both consumer and enterprise flavors, according to Google. Are the Softies quaking in their boots?

Not exactly. I asked Microsoft officials for comment on Google Buzz, which Google unveiled on February 9.

I received a response attributable to Dharmesh Mehta, Director of Product Management for Windows Live:

"Busy people don’t want another social network, what they want is the convenience of aggregation. We’ve done that. Hotmail customers have benefitted from Microsoft working with Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and 75 other partners since 2008."

(Not sure I'd call that statement a "slam," like TechCrunch did... Felt to me more like attempted buzzzzzzkill.)

Microsoft also has been working to integrate social networks from third parties not just into its Web-mail product, but also into its Outlook mail client, via the Outlook Social Connector that the company unveiled at the Professional Developers Conference in 2009.

Microsoft is integrating the Social Connector into the Outlook 2010 product which is due out in the first half of this year. Microsoft's Social Connector is designed to do a lot of what Buzz does, except with more of a business-centric focus.When Microsoft announced the Connector, there weren't major providers on board (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but company officials did say Windows Live integration, unsurprisingly, would be happening in 2010.

Microsoft's Social Connector also provides regularly updated "activity feeds" for those in a user's social connector via a connection with SharePoint 2010.

(My ZDNet blogging colleague Larry Dignan blogged today that Google's real target with Buzz was Microsoft SharePoint, not Twitter or FriendFeed. With the Social Connector front end taken into account, I wouldn't say he's far off the mark.)

In the longer term, Microsoft is working on infusing a lot of its products with more social networking capabilities. That's a key piece of the mission of the recently created FUSE Labs at Microsoft, headed by Lili Cheng. Cheng, as Microsoft watchers may recall, has been working on the Social Desktop concept for a few years now....

Is Google actually chasing Microsoft's taillights with Buzz -- despite the lack of mentions of competitive offerings from Redmond by the majority of the press/bloggers covering today's Buzz launch? What's your take?

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Google, Social Enterprise, Software

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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