2 Years ago I wrote a blog post entitled “Dear Yahoo, Microsoft and Google mail, forget Facebook, start innovating”. Facebook was coming up strong (still is), giving headaches to everyone. And it occurred to me (and other, smarter people, like Om Malik) that these companies had an extremely strong asset that could be socialized, e-mail!
There are, even today, more people on the web using e-mail than there are people on Facebook. E-mail, as old-fashioned and clumsy as it sounds, is still at the heart of our social interactions. It has been declared dead uncountable times, mostly by people without imagination. But the basis service e-mail provides us, the ability to reach out and interact with the people we know, was there long before any social network was ever imagined.
Google made the first real attempt to innovate on e-mail, and gave us Gmail. Gmail brought a nr of important features to mail that didn’t exist before. It is web-based (and easily reachable from anywhere), has excellent SPAM filters and it gives us free storage. They added chat to it and the ability to change its appearance and functioning via scripts.
I’ve mentioned 9 improvements to mail 2 years ago. These improvements would make email more social for me. And now that I’ve watched the video on Google Buzz, it has become clear to me that Google implemented these requests (and more) into Google Buzz (I wonder, did they ever read my post ;-) )
Google never ceases to amaze me. Everyone laughed when they “missed” social networks. Everyone declared Facebook the winner. I’m sure Google would have liked to own a company like Facebook. But I’m glad Google didn’t and had to invent social networking the hard way. Building a closed walled garden was the easy way out then. Google was forced to solve the issue differently. And it turns out they had all the assets already available to them. Just think about it. They have (real-time) search, maps, localization, mobile, chat, e-mail, photos, video’s, and they most likely have you and all of your friends using Google accounts. It’s all there.
And with Google Buzz they now offer an open solution that connects and integrates with anything else Google and others have to offer. And by opening up this social space, Google has made the web just a little more User-Centric.
Well done! Let the buzz begin