Officially announced today, Google Buzz is an integrated Gmail feature that brings Twitter-like functionality to one of the more popular Webmail services. At the Google Event this morning, the announcement team showed how Buzz is for conversation and updates as well as sharing images and videos. The Gmail Blog explains that the service is all about real-time, social sharing. As the service rolls-out to more Gmail members, users will find that they are automatically following the people that they email and chat with the most. Conveniently, Buzz also connects with Picasa, Flickr, Google Reader and Twitter. For anyone who has been using the real-time features of Twitter or Facebook status updates, Buzz is the same suit in a different color. The service even uses Twitter's signature @replies to send updates directly to a contact's inbox. A few more subtle options set it slightly apart.
For example, shared images and inline video appear full-size in the update stream. Not having to exit the interface brings more spontaneity and sleekness to Buzz.
Google Buzz also judges whether certain conversations are interesting or not: If an indirect connection is having a lively conversation involving your friends, Buzz may recommend it to you. Likewise, short status updates or inactive threads may get minimized in the thread view.
As with other Google services, privacy options were given prevalence in the announcement. An account member can share with everyone or to just some friends. Responses go to the Inbox as live conversations with real-time updating comments.
The mobile form highlights location, and the interface can switch between the people you follow to people that are nearby.
If well-received, this new service will integrate well with others in the Google oeuvre: not just Chat but Wave, Voice, and possibly Dashboard will bring their own features to this social sharing system.