Can Google Buzz Get All the Buzz at SXSW?

March 12, 2010

9:30 am

As we sit here on the precipice of the opening of SXSW, it seems the companies that are really out there pushing to grab the attention of attendees are the location-based  services, like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Plancast, which just dropped a new iPhone app in the iTunes App Store. I have only been here a few hours, and I’ve already been using Gowalla and Foursquare to check in at spots around town.

However, another application I find myself more interested in and passionate about is Google Buzz. Ever since it came out a few weeks ago, I have had in the back of my mind that Buzz literally had the chance to take over the location-based market right out from under the more established players.  Like Foursquare, Buzz provides the ability to update from a location/venue and post a review.  You are able to leave reviews  if it detects that you are updating from an establishment. However, what I like most about Buzz, that I do not get with the other apps, is an incredible map layer on my Google Maps app for the Android platform.

I can look at it a map and see Buzz bubbles all around my current location and click on a bubble to see what is going on there.  So whereas Twitter is very linear and it is hard to follow where everyone might be, and Foursquare only shows you where your “friends” are checking in from, Buzz allows you to see hot spots.  For an event like SXSW, were a flash mob might pop up in a new place at any time, as long as anyone posts a “buzz,” I can see the activity pop up on the map and I’ll be able to see what’s going on.

Besides the obvious pluses, like the map layer, you can also send your Google Buzz updates to Twitter using this tool.  The one drawback is any replies to your Twitter do not get funneled back into Buzz, so you will still need to see them in  Twitter; but you will be checking Twitter all the time anyway, right ?

So for the most part I am really going to try to use Buzz as much as I can – not only to see what others are doing, but also to send pictures and updates of panels and other activities at SXSW.  Of course we also use Buzz to distribute content, so make sure to follow our TECH cocktail buzz feed as well.

What do you think ?  Does Buzz have what it takes?

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Jimmy Gardner is a Senior Unix/Windows Engineer, a lover of technology and photography. Follow him online at @jjgardner3 and enjoy his portfolio at jjg3photo.com/.

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