Google Buzz rolls out to GMail Tuesday afternoon, in a move that challenges Facebook and Twitter.
Before the familiar groan – "Not another service to learn and subscribe to," hear this: If you're a GMail user, Google Buzz is baked into your inbox. Beginning this afternoon, GMail users will start to see a new tab pop up under their inbox. And instead of having to request friends or build up followers like we all did with Facebook and then Twitter, Buzz's network draws from user's GMail history to build a community of people he or she already connects with. In short, if you already email and GChat someone, you're automatically linked on Buzz.
How is Google Buzz different from Facebook and Twitter? In many ways it's very similar. Users can post new buzz by sharing links, photos, videos, and status updates. You can comment on and "like" friends' postings just as on Facebook, and send @ messages to get specific users' attention much like on Twitter.
How do you know if you're following the best people on Twitter? Guesswork? Follow everyone and weed out the spammers and oversharers? Google Buzz's algorithms are constantly analyzing users' preferences – what they like and dislike, what their friends are sharing, and who they're interacting with. If a bunch of your friends are passing around a link or talking with a person, Buzz will shoot you a recommendation. (Though this could be not so helpful if your friends are, say, planning a surprise party for you.)