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TheStreet Open House

Google Buzz Falls Flat for Small Business

Google doesn't seem to be targeting small businesses with Buzz. There's already no support for Google's business process software, Google Apps. And with Buzz limited to Gmail, you would have to toggle between Google's tools and your other small business software. That would be standard Web 2.0 pain, if not for the critical way Buzz handles information.

Google Buzz does not have defined public Web spaces such as Facebook's "walls." Rather, the user defines which posts are public or private. There's a pull-down menu that labels whether a post is open to a group or to everyone on the Internet. And that creates dangerous risks in the flow of information.

My employee, for example, posted what I thought was a company chat about his father's book. He had mislabeled the post as public. It's not his fault. It's really easy to do. But imagine the damage if we were chatting about a client and he accidentally saw the post.

To channel 30 Rock's, Liz Lemon: "That ladies, is a deal breaker"

Bottom line: There is no getting over the fact that Google Buzz is right there under your Gmail inbox. And Google will almost certainly be upgrading and addressing issues with Buzz for some time.

But for now, don't let the buzz suck you in. Buzz is a small-business work in progress.

-- Reported by Jonathan Blum in New York.

Jonathan Blum is an independent technology writer and analyst living in Westchester, N.Y. He has written for The Associated Press and Popular Science and appeared on FoxNews and The WB.
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