Google is getting on to the social networking bandwagon with today's announcement of Google Buzz, a new feature that will be made available to all Gmail users over the next few days.
Tod Jackson, product manager for Gmail and Google Buzz, says the company has done a lot of work in the past to add social features to its products.
"With more and more communication happening online, the social web has exploded as the primary way to share interesting stuff, tell the world what you're up to in real-time and stay more connected to more people," he blogs.
"In today's world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it's increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations."
He believes that organising social information on the web has become a large-scale challenge – and one that Google hopes to sole with featuers like realtime search and Social Search.
"And today we're taking another big step with the introduction of a new product, Google Buzz."
Jackson explains that Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things users find interesting and, because It's built into Gmail, users don't have to create new friends from scratch.
"If you think about it, there's always been a big social network underlying Gmail," he says. "Buzz brings this network to the surface by automatically setting you up to follow the people you e-mail and chat with the most."
Buzz boasts an easy-to-use sharing experience that integrates photos, videos and links, and makes it easy to share publicly or privately.
"Plus, Buzz integrates tightly with your existing Gmail inbox, so you're sure to see the stuff that matters most as it happens in real time," says Jackson.
He adds that, on the user's phone, Google Buzz is more than just a small screen version of the desktop experience.