Funny, isn’t it? The people who review gadgets generally aren’t the people who buy them.
After all, whom would you hire to write your tech column, Average Joe Consumer or someone with advanced technical skills?
Exactly. So tech reviewers tend to be devotees, the people who get sweaty-palmed at the thought of 64-bit addressing and multiband radios — not members of the target audience, the hundreds of millions who will actually spend money on these things. That’s why tech blogs often savage easy-to-use products that become huge hits (the Flip camera), but adore more technical products that would overwhelm normal people (Linux).
All of this brings us to Buzz, the new would-be Twitter from Google .
At its heart, Twitter is dead simple: you type little messages into the box at Twitter.com — news, jokes, observations. Your messages show up on the screens of your followers, whoever’s signed up to receive them.
That simplicity has made Twitter a huge hit. But “simple” usually means “limited,” and Twitter is no exception. Your messages can’t be longer than 140 characters. There’s no text formatting. You can’t paste in photos or videos. There’s no filtering of messages. No way to rank or rate people or their utterances. No way to send messages out to canned groups of people, like Family or Co-workers.
Google Buzz overcomes all of that. It’s a lot like Twitter (with huge helpings of FriendFeed.com thrown in), but there’s no length limit on your messages. You can search for messages, give certain ones a “thumbs up” (you click a button labeled Like as you do in Facebook). You can forward messages by e-mail. Comments and replies to a certain post remain attached to it, clumped together as a conversation. You can link to your Flickr, Picasa or YouTube accounts, making it easy to drop a photo or a video link into a Buzz posting.
You can also post messages to your Buzz account by e-mail, which is great when you’re on the move.