Google Buzz new feature seeks to integrate all other communication methods, mainly through Gmail, into a social networking model. This could render sites like Facebook and MySpace obsolete, but only in that it could allow people to monitor a variety of feeds from one single hub. This centralization is of incredible interest to iPhone and other smart phone users as the mobile device is increasingly becoming a force on integration with other technological and communicative modes. Google has already begun bringing many of their services to the iPhone, and almost every other online communication service ranging from instant message to full social networking sites have been brought into normal iPhone functioning.
Google Buzz is, essentially, as social networking tool. It allows you to use a variety of media types, just as in other social networking sites, to communicate in a more back and forth format. None of this is new to users of sites like YouTube, Twitter, or Flickr, but that is not what is stated to be revolutionary about Google Buzz. Instead it is the integration that has been a central aspect of Google's business model. All of these features are being added into Gmail so that you can have a single location for all networking communication. Along with this is the integration of other sites like Twitter, Blogger, Picasa, Google Reader, YouTube, and others. Because of this integration it presents itself as a more complete opponent to Facebook, which is now the social networking standard.
What Google Buzz really means for the base Google company is synergy. Since you can now integrate all your email contacts with your phone contacts through Google there seems to be no reason to not do the same with your social networking friends as well. Sites like Facebook have been trying to combat this by making their iPhone applications tie into the phone call functions easily, but if people already have large contact lists inside their email account this may act as an atom bomb. The other question around this is if it is really enticing enough to warrant people completely shifting services all together.
The features of Google Buzz are not surprising, but this is also the first eruption of a social networking service after mobile platforms have become a standard place for social networking. This means that to truly integrate into the culture Google has to make Google Buzz available in a unique format that will make it easy to use from your iPhone or other smart phone. Google has made big waves about how it was going to integrate the features of the iPhone into this, but this has mainly been about the use of Maps and GPS features. This will help with the locator once you first log into Google Buzz.
To get Google Buzz on your iPhone you can go through a relatively simple process set up through the Google website. Go to http://www.google.com/mobile/buzz/ and find at the right hand side of the web page there will be a Sent to Phone button. This will allow you to send a text message with the buzz.google.com link to your iPhone. Just enter in your phone number and hit send, which will almost instantly appear as a text message on your iPhone. Select the link and this will take you to Google in the Buzz tab. It will ask to use your general location, which it will then select a news feed for you out of Google Buzz users in your area. This is going to be adjacent to your own selected feeds, which really just works as Twitter does.
The directions to activate Google Buzz from your iPhone are not difficult, but you may be wondering why you would have to go through Safari for a service like this. FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube, and a variety of Twitter applications have already made their way onto the iPhone. Every one of these services is made accessible on the iPhone through a curtailed application because even the most iPhone friendly web service is difficult through Safari. Seeing as media is going to be a central part of using Google Buzz it is unclear how Google attempts to remedy the lack of video support and slow photo load times that come through Safari. If Google really wants the Buzz to resonate with smart phone users it will have to develop a comparable application that did what Google Earth did and make it simple and easy to use right from the touch screen. It is likely that Google Buzz will develop even further and add more and more features as months turn into years, but it is going to be no good if mobile devices are not kept front and center of this.