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Evaluating New Social Networking Services: Google Buzz and Foursquare

Two new online services have made the news lately:  Google Buzz and Foursquare.

Google Buzz is a good example of why it’s not always a good idea to immediately go out and try a new service.  Give it a week and let the “dust settle.”

At first, Google Buzz seemed like a great idea:  Facebook-like interaction with your contacts integrated directly into Gmail.  Unfortunately, reports of privacy issues and too many “automatic” features began almost immediately.  For instance, users reported that all their Gmail contacts were now public for everyone to see.  Google has now been forced to admit it made a mistake and to try to fix the system.  See this blog post entitled, “Google: We Screwed Up with Buzz, Stay Tuned” for a summary.

Meanwhile, a mobile service called “Foursquare” has been getting a lot of attention. Foursquare is a “geo-location” app for mobile phones.  People can share their location with their friends and offer “tips” about particular places in their city.  The Krafty Librarian has an interesting post about the service and whether it has any application to libraries.  For now, it appears to be mostly a “fun” application but it’s worth keeping an eye on for future library applications.

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