Google has announced on Tuesday that it is immediately rolling out Google Buzz, a location-aware social networking tool highly integrated with its Gmail client, Google Maps and a new Android app.
Available as a new tab in the standard Gmail interface, the service will share links, Gmail status updates, YouTube videos and Picasa photos. Other users can leave comments on your shared data as you can to theirs: users to share Buzz can be automatically added from your contacts, suggested by Google through frequency of correspondence, or selected individually. Buzz updates can be sent to Twitter, but as yet there is no automatic importation of tweets.
The service includes a recommendation engine that will try to suggest Buzz content that you may find interesting, and will attempt to refine those recommendations over time by your responses. "Buzz also weeds out uninteresting posts from the people you follow — collapsing inactive posts and short status messages like "brb." These early versions of ranking and recommendations are just a start; we're working on improvements that will help you automatically sort through all the social data being produced to find the most relevant conversations that matter to you."; the company said in a blog post.
Google Buzz' location based features will use GPS and various algorithms to identify where you are by place name; once you have agreed with its choice, you can leave Buzz updates that will appear on a new layer of Google Maps to your friends, as well as being part of your general Buzz stream.
Google executives said that they intended Buzz to be open, that it will respect users' privacy decisions, will not lock up data and will have an open API. An Enterprise Buzz, linked to Google Apps, will be made available later: meanwhile, Google Buzz is being rolled out to its first users now and will become available to alL Gmail users over the next week.