Much of the talk surrounding Google Buzz, the search giant’s new social sharing tool, has focused on new capabilities it will bring to the web through its integration with Gmail. But the new mobile features are also an important part of the announcement, because they add a compelling location-based component to the service.
Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra said Google Buzz is being integrated into three of Google’s mobile websites and applications — Google.com, a new Buzz.google.com website, and the Google maps mobile application. If a user visits the main Google site from their smartphone, there will be a Buzz button, which allows you to make post updates to Buzz remotely. Using your phone’s GPS capabilities, Buzz guesses where you’re located and lets you post a status update that’s geotagged with your location information. Basically, it sounds like a “check in” on a location-based social service like Foursquare but without the gaming component, or like a geo-tagged tweet on Twitter.
You’ll find more location features when you go to the Buzz mobile website. In addition to posting an update, you can see a Google place profile of where you are, and you can click on a “nearby” button to see all the public updates from users near your location. This might be particularly useful if you’re at a big event like a conference, so you see all the conversation around that conference.
Lastly, location data from Google Buzz will show up in Google Maps for Mobile, so you can see all geotagged public updates and updates from friends when you look at part of a map.
None of these individual features are all that unique or innovative, but by tying them into a comprehensive product, which is itself integrated with a number of popular Google services like Gmail, Google might find location-based success in a way that it doesn’t seem to have done with its earlier location service, Latitude.