It’s not about who shall win. It’s not about who has the better UI, it’s about going mainstream. But before that, it’s time to get inspired from a movie from ancient history –
In 1998 You’ve Got Mail represented the fact that email had gone mainstream. The story was not about the novelty of email but about two people unlikely to give each other a chance in real life, falling in love courtesy of email mediation. Email in 2001 was mainstream, Buzz is something that can take social streaming mainstream.
This struck me yesterday when one of my slightly tech agnostic friend was telling me how she found that one of her long lost ex-boyfriend was now “following” her on “Gmail”, so she sent him an email and they have been catching up over email for the last two days ! I asked her if she knew that it was Buzz that had automatically connected them – she had no clue.
If we fall back on the groundswell Social Techno graphics profiles – my friend would probably be a joiner. (I forced her to open a twitter account, which she might have opened once after that.) That in itself is the most interesting part of the whole Buzz story. In one snap, Google automatically matched up and more importantly introduced 150MM people to social streaming and real-time updates. Meanwhile facebook and twitter have been spending the last few years to woo the “critics” and “collectors” to join in their ranks. The whooping 150MM number contains the large mass of “joiners”, “spectators” and “inactive” (considering Gmail is not considered a social network). This is the event that could make real-time updates the new normal, i.e. taken for granted. In other words, if all goes as the Google-do-gooders plan, social networks would no longer be a novelty by themselves, instead the activity/content on them would reach a scale not imagined before. Meg Ryan’s tweets to Tom Hanks would be more important than twitter. That’s a hint to all marketers – we better brush our graph theory!
On a side note, buzz finally has given me a reason to open the Gmail window otherwise I was very happy with my apple mail. But for how long? When is the next Tweetdeck update? And just for the record, the verb though shall forever be “tweet” it might never become “buzz”, and rightfully so.