Tipping Pitches: Technology: Google Buzz an Invitation to Switch to GMail


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Technology: Google Buzz an Invitation to Switch to GMail

email to friend edit
I have used two web-based e-mail providers since they invented web-based e-mail providers. The first was Hotmail. The second was Yahoo!. I have used the same Yahoo! e-mail address for the past 10 years or so.

I don't want to switch. I really don't.

It's not that I love Yahoo!. It's fine. It does the job. But switching is such a pain. You have to e-mail everyone in your contacts and let them know your e-mail address changed. But you know that not everyone will make the change, so you have to continue to check your old account.

So, if you continue to check your old account, why make the change at all? And Yahoo! doesn't provide a free forwarding service (it's part of their Mail Plus package), so I would need to pay to forward my e-mail for a year. Smart of Yahoo! to do this, by the way.


Google Buzz logo
And then Google Buzz came out. I have to try it. I'm partially intrigued, but I also need to understand it to see if there is any way I can leverage it personally or professionally.

Of course, to use Buzz, you need a GMail account. And to really appreciate it, you need contacts (browsing publicly seems to be a bit cumbersome, at least for new users like me).

So, I imported all of my Yahoo! contacts to GMail. Problem is that Buzz only automatically connects you to the contacts you e-mail or chat with most. Well, I don't use GMail. So that's no one. So unless I actually start using GMail, I need to go through and type everyone's e-mail address in manually. All the while, I have no idea if they're even using the service.

So I want to use Buzz, but I don't want to change my e-mail address. And I don't want to start using a third e-mail address (in addition to my Yahoo! and professional addresses).

I can't decide whether this is a limitation of Buzz or all part of their master plan. What is the comparison? You don't need to change your e-mail address to use Twitter or Facebook (at least yet).

Facebook may be heading in this direction, however. I'm also holding back because of the rumored Titan, an e-mail service built into Facebook. Why switch now until the Facebook option comes out to compare?

Oh, and Yahoo! is also looking to revamp their e-mail offerings. Of course, that rumor first started in December of 2008. Regardless, this is a big decision, and there may be new options soon.

There are many reasons GMail built Buzz into GMail. They have 36 Million users who could become immediate Buzz users. Seamless integration. But it also forces people like me to strongly consider moving from their long-held e-mail addresses.

So do I switch to GMail to get the full sense of the value of Buzz? Do I hold out in anticipation of Titan or a revamped Yahoo! service? These are tough decisions.

But the fact that I'm even considering leaving Yahoo! for GMail makes the launch of Buzz a success. The question is whether they can convince me that Buzz will have enough relevance months down the line to make the leap.

What do you think? Are you confronted with a similar decision? If so, how are you handling it?


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