Google Buzz brings media sharing and social conversations to Gmail

With Buzz, Google plans to bring a social media-like atmosphere to its popular Gmail web e-mail interface.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

If you're anything like me, you use your e-mail account for more than just e-mail in the "letter" sense of the term.

Sometimes it's a to-do list. Sometimes it's a photo repository.

Sometimes it's a way to pass along links, either immediately through gChat or later via e-mail.

Google on Tuesday released Buzz, its new social media-flavored service add-on to its popular Gmail web e-mail application that intends to better serve all of those uses from within the Gmail window.

Available as a link beneath the one for your inbox, Buzz is designed to encourage real-time conversation -- and for businesses, collaboration -- within Gmail.

It automatically pulls in images, videos and other feeds to one spot, leveraging the company's Picasa photo application (as well as Yahoo's Flickr), Google Reader and Twitter.

If you're already a Google services user, it will pull in your established contacts as well.

Here's a look:

So what is it, exactly? Google positions it as a way to start conversations, though if you use Google services, you already were via gChat and Gmail. The real value of Buzz is marrying both of those services, with dashes of Picasa and Twitter, to keep you talking without switching services.

Instead of a universal inbox, it's a universal soapbox.

You can also use the service via a mobile phone -- perhaps a Google Android-based smartphone, yes? -- and use that device's geolocation abilities to jabber about a certain location.

Google Buzz, it seems, is equal parts Facebook ("friends"), Twitter (real-time updates), Gmail, gChat, Picasa, Yelp and Foursquare.

What will you buzz about?

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards