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Google Buzz has a Khan twist

india Updated: Feb 14, 2010 23:22 IST
N Madhavan

Two weeks ago, after seeing Aamir Khan’s “Rancho” in 3 Idiots, I found the character resembling Apple CEO Steve Jobs. This week, after seeing the Shah Rukh Khan starrer, My Name Is Khan, I am tempted to draw a parallel between Rizwan Khan, the character played by SRK in the movie, and Google’s engineers, who last week launched Buzz, the search giant’s answer to popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter.

Rizwan plays a brilliant man who can repair almost anything and remember amazing details, and yet cannot express his feelings easily, because he is a social recluse suffering from Asperger Syndrome, a variation of autism.

Now, someone at the respected technology site GigaOM described Buzz as “nerds at a dance” — symbolising the difficulty an engineering mindset in handling a social network. My views are quite similar.

First, Buzz comes like a free offering with anyone who has a Gmail account, and hence it seems like a master stroke to enter the game and instantly grab tens of millions of users.

But the look, the feel and the effect of Buzz left me with a bad taste. It is kind of clunky, as if someone gave one a useless product that one took home because it came free.

Facebook offers a colourful interface with chances to share links, photos and notes with friends. Twitter, the microblogging site, is emerging strongly as a site to share ideas and debate hot issues.

Google’s offering is comparable, but looks vanilla, though you can pipe your Twitter feed automatically into Buzz. But the whole thing seems uncomfortable because it seems to offer nearly nothing dramatically new, which one has come to expect from Google.

So what gives?

Maybe the engineers goofed, much like a gauche Rizwan unable to express his feelings sociably.

On the other hand, I do see a brilliant play somewhere.

Google has just acquired Aardvark (www.vark.com) which is a site that helps people find answers to what they are looking for from other people connected on the Web. Now, imagine Buzz integrated with Vark, and you could have hundreds of millions of users helping each other within the loop, and Google taking away money from the ads appearing on the side, like it has done in the case of search.

Rich engineers may not appear romantic, but they do have a knack of landing great sweethearts, like Rizwan did with Mandira (Kajol) in MNIK.