Microsoft on Google Buzz: Been there, done that

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.

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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, Software, Social Enterprise

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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12 comments
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  • You hit the nail on the head. "slightly less confusing successor to Wave"

    I think you will see Google trying anything and
    everything to see what works best for online real-
    time collaboration.
    DonnieBoy
  • The difference

    Wall Street pays attention when Google announces.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703630404575053480962942848.html?mod=WSJ-business-whatsNews#articleTabs%3Darticle
    IT_User
  • Wave had a good start - but failed to keep moving . . .

    Wave had a good start - but failed to keep moving . . .

    As somebody who has a Wave account - it's useless unless [b]everybody[/b] uses it. Had to go back to email after I realized that nearly everybody I know weren't going to switch. That's what I get for being the techie in my family - I'm the only one who jumps on new stuff.

    Without other people I know on it - it's pretty useless.

    In addition, while it launched with a lot of features, it's slowed down to nearly a complete halt since then. New features are taking way too long to be added.

    I'm thinking that they developed something way too large and complex to be changed easily. It's becoming a glacier, and is slowing to a crawl.
    CobraA1
    • It's a buzz only to non-tech

      Real techies know it's another beta-hype.
      LBiege
    • Wave had a good start - but failed?

      First of all, has Wave even launched properly yet? Last thing I read, it was getting ready to and you're announcing its dead before its even had a chance. Something like this will take years to get going.

      You also seem to misunderstand what Wave is. It isn't a feature rich service. It's a framework that developers can add to. It's like knocking Chrome when it launched its addon feature for not having enough addons coming out regularly from Google. Google provided the framework within Chrome for developers to create whatever they liked. Times passing and addons for Chrome are starting to take off.

      Wave will be the same. It will take time, possibly a very long time, for Wave to really take off, if it's going to take off at all. It's up to developers whether they want to develop for Wave now and get in early or wait for it to gain enough traction before risking developing for it. None of this is in Googles hands.
      techpops
      • Too long.

        "Something like this will take years to get going."

        That's too long.

        "You also seem to misunderstand what Wave is. It isn't a feature rich service. It's a framework that developers can add to. "

        No - you seem to misunderstand what it is.

        It's both.

        If it's not meant to be used by end users, then there's no sense in developing for it.

        "It's like knocking Chrome when it launched its addon feature for not having enough addons coming out regularly from Google."

        Well, I thought it was a valid complaint. Now that Firefox is just as fast as Chrome, I'm throwing Chrome away.

        "Wave will be the same."

        Well, then I don't want it, and I won't want it when it comes out for real either.
        CobraA1
    • Wave had a good start?

      Wave is still in beta/limited review. You might be mixing up tools?
      theinboxfor-zdnet@...
  • Microsoft: Been there and done with Windows as well.

    And now moved on, after wasting my time and hundreds of
    dollars due to Microsoft Windows. I've contributed to Bill
    Gates massive fortune, no more.
    root12
  • RE: Microsoft on Google Buzz: Been there, done that

    Microsoft has every right to call Google Buzz boring because it is! Buzz is Google's second attempt at their failed orkut initiative. I also see Buzz going the same way as orkut. Forgotten about in 6 months because their employees just don't care. Now if they had introduced a product called "sit around playing with office toys all day" then it would be more descriptive and more accurate of what Google actually wants to accomplish.
    Loverock Davidson
  • I hope MS Improves SharePoint...It's Nasty

    MS comes out with tools that have so much promise, but they
    just can't seem to finish them properly. Maybe they need to
    get some better designers. I don't know...something.
    CowLauncher
    • Uh...

      Or maybe people cannot implement them properly? My company is using Sharepoint and I really like it a LOT!
      jessiethe3rd
  • Took a look at Buzz . . .

    Took a look at Buzz . . .

    . . . and it's just a Facebook-like wall shoved into Gmail.

    Don't really see the point.
    CobraA1