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Google launches new social networking site

13 March, 2010
By Allison Orr

Google has launched a new social networking site, called Buzz.  This feature allows Gmail users to post messages, known as buzzes, which are then integrated directly into a person’s Gmail inbox.  Private updates are automatically added to a user’s profile page, while public updates will also be available to search engines.  A user will see updates within their Gmail account in real time.

Gmail is hoping to capitalise on their 170 million Gmail users to compete with Facebook, which currently has 400 million users.  By integrating the social networking features directly into Gmail, it encourages users to stay in their own "Googleverse" rather than setting up an entirely new set of friends on another site.

At the launch, Google described Buzz as "A whole new world inside of Gmail".  However, the level of integration caused problems in the first few days: those who set up an account had their list of Gmail contacts automatically publicised as their "friends", and uploaded all their photos labeled as public on Picasa.  Google received a huge number of complaints, as people didn’t like the list of everybody they’d ever emailed being listed publicly.  They have now changed the default settings.

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