Five Reasons to Love Google Buzz, Five Reasons Not

Pros and cons for thinking about Google's new social network.

ByDAVID COURSEY
February 12, 2010, 1:57 PM

Feb. 13, 2010— -- There is much to like about Google's new Buzz social network, but is it really a "Facebook killer" as some predict? Ultimately, users will decide, and to help we've collected five things to love about Buzz and five reasons Facebook may prevail.

The big issue: Do you need another social network, or are two networks one too many?

For business users, there is a related issue, and that involves wanting to be where your customers are and the value of keeping them in one place. Facebook business users may want to root for Buzz to fail.

I am a Buzz skeptic, but not immune to the service's considerable appeal. It may turn out that Buzz is better for business social networking than Facebook, especially once it becomes part of the paid Google Apps Premier Edition suite.

There is also something to be said for separating business and social networks across two different and non-connected services. That works in Google's favor.

Buzz's reliance on Gmail is both a blessing and a curse, effectively limiting membership in Google's network in a way Facebook doesn't require. I can use Facebook with any e-mail client I choose, while Google tries to make that choice for me.

Having played with Buzz for a bit more than a day, and based on a much longer relationship with Facebook, I've assembled some Pros and Cons for users to consider when thinking about Buzz.

Cons:

Facebook and Buzz are different animals. The difference in using a web-based "destination" user interface and interacting from inside a mail client is quite significant. Buzz simply feels different than Facebook and will mesh with particular applications and users in different ways. My feeling is that Buzz is more about connecting with small groups or individuals while Facebook makes users part of a much larger community.

Mostly, I think we need a better Facebook, both as a service and the company behind the service, rather than a Facebook replacement. However, if Facebook continues its user alienation program of aggravating changes, its users now have a new place go. Buzz could potentially shatter Facebook's hold on its 400,000 million members--because of things Facebook does.

The biggest difference between the two, ultimately, may be simple: One social network comes from a widely admired and respected company and the other comes from Facebook, which never quite seems to get anything right, yet has attracted some 400,000 million members.

That suggests Facebook is in more trouble that we--or it--may know.

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