Buzz off Google Buzz!

Despite their entry into the “social network” scene with Orkut some time ago. (Anyone heard of that one? Know anyone who uses it? No, I didn’t think so.) Google are at it again, this time with a more Microsoftesque approach.

*sighs* What is a monolithic corporate to do? There’s so much data out there that could belong to Google, and it doesn’t! Nevermind the fact that nobody outside of Brazil seems to give a damn about Orkut. If Muhammad won’t go to the mountain, then the mountain must go to Muhammad.

Build it into something we know people use so that they can’t get away from it! Something like Gmail, the almost ubiquitous free email service! Yes!

Oh, but remember Google’s catchphrase, “Don’t be evil”. So in the spirit of not being evil let’s add a splash page when you log into Gmail asking if you want to try Buzz or not, give people the choice. We’ll make the “Yes” button huge and hard to miss, and we can make the “No” button the smallest link you ever did overlook repeatedly. Oh yeah and not everyone should get to see the splash page, some people are blessed and can have it automatically, but more importantly, silently enabled. As was the case with my mother who didn’t have a clue what the hell was going on, all she knew was that suddenly she had “loads of stalkers on Gmail”.

Should “no” disable it completely? – Don’t be silly! We can’t deny them the one true social network of freedom, democracy and peace! What kind of commie are you?! Just make “no” mean “yes” and have it automatically follow everyone you’ve ever emailed and vice versa. I guess we should have a disable button somewhere, but people shouldn’t find it, let’s just make it one of the smallest and most inconspicuous links in the footer. (That’s where it is by the way)

Google have a monopoly, they know it and they’re using it. Yeah, not evil at all.

Google do make some really cool products. Some I really like. I also realise that a lot of the cool stuff they can only do because they already have the infrastructure in place to make it happen. I also like that Google have always made a point about being able to get your data back out again through free APIs. So all the time that’s the case I’m appeased.

Just remember that too much of a good thing is bad for you. – I think it’s time for Google to back off. I can’t help but suspect that a slippery slope is just round the corner.

I think that’s this rant more-or-less over. I can’t vouch for those within earshot though, they may have to hear it one or two more times. 😉

UPDATE:

I was talking with Dave about this and he, being better with words than I, found a way to phrase my main gripe with this whole affair. It “devalues” your Google account. By adding all these new social features it’s making my Google account noisier and crowded with people all chattering away about stuff that I quite frankly don’t care about. There’s nothing wrong with the features themselves, besides being a bit flaky and having to authorise someone four times and still have it not work! I love that I can “connect” other sites to my Google account. The fact that it’s on by default regardless of whether or not you wanted it is the step too far.

People use different tools for different things and have different circles of friends that they may want to keep separate or just don’t relate. My “rocker” friends and “geek” friends don’t tend to mix much. I use my Google account for all my Google related gubbins. I use Facebook for being “social” online. Because that’s where my friends are. While it’s great that the capability is there, *I* don’t want Google to automatically broadcast everything I do on YouTube or any other site it happens to own.

Google seem to think that people have lost the ability to communicate with one another on their own and we need a web-app to do it for us. “They” talk about how technology and the Internet is making people more isolated than ever before. Why should I talk to someone when they can just watch my online activity in almost real-time?