Google Buzz Mobile Hands On: Location Is the Killer App

Google Buzz Mobile Hands On: Location Is the Killer App

Google Buzz is actually slightly more insane on Android phones and iPhone than the desktop: There’s a revamped, Buzzier Google homepage and you can post entirely using your voice. Update: Hands on!

How Do I Get This Party Started?

First, a disclaimer: Right now, Buzz on the mobiles is working intermittently at best, and may very well be broke as shit. But it’s better than it was right after launch. (Digression: If Google can’t launch an internet service correctly, can anyone?) Also, iPhones and Android phones only. You might probably just wanna stick with Wi-Fi for now, too.

1. Sign into your Google account on yer phone, then go to

2. Your homescreen should look something like this. Let’s follow some people! Click “following zero people”, where you’ll be prompted to stalk some of your friends.

3. Type someone’s name to start searching: It’ll give highest priority to your existing contacts. I just followed Herrman here.

Overall, it’s not very useful right now since not many people are using it, or at least saying anything worthwhile, but that’ll change. Ease-of-use and the interface, especially in maps, when there’s a million bubbles, needs to be massively improved, and at least on the iPhone it screams for a real app, not a web app – there’s a few times it’s made me wanna kill myself it was being so goddamn slow. One thing it could definitely use is a way to easily post photos from your phone. Also, could be annoying to get an email every time somebody comments on one of your buzzes.

Right now, mobile Buzz isn’t an essential service. It’s noise. That could change, just give it some time.

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In fact, location is the true killer feature here. While it lacks the gaming component of Foursquare, it’s central to the mobile version of Buzz. Whenever you post buzz from your phone, it’s (optionally) geo-tagged, and Buzz tries to figure out where you’re at, offering a list of nearby locations it thinks you’re at, and then embeds a map in your buzz showing your location. With nearby view, you can see what people are talking about around you, even people you’re not following. From there, you can jump directly into a Google Places listing with reviews and comments. It’s also another data layer in the new version of Maps, for you to see what’s up nearby.

If there’s anything it has as a one-up on Twitter, it’s location. Because it’s deep, and contextual, thanks to all of the services Google has, like Maps and Places.