I don’t know whether to call the last few days “Leo Gate” or “Social Media Gate” or “Buzz Gate” but one thing it certainly highlights is how different the Google Buzz Team is:-
1. Responding rapidly to situations
Not just with a social media celebrity such as Leo, but with all users with problems. Quite often a user familiar with Buzz will just @message one of the Google Buzz Team if something needs some kind of interaction with an engineer to resolve, but quite often the Google Buzz team members get involved without being prompted.
2. Direct interaction
In many ways it reminds me of Friendfeed who were already in many ways looked on as underdogs compared to Twitter and only gained significant traction when Twitter was down. Just like Friendfeed the creators of Buzz are participating in the conversation and in many cases they are leading the conversation as well.
They are users, and creating a platform they want to use.
3. Scale & Community
Obviously Buzz isn’t yet at the same scale as Twitter – it is quite possible it is at a similar scale to Friendfeed. The funny thing is I saw lots of people writing smart comments in replies to Leo’s anguish such as “What’s Buzz?” as if it is insignificant.
There was also this comment in a post on Cnet
Only a few social-media services truly matter at the scale at which Google likes to operate, and Buzz is clearly not yet one of them.
The thing is Cnet isn’t relevant to Buzz – you will rarely see any Cnet content there. Actually you only see Techcrunch content on Buzz because people share it in a fragmented way, or syndicate tweets of Techcrunch to Buzz. Mashable has a much more focused strategy in place and you will regularly see 100+ comments to a Mashable post on Buzz, and they will often be far more interesting than the comments on the blog itself.
Ultimately with any software platform you don’t attempt to scale until you are ready for it. Buzz may not even remain within Gmail long-term, but I have a feeling it will have significant longevity, because Google are not siting on their hands.
4. Speedy of Implementation
Bugs seem to get fixed rapidly on occasion
Google Buzz Team – @Leo Laporte – Thanks for reporting this issue — and sorry we didn’t get to the bottom of it until today. You helped us uncover a very rare bug that has existed for a while, one that only someone with a ton of followers was likely to uncover.
Here’s what happened: If one of your followers deleted their Google Account (this probably happened around August 6th), Buzz failed to deliver your post to all of your followers. Your post still existed in your Buzz stream, it just wasn’t sent properly to the people who wanted to see it.
We’re in the process of fixing this bug now, and it should be resolved in the next day or two. We’re really sorry that you had this experience and really thankful that you reported it to us so we could fix it.9:00 pm
How dare Google ship a product with bugs – how dare they have bugs even 6 months later?
5. Free As In Open
This was pretty much the ethos of Friendfeed as well, but Google have a very much open approach with Buzz. This comment from DeWitt Clinton to me just typifies the approach.
DeWitt Clinton – @Andy Beard Also, we’re going out of our way to make it easy (and free) for anyone who wants to index or archive Buzz posts and comments to do so. We’re using standard Atom and ActivityStreams and PubSubHubbub — if someone wants to build a search engine around Buzz, just subscribe to the hub and off you go, no contract required:
Stayed tuned for more features like this coming soon. This type of decentralized, open approach is central to the core values we have in mind for Buzz.
To be honest I am a little freaked out by the concept of a Google Engineer suggesting I build a search engine on top of their platform APIs and mentioned that a little thater in the conversation thread, but the concept intrigues me.