What does Google Buzz offer business?
Google Buzz was launched with much fanfare earlier this year, but was met with a backlash of privacy concerns. Neil Davey investigates what it has to offer for business users.
For all the excitement and controversy that surrounded the launch of Google Buzz, users needed time to assess what it could do – particularly since the only available instructions came in the shape of a two minute video.
Another reason for approaching Buzz with caution was brought to light by the unholy storm that broke around its loose approach to users’ privacy. The new application is tightly coupled to Gmail and users were understandably unhappy when they found Buzz was already set up to follow people from their Gmail contacts. It remains to be seen whether Buzz will recover from this negative reaction.
But if you are prepared to accept Google’s direct involvement in your social networking, what does Buzz offer the business user?
According to Google co-founder Sergey Brin an enterprise version of Buzz will be rolled out as part of its Google Apps suite, although he didn’t say when. But he did say at the launch that he had been testing it personally and found it useful for sharing and collaborating on documents.
By posting a draft article he was writing on Buzz, Brin collected 50 or so responses, slashing the time it takes to sort through feedback and editing a document collaboratively. “It has really enabled me to communicate – you get far better information about what's going on in the company,” he said in an interview with Techcrunch.com.
“Now if I have a question about something I don't have to dig up who is the person who is particularly responsible for this, I can just throw a question out there, I know there are enough people out there who pay attention to my posts, and also now with the recommendations it should get recommended to the right person anyway. And I don't worry that I'm disrupting people because the social expectation on Buzz is different than on email.”
For those who are have already set up Groups in Gmail, Buzz certainly offers a way to communicate and collaborate with followers. If these messages need to be private, they can also be ringfenced to certain groups, who can view and comment on them.