Google Inc is tapping its huge network of Gmail users and Web surfers to create a Buzz that it hopes will help it catch up with online networking leaders Facebook and Twitter.
The world’s no. 1 search engine on Tuesday launched Google Buzz, which allows users to share messages, Web links and photos with friends and colleagues within Gmail.
Google’s new technology mimics some of the key features of Twitter and Facebook that are increasingly challenging Google.
“There’s always been a giant network underneath Gmail,” said Google Product Manager Todd Jackson. Gmail is the world’s third most popular Web-based email, according to comScore, after Microsoft Corp’s Windows Live Hotmail (no. 1) and Yahoo Inc’s Mail (no. 2).
Status messages that users publish on Buzz and flag as viewable to everyone will be automatically indexed by Google’s search engine and be available within Google’s real-time search results.
Google has tried to ride the social networking wave before, launching Orkut in 2004. But while Orkut is big in certain overseas markets such as Brazil, it has failed to attract as many users as Facebook and MySpace in the US.
“Buzz is a mix of a lot of networking sites. I find it confusing and not very user friendly,” said Mumbai’s Phalguni Desai (25), who works with a charitable foundation.