Social Networking Giants At Fisticuffs This Week: Google Buzz

It’s only Wednesday and it has already been one of those weeks where internet giants pull out all the stops to one-up one another. This time the fight is over who can have the most comprehensive social network, and as time goes on, more companies are stepping up into the ring.

In one corner we have Facebook.

Now don’t think that Facebook is standing there alone, because this week they also seem to have AOL and Microsoft crowding into onto their side, allied against one monster opponent: Google.

As you might have heard by now, Google launched Buzz yesterday, a new social service connected directly to your Gmail account with the capability to join up Flickr, Twitter, and any Google account you might already have. While the hype over Buzz might at this point be a little much (like say, for example, Google Wave’s hype), there are a few interesting points to notice concerning what this move from Google will provoke from its opponents.

googlebuzz

You see, Google wasn’t the only one with a social networking announcement yesterday. Facebook and AOL also recently announced a partnership that will pull Facebook contacts into AOL Instant Messenger – feeding on Facebook’s popularity while helping keep AIM alive and well. Plus, let’s be real, Facebook chat can more often than not be a headache while popping up on your browser window and AIM’s 17 million users seem to be pretty pleased with its interface.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is backing Facebook, which makes sense considering their confirmation that Bing will soon be integrated into Facebook search.

And of course we can’t forget (or have we already?) Yahoo! in another corner, probably pissed that Google had the audacity to also name their social network “Buzz”, just like the easily neglected Yahoo! Buzz. There are actually more similarities than just the name considering the email exclusivity, ability to integrate other sites, and the public/private comment streams to contacts.

Maybe one reason Yahoo! Buzz never picked up was simply the fact that our email contacts aren’t necessarily the people we want to share everything with. We pick our Facebook friends and we block AIM users we don’t want to talk to, but the people we email most often unfortunately might not be people we actually WANT to talk to. You might not add your boss on Facebook (even though I did), but you’re definitely not going to delete them from your list of email contacts. Sure, any social network has some privacy issues, but from what we’ve heard of the way Buzz will prioritize your streams, it could get a little awkward.

What do you think? As we sit back and watch these internet heavy-weights battle it out, will Google Buzz really hold its own?