Nothing New In Google Buzz.

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The service, which allows Gmail users to update their status and easily share content from YouTube and Picasa, is seen as Google's attempt to compete more closely with Facebook and Twitter.

But it has attracted stinging criticism from rivals, including Microsoft and Yahoo!, which say Google Buzz is nothing new.

"Busy people don't want another social network," said Microsoft, which owns a stake in Facebook, in a statement. "What they want is the convenience of aggregation. We've done that. Hotmail customers have benefitted from Microsoft working with Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and 75 other partners since 2008."

Yahoo! also said it had a similar service already in place, Yahoo! Buzz. "Two years after #Yahoo launched #Buzz, Google follows suit. Check out the original:," wrote Yahoo! on its official Twitter account.

It also highlighted the features available in Yahoo! Updates, which enables people to share their status, content and online activities with friends and family across Yahoo! and the web.

"There are now more than 200 Yahoo! and third-party sites that feed in to Yahoo! Updates, like Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Yelp," said Yahoo! in a statement. "It allows people to see and share updates such as when they've uploaded photos, changed their status, buzzed up a news story or posted a new restaurant review.

"Expanded integration with Facebook means that people can connect with Facebook friends on Yahoo!, and share Yahoo! content with Facebook friends as well. Ultimately, Yahoo! sees social as an enabler and as a dimension that is part of everything we do, and everything people do online."

Even Paul Buchheit, the former Google engineer who created Gmail and founded social network FriendFeed, weighed in on the debate. "This seems vaguely familiar," he said. "There's a FriendFeed in my Gmail!"

Google said the launch of Buzz would enable Gmail user to better understand the real-time nature of the web. "The stream of messages has become a torrent," said Bradley Horowitz, Google's vice-president of product development. "There is no way to parse that amount of information that ranges from the ridiculous to the sublime. We think this has become a Google-scale problem.