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Google Buzz Going Zzz: Not Working for Some Users

Google (GOOG) has just announced its entry in the world of its social networking product, Buzz , meant to compete with Facebook and Twitter. However, apparently not all Gmail users are getting access to it at this point, making the service seem to emulate the Twitter fail whale rather than a status update. How do I know? I just tried it.

According to the video on Google's Buzz site, here's what you're supposed to see logging into Gmail now:

Here's what I saw:

And here's what I saw when I clicked on the link for more items:

Not much Buzz in that. When you click the Try Buzz in Gmail link, it directs you to mail.google.com. Signing and then out of the account did nothing, nor did a different login. Doing a #buzz search on Twitter turned up other people here and there who also seemed to have missed the Buzz, as well as a good number saying one of the following things from what they had read or from trying the service:

  • seems like Google Wave
  • looks like Twitter for Gmail
  • wondering how to get into Buzz
One Twitter user, @DavidAKnopf, wrote, " Without Google #Buzz, I would never know that 3 complete strangers are about to eat burritos at a nearby taqueria." Good to know that it's working for someone.

Seriously, Google is trying to move into a new area that a number of companies have already thoroughly staked out. To me, this is like trying to pull a Microsoft (MSFT): Watch for success and then go in with a competing product. And although that can work, often it doesn't. You have to be able to offer more to users for them to undertake a switch. There is also the whole issue of how social networking success by definition feeds on itself. You go use the social networking tool that other people you know use. One of the prerequisites is making it available to all potential users so you can get some buzz going. As it were.

One smart move on the part of Google is opening the Buzz API immediately so that developers and users can start building on it. But, of course, that gets back to people using it so developers will spend the time on Buzz and not some small time competitor like Facebook or Twitter.