What is Google Buzz?
Google Buzz is a social media sharing experience inside of Gmail, which includes public or private sharing, inbox integration, photo-friendly sharing, connectivity to Twitter, Picasa, Flickr and Reader, real-time updates, and delivery of content based on Google's recommendations.
What is Microsoft Outlook Social Connector?
On the flip side, Microsoft Outlook plans to roll out a bevy of social media integration options with its 2010 Outlook Social Connector (OSC) release. As reported by Mashable, the OSC will include integration with Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace with, I'm sure, more options on the horizon to be announced.
Buzz vs. OSC
Google Buzz isn't worth the time and it will add the most value for those heavy Gmail users (that use Gmail as a primary email client and/or are working in the client for multiple hours a day). For those high-level users of Gmail, Buzz can offer the advantage of a single-stop, integrated experience.
In order for this integrated experience to be truly representative of the current social media landscape, it would require the inclusion of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, and all of the other major players. What this creates is a feed system (much like Google Reader) that aggregates ALL, not some, of the social media content being made available by those you want to follow.
Microsoft Outlook Social Connector wins (despite the poor branding). That is, they win if Buzz is unable to secure the same big names (and I mean all the big names) to integrate with what should be the ultimate aggregated social experience.
Microsoft Outlook owns market share at 39% as the primary email client of choice. Gmail trails in with a much lower 5.5%. In a business environment, Outlooks is critical to almost all work-related tasks. It is the core communication point for internal and external communications. Employees are immersed in it for at least 8 hours a day. An integrated social media experience within the primary email client of choice is a marriage for success.
The disadvantage for both OSC and Buzz in a work setting is productivity. If OSC secures Twitter alongside the others, then it poses a significant threat to worker productivity what with the number of distractions suddenly multiplying exponentially. Gmail, also used within work settings, poses the same problem with Buzz.
Employers could, of course, prohibit usage of these services but we all know the social clients mentioned above are just a click away in any web browser.
Are either of these social media integrators worth your time? Do you immediately have preference for one over the other simply based on brand and experience?
What I think the most pertinent question to be asking is: Will this equation of Email+Social be the next phase with social media or will an unknown third-party, comprehensive social media aggregator eclipse Google and Microsoft?