Google made another bid Tuesday to master social media. The Mountain View, Calif. company will turn Gmail and mobile platforms into social media services by adding network and sharing features. The tools will roll out to consumers within the next few days, followed by similar ones for enterprises soon.
Frequent contacts automatically convert to followers, whose public updates, photos, links and other shared materials appear in the stream. Gmail users can also choose to keep social updates private. Google made the announcement during a press conference in Northern California.
The tools target Facebook and Twitter with the ability to share information, links, photos, and more in real time.
Todd Jackson, Buzz product manager, summarized the features in Buzz. First up, auto-following that allows people to view content from contacts, which takes advantage of the underlying social capabilities in Gmail. Others he highlighted include a rich, fast sharing experience, both public and private sharing options, inbox integration, and recommended buzz, which he called "Just the Good Stuff."
The recommended buzz takes the concept behind PageRank and quality score and applies it to social media. It delivers personalized recommendations on the content you like determined by past preferences and those that have influenced conversations with friends.
The desire to share information doesn't stop with the PC. Google moved the platform into mobile. So the company set out to identify signals to algorithmically determine the relevance of a post. Location-based services that determine latitude and longitude support the technology.
The new version of Google Mobile Maps has a layer that displays Buzz posts tagged to a location. People can see public Buzz content posted from mobile phones around their location. That information might include reviews of local stores or restaurants.