What if Google Buzz wasn’t about owning the drinks, but the bar itself? In other words, what if it’s purpose wasn’t as a place for users to converse, but as THE place where all user conversations happen?
In other other words, what if Buzz wasn’t really trying to be like Facebook or Twitter, but more like Friendfeed or other third-party content aggregator? That’s the thinking of Forrester analyst Augie Ray.
In his post, Google, Gmail, Relevance Filtering & the Future of Social Media, Ray asks, ”[W]hat if Google isn’t aiming to compete with Twitter and Facebook but instead with Seesmic and Hootsuite?”
Ray follows that question with another: “What if Google doesn’t care about owning the stream so much as accessing the content and owning the place where consumers look?”
Serving as a content aggregation tool might be where Buzz’s usefulness really lies, but only if it can solve one pressing problem, that of relevance. “[W]hat is the one thing at which Google excels, more than anything else,” asks Ray. He shouts the battle cry in no uncertain terms, “Relevance!”
I’m sure you heart that notion as much as I. Michael Arrington certainly does. He says we’re no better off now than we were a decade ago. “It’s a mess, but we don’t complain much about it because we don’t know there’s a better way,” he says. I’m sure you would agree, the Web is currently a pretty splintered place.
The main thrust of analyst Ray’s post is not to tout the virtues or advantages to using Buzz but, rather, to discuss what he refers to as “Relevance Filtering.”
He suggests that the main problem with today’s social media tools is that they are people-centric. We friend or follow a certain user and fall prey to the entire volley of their posts, tweets and status updates. Continue adding friends and, eventually, the noise becomes thunderous and unbearable.
Instead, what if we could filter that noise so that we are only made aware of topics that have relevance? “The company that not only aggregates our friends’ lifestreams but turns them from data into interesting and useful information would own the world,” states Ray.
Whether Google is the entity destined to wear that mantle, or it’s left to Facebook or some as yet unknown social network or app, I know not. The one thing I do know is that the watchwords of the new Web are: Aggregate, curate and filter. The better we’re able to achieve that, the more useful the Web will become.
What do you think? In what ways would relevance filtering be beneficial?