Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about Google Buzz. Social media experts have been praising and demonizing Google’s new service since it launched on Tuesday, February 9th. Within days of the launch, Google made quick changes to the Buzz experience in response to consumer privacy concerns. Despite a hefty volume of backlash, Buzz has enjoyed an incredible amount of usage (9 million posts in the first 2 days) from early adopters.
It didn’t take long for Mashable and other leading social media blogs to add a Google Buzz button to the majority of their posts. The button allows users to “buzz” a link to each article with a simple 2 step process. This alone is a big deal because it gives Buzz instant credibility by being included alongside social media giants, Facebook and Twitter (see image below).
As of Friday, February 12th, the Buzz button on Mashable started tracking the total number of buzzes. Why is this important? We now have a very public comparison of how Mashable readers are using Google Buzz in comparison to Twitter. Over the next several days and weeks, it will be interesting to see if the button gets more or less use in relationship to the Twitter button. In fact, this comparison may prove to be the best existing indicator of the success or failure of Google Buzz.
I have been monitoring the usage of the Google Buzz button for 3 days now and will continue to monitor it in the coming weeks. While writing this article, I compared the percentage of Buzz and Twitter actions for the last 10 articles posted to Mashable.com. You will notice the “Buzz This” button makes up about 11% of the total Twitter/Buzz actions which is pretty consistent with what I witnessed over the weekend. That’s pretty impressive for a service less than a week old. Will this number increase or decrease in the days and weeks to come? Will Buzz users lose interest as the hype dwindles or will Buzz continue to gain momentum? Only time will tell, but thanks to Mashable, we get to watch the battle unfold.
I personally believe Buzz has many obstacles to overcome on both functionality and privacy. Success for Google will likely be determined by their diligence in addressing problems that surface over time. If they use the “launch and ignore” tactic we’ve seen many times before, Buzz will probably die a very public and painful death. On the other hand, the potential for Buzz is huge and Google is in need of big win. So it won’t be surprising if we see a major commitment from Google and a steady stream of Buzz announcements in the near future.