Google announced this week it is throwing its hat into the social media ring. Google says the new Google Buzz tab will begin showing up on about 1 percent of Gmail user accounts starting right away. Google says the rest of Gmail users will be able to see a new Google Buzz tab in their accounts within a week.
Two things immediately caught my eye:
1. Google Buzz is integrated only into Gmail. Granted there are more than 150 million Gmail users, but there are still quite a few people who are not.
2. Google Buzz does not integrate into Facebook. I think this is going to be a HUGE factor in whether Google Buzz is successful or not. It should be interesting to see how this plays out and if Facebook will one day integrate into Google Buzz. As Facebook sneaks past 400 million users, this is certainly not a number Google can ignore.
Here’s a quick ‘cheat sheet’ of what Google Buzz is:
1. Integrates with Gmail. Below your Gmail inbox, there will be a tab for Buzz, allowing you to read status updates, photos and video. The 40 people you converse with the most in Gmail and Gchat are automatically added as friends. Buzz updates also appear in your inbox if someone comments on your updates or your comments, or someone directs a Buzz to your attention by using the familiar "@" symbol
2. Integrates with other channels. Photos from Flickr and Picasa and video from YouTube appear as thumbnails in Google Buzz. You can pull in tweets from Twitter, but you can’t send your Buzz updates out to Twitter or other social networks. …CONTINUED
3. "Page rank" for status updates. To compensate for posts that many people don’t care about (like what you just ate for lunch), Google Buzz lets you like and dislike status updates, and learn over time whether to show or collapse status updates from your friends. It also looks for conversations outside your direct group of followers and adds them to your feed as recommendations.
4. Private and public updates. Private updates can go to all of your Buzz followers or just a select group. Public updates are posted on your Google Profile page and are immediately indexed for Google Search.
5. Mobile application. Google Buzz will have a mobile app that dictates status updates by voice and geotags your posts. On Google Mobile Maps, Buzz updates appear directly on the map, so you can read location-based updates. You can also look for any recent Buzz updates posted near your current location.
So what does this mean for real estate agents and brokers? I think at this point Google Buzz is too new to make any predictions about what Realtors will or won’t need to do. I do think that if Google Buzz stays as is, it will be somewhat limiting to agents due to the fact it is just available to Gmail users and that it does not integrate with Facebook.
As social media evolves, however, it is imperative that agents keep an eye on where people are gathering and where they are communicating. Today it is primarily Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Will Google Buzz be the next big thing? Only time will tell.
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Katie Lance is the marketing manager for Inman News. Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.
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