Today I was given Google Maps 4.0.0 as an OTA update to my Moto Droid, and this version of Maps features Google’s Buzz functionality.
The best explanation and demonstration of Google Buzz that I’ve seen so far is on the blog Droid Life, of which I check in with every day (I’m a bit of a nerd about Droid).
For mobile users, Google Buzz on Google Maps allows Gmail users to share updates, photos, video and more by the tap of the screen. You can update where you’re at, what you want to say about where you’re at, and even include a photo or video. These geo-updates are visible to everyone, and anyone can make a comment or start a conversation thread with you about your post.
I spent tonight looking over the city of Cincinnati, noting that more and more status’ were being produced by the hour. Most users were posting about it being their first Buzz, the snow storm we’re in, or just saying hi. My first post was much the same – noting that the streets were somewhat clear, and included a photo with my post.
Google Buzz could be a flop. It might be the second coming of Google Wave, which while being very cool technology, no one seems to know how to put it to use… real use.
I think Google Buzz has a lot of marketing potential. I can see a few things happening:
- Businesses, such as restaurants or small retail shops, posting a sale or special coupon. Sort of like the text coupon – but more unique.
- Consumers spreading the word much faster about a really great or really horrible experience. Can you see the little Buzz bubbles posted all around a mall or retail center talking about the rude clerk? I can. I can see his or her face, too, posted on Google Buzz.
- News and happenings have yet another outlet for people on the scene to help tell the narrative.
This technology combines the things we love about Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and email. It’s really remarkable.
D&A Design’s belief (and tag line) is “Your Brand Is Everything,” and Buzz is just another example of what we mean. Like it or not, Buzz is going to be part of a business’ brand because the people who interact with your business can now post about their experiences without a business’ knowledge. From a design and branding perspective, Buzz simply means that the value proposition a business is touting had better be exactly what is offered, from top to bottom, or else there will be posts. One could look at this as a negative thing, I choose to see it as accountability. Mostly, though, I see Buzz as a new marketing portal.
Go read what else Buzz has to offer, and if you feel so inclined, post what else you think Buzz could enable below in comments.