Why is Google buzzing?

Social media Google

IF YOU ARE ONE of the 150 million or so people who use gmail and you’ve checked your gmail account over the past week, you will know that Google has quietly launched its own version of Facebook, a social networking site called Buzz. If you stepped through setting up Buzz in the first few days after its launch then you may be among the many users disgruntled by the fact that Buzz automatically publicised your list of gmail contacts as your “friends,” and automatically uploaded all of your Picasa photos labelled as public. Too bad if you don’t really want the list of everybody you have ever gmailed to be public knowledge. Google responded pretty quickly to the avalanche of complaints and have now changed the default settings.

This recent buzz about Buzz raises an interesting question. Why would Google want to set up a social networking site? Isn’t Facebook completely dominant, and isn’t Google’s main business its search engine and to a lesser extent, the controversial Google Books project (which, incidentally, has another court hearing scheduled for 18 February)?...

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