24, نوفمبر 2010

Google Buzz is one of Google’s attempts to provide people with social tools to better connect with their friends.  It is, however, only one social network on the internet.

Facebook is one of Google’s prime competitors. In many ways, both companies are fighting for web superiority.  Many new developments each have made are attempts at taking over a service or feature the other boasts of having. Buzz is similar to Facebook’s newsfeed. One of the newest Facebook features, Facebook Messages, has been called a Gmail killer by some, and Facebook’s version of Google Wave by others.

In addition to Facebook, there are many other social networks on the internet. One of the newest ones is Path, a social network based entirely around a smartphone app. Path advertises as a more personal network than others that are available.

Google has blogged about their thoughts on social networking. On the blog, Joe Kraus(Director of Project Management) says

When you live apart, things change. Suddenly it takes effort. It used to take a lot more effort when writing a letter was the primary way to communicate over distance as opposed to email or IM or telephone. But, even with our current technology, it still takes work. As a result, we share less with our friends. And when we do share, we tend to share the big stuff (big shifts at work, major family events like birthdays or school milestones) and leave the small stuff behind. We start to feel less connected because we don’t know the details.

The promise of the social web is about making it easy to share the small stuff — to make it effortless and rebuild that feeling of connectedness that comes from knowing the details.


Because of this focus, Google chose to add specific features to Buzz. They put emphasis on easily sharing any images, videos, updates, and more.  Their official video about this feature talks about how one can easily share and see what their friends are doing, and even customize their feed to show what they feel is important.

One thing that Google did not foresee as a large issue that really hurt them later was the issue of privacy.  When Buzz first launched, it automatically set up every user that chose to use the service with followers and people to follow. It also by default set this list of people as public to anyone who looked at your profile. One of the major problems was that this information was public, and even beyond that your ‘followers’ were automatically made up of people you frequently emailed and chatted with. In addition to this, Google automatically registered every user for Buzz. If they chose to opt out and disable Buzz, people were still able to follow them. This lead to some very angry users(such as this one: http://gizmodo.com/5470696/fck-you-google), as well as a class-action lawsuit that Google has since settled. These initial mistakes were quickly remedied by Google, but not before the popularity of Buzz plummeted. While a website such as Facebook, where everything a user posts must be added at or after signup, may be able to get away with privacy concerns, the fact that Buzz was automatically connected with Gmail and other Google services created a different user base than that of Facebook, and the privacy violations went well beyond even legal standards.

Additional Sources:








Online communication versus closeness

In a time where a majority of our social interactions take place online, a key negotiation is whether people become closer or farther apart when they can communicate with one another instantly and whenever they want. Although communication is instant, it is not necessarily convenient to a person, especially in this current age, to share every small thing they do, say,  see, and think. Google asserts that the way to combine online communication and closeness between individuals is by looking to the ‘small things’ that individuals share with one another. Buzz attempts to solve this problem by making it easy to share images, location, thoughts, comments, and more. They even include an interface that allows the users to choose which events posted they want to see, and which they do not.

Public versus privacy and security

Privacy has always been a concern online. With the emergence of the social network and the internet, as well as instant communication, being more prevalent in everyday life than ever before, privacy is even more of an issue.  Google’s first mistakes with Buzz’s release highlight this. Is there truly a safe place for information to be stored online? Users who thought they were able to safely store their frequent contacts, stories, favorite blogs and online websites, and more found their information quite public when Buzz was launched.  Most, if not all, social networking websites, as well as many other websites, have privacy settings each individual user is able to set. When a user signs up for a website and chooses their privacy settings, they are setting an expectation for the company that runs the site to keep their information safe. In the case of Buzz, the trust that users put into Google regarding their personal information became misplaced. Is it the user’s fault if their personal information is made public, or is it the website that betrayed the user’s trust that is to blame?

Taxonometric Categories:

Community-Based Design

Buzz classifies as Community-Based Design because it is Google’s attempt to create a social network for its users. It brings people together as a community and allows them to communicate and share with each other.

Online Design

Because it is a website, Buzz has specific negotiations that would not exist if it were a physical source. Privacy and communication concerns become huge issues.

8bitpeoples and Google Buzz

10, نوفمبر 2010


Nullsleep – Supernova Kiss (http://www.8bitpeoples.com/discography/8BP088)


“The 8bitpeoples first came together in 1999 as a collective of artists sharing a common love for classic videogames and an approach to music which reflected this obsession. Our primary interests were to provide quality music for free and most importantly to have fun. In the years since, we have grown in rank and expanded our goals.”(http://www.8bitpeoples.com/about/our_mission)

The 8bitpeoples is a web-based collaborative effort to produce, release, discuss, and enjoy 8-bit(‘chiptune’) music. It is the home of a number of artists, and also hosts many guest artists’ music. Almost every 8bitpeoples release is available to download for free on the website, though occasionally higher quality releases are available for purchase. It also hosts a listing of upcoming shows that the resident artists, as well as guests, are performing at. All of the music is registered under a CC by-NC-ND license(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

8-bit music(also known by other names such as ‘chiptune’ or ‘bitpop’) is one form of music that has become popular at least in part because of the power of the internet to bring people together to collaborate and support one another. This specific interest group is also made possible by the ease of access to recording equipment. As one article says, “Most artists working in the genre cherish a do-it-yourself aesthetic, have little or no musical training and say the programs they use are easy to learn, albeit hard to master. And the instruments are welcomingly cheap. When Game Boy was new in 1989, it retailed for $89. Today, you can buy one on eBay for $4.75.”(http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/24/arts/music/24wein.html?_r=1) One similar musical movement that has emerged recently is Nerdcore:

Another example of a website or collaborative created on the internet(and in many ways for the internet) is Overclocked Remix( “a not-for-profit site that accepts high-quality submissions of arranged or “ReMixed” video game music from talented ReMixers the world over”). (http://ocremix.org/) Their mission, as stated from their website, is as follows:

  • Appreciate and honor video game composers and their music
  • Encourage artistic expression and development through fan arrangements
  • Preserve and promote video game music of the past and present
  • Provide resources and connections for the game composers of tomorrow
  • Distribute great, free music to the world


The communities behind both of these related websites have the same goals: to promote their own interests and hobbies by showing off the sheer joy of creation for other people with similar interests, as well as the entire world.


  • collaboration versus distance
  • enjoyment and capacity for sharing versus ownership
  • special interest and support within a community
  • the music itself: cheap and accessible versus professional and mainstream

Taxonomic Categories:

Community-Based Design, Design that Encourages Creativity, Collaborative Design

Google Buzz



Google Buzz is one of Google’s newest creations. For those who use Facebook, its basic function is quite familiar. Buzz allows users to share updates, photos, videos, and more. It is built into Google’s Gmail UI, and boasts of many features, including being “photo friendly”; integrated with other websites such as Twitter, Picasa, Flickr, and Google Reader; real time updates; and the ability to recommend interesting posts and weed out others. It is also available on the phone, and allows users to post updates and “ideas”(as Google advertises) from anywhere.

Almost immediately after launch, Google received many complaints regarding the privacy, or supposed lack of, in Buzz. Google “automatically enrolled Gmail users in Buzz, and…publicly exposed data, including users’ most frequent Gmail contacts, without enough user consent.”(http://www.buzzclassaction.com/faq#Q1) Google is currently involved in a class-action lawsuit because of the alleged violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Stored Communications Act, and others. Read more at: http://www.buzzclassaction.com/index


  • privacy versus public information over the internet
  • communication(‘sharing’) in regards to ease of use
  • reach of users(who is this for) – perceived versus actual market

Taxonomic Categories:

Community Based Design, Online Social Framework Design

Valerie Reiss