I’m usually a Google fanboy – I like…love most of what they’ve launched. I can’t even imagine any other mail besides Gmail.Â Google Wave was an exception. Despite some other fanboy raves, I found it pointless.
Google Buzz is next on line – though I’m willing to wait and give it a serious shot. How can I not – it’s right below the ‘Inbox’, as against Wave, which created a parallel economy between the haves and have-nots.
Oh yes, Google Buzz is new, shiny, amazingly well integrated, loads smoothly and does the dishes in record time.
But, here’s my biggest grouse with Google Buzz – it has the audacity to assume that my email contacts are the same ones that I want to socialize with, online.
Consider this: how would you feel if you’re forced to socialize with neighbors in your apartment? I know – we’re supposed to be civil to them considering we’re in the same damn building – but is being civil same as being social? No!
I choose to write to some people on email for a reason – and one of the most important reason is to have a one-to-one communication. I may or may not want to expose my connection with someone to the world/ others.
I anyway have a huge problem with gmail adding every single mail ID that I write to in the address book – Yahoo and Hotmail had the courtesy to ask if I’d like to add a particular email ID in my address book…Gmail just assumes, on its own.
So, who gets to Buzz with me? The people I mail to? How does that even make sense? On Facebook, I seek connections with people over something…an interest; a past connection; a common connection; an admiration…! On Twitter, I connect based on a few criteria – interest in profile; number of tweets; their connections; cute DP (well….); intelligence; common interests…!Â On Google Buzz?
We’ve come such a long way in using other systems like Facebook and Twitter for specific purposes that I don’t email my collegeÂ batch matesÂ or pastÂ colleagues. I see what they are up to generally on Facebook or what they are up to right now on Twitter. On Google Buzz, the connections are forced, minimally relevant and largely pointless.
Yes, Google’s initial set of recommendations are based on the amount of of emails/ chats we’ve exchanged between us, but many such interactions are merely obligatory and not necessarily social. How would Google know the difference? If it doesn’t, why should it assume that ‘more’ automatically means a connection?
For instance, I might be having a raging mail conversation with the customer service department of a brand that I’m not happy with – I may mail them umpteen times and also be having chats with them on gchat. Will Buzz assume that this means I’m willing to share photos and videos with them? If Buzz was a clean slate with just the basic criteria of having a gmail ID, it could have been so much more exciting. Like Twitter, but!!
So…why would Google launch a product based on Gmail’s email address book? Isn’t it a bit like collecting all the numbers you’ve ever called from your mobile phone (whether they’re in your phone contacts list or you entered numbers manually) and announcing to you that since you called them, you now have a connection. Hmmm…does it really work that way?
No, I’m not biased or closed to this discussion on Google Buzz – as I started this post, I love most of Google’s products. So, if you have a good logic to counter this rant’y post, I’m definitely willing to reconsider my abrasive stand.
As with many things in life, there is a perfectly appropriate Seinfeld episode to explain my state about Google Buzz right now – ‘The Boyfriend‘…18th episode of Season 3. Besides hilarious moments like a spoof of JFK assassination and my 2nd most favorite moment in any Seinfeld episode (the latex salesman ending – next only to George ‘Marine Biologist’ pulling out a golf ball), Seinfeld and Keith Hernandez’s relationship is exactly how I feel right now with many people on my Gmail contacts list.