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Is Google Buzzing?

Do you want unrestricted rambling in your Inbox every day?

Published: Feb 22, 2010 08:24:38 AM IST
Updated: Feb 20, 2010 11:08:00 AM IST

Sure, social networking in the same tab as my email is convenient. The ability to follow or be followed by every person I’ve ever emailed, including ex-bosses and the stalker guy from high school, is a mixed blessing. Being able to aggregate sites (Blogger, YouTube, Google Reader, Flickr, and yes, Twitter) made me pause: I was already sharing what I was thinking in too many places, with too many people. How many interesting nuggets of information could I disperse in a single day?

One’s posts aren’t limited to Twitter’s 140 characters. One can post pictures and video too. Another mixed blessing: Do I want unrestricted rambling in my inbox every day? Then there’s Google’s promise that I can tag posts with geo-location. Which could make it easier to find user reviews on, say, a restaurant I’m going to.


 Is Google Buzzing?


Of course, it’s still early days. As we go to press, the service has been out for just a day, and a fair evaluation of its usefulness will only be possible when more users join in. Which shouldn’t be too difficult: Google’s got a ready-made user base in the 150 million people who use Gmail. (Though, from a quick survey of my address book, only a handful have jumped in so far.)

But there are already privacy issues being flagged. Users have buzzed in annoyance when they have found that Google already had them auto-following people (and being followed) without an explicit opt-in. And there seems to be no way to replicate what for me is a favourite aspect of Twitter: Following news organisations, authors, comedians, musicians, and the like.

Verdict? Plenty of buzz. No convincing sting.

(This story appears in the 05 March, 2010 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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