Google Buzz Goes After Facebook, Twitter


(CNN) -- Google plunged into the world of social networking on Tueday, taking pieces of both the Facebook and Twitter blueprints with Google Buzz.

Buzz, which will work through the popular Gmail service, will allow users to post status updates, photos and links to members of their network -- as well as pull in their activity on other sites like Twitter, Flickr and Picasa.

Google spokesman Bradley Horowitz said the service, which was rolling out to some Gmail users Tuesday afternoon and should be available to all in the next couple of days, aims to weed out what he called the clutter of other networking sites.

With networking sites, "there's obviously value there," he said. "It's a phenomenon that's real, but it's increasingly becoming harder and harder to make sense and find the signal in the noise."

He said Google Buzz will automatically make "friends" out of the people a user e-mails or chats with the most on Gmail. Different settings will allow the user to make their posts public, like on Twitter, or private, as is usually the case on Facebook.

Comments on posts will appear in real time. And comments by other users will be weighted, similar to how Google's search engine weighs results, to "collapse bad buzz and recommend the good buzz," said Gmail product manager Todd Jackson.

The hands-down leader in the search engine world, Google has been branching out on projects that include its Nexus One smartphone -- the company's first foray into hardware marketing.

Late last month,Google announced that people could tweak their accounts to make results related to friends, co-workers and other members of their social networks appear above all other results.

The Social Search feature was introduced to a limited number of Google users last year and was made available to everyone in beta status on January 28.

The change came with a hint of more things to come.

"This is just a first step in our ongoing effort to ensure that Google Web search is always as social as the Web itself," the company said in an instructional video posted to its official blog.

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