Buzz About Google Getting Social

New service unveiled to compete with Facebook, Twitter

Between wild stripper parties, Google engineers actually get some work done, if the launch of the new Google Buzz is any indication. Google introduced Buzz, a product that takes aim and social networking services like Facebook and Twitter.

Expanding upon the company's Gmail project, Buzz promises to let users keep their friends or the public informed of updates to their Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube and, naturally, text updates.

Because we apparently don't have enough ways to do this already -- even Yahoo offers similar services to its massive pool of Yahoo Mail users.

Of course, the real motivation for Google, which says that it simply wants to make information about your friend's breakfast habits more useful and accessible, is that Facebook has been quietly amassing massive amounts of information about individual consumers -- information that Google can't access.

And that personal information is gold to advertisers and marketers looking to sell you crap.

Google is also taking on startups that allow users to track where they are and what they enjoy, such as Foursquare and Gowalla, with mobile access to Buzz that will include the ability to include GPS location data with your updates.

The real question is whether anyone will end up using it. Google's other social services haven't proven popular, at least in the United States, where all the richest, dumbest consumers are.

And while the company says that it will have strict privacy controls, it seems to be taking a page from Facebook in that it will be rolling out the service to Gmail users by default -- many users of the company's Reader product complained when that site went through users Gmail contacts and automatically compiled a list of "Friends."

When Google says they want to organize all the world's information, they might want to add, "whether you like it or not."

Jackson West likes to spread his personal information around so that no one company has all of it.

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