Social Networking

Google Buzz: 24 hours later

The Buzz from Downtown Montreal, just 24 hours after launch.

Google’s new Buzz, its latest foray into the social media sphere has landed on gmail accounts everywhere. Despite launching yesterday at 1pm on a few desktops, Android smartphones (version 2.0 or higher only!) and the iPhone, there seems to be quite a bit of activity by Montreal’s Buzzerati.

My first impressions: Google Buzz, while late to the game, isn’t too late, and I think it will be a hit. While some may feel needing a Gmail account will hamper Buzz, I couldn’t agree more. The fact that so many people already have Gmail means Buzz has an installed user base in the millions. By activating Buzz, Google will automatically suggest Gmail users you know that you can follow. Surprisingly, I found its suggestions to be pertinent and convenient.

The Buzz Web App for iPhone and Android 2.0 phones is impressive, although I have seen some bugginess on Apple’s iconic device when trying to view maps. That aside, being able to localize Buzz is impressive since so many people are using the service already. Doing the same thing with Tweetie on the iPhone can be a big letdown when you see so few people around you tweeting.

I don’t see this as competition for Facebook just yet, but I think the folks at Twitter should be quaking in their Levi’s right about now. Google infrastructure and security is simply too strong to be hampered by the “Fail Whale” and spam that has continued to hurt Twitter.

HD Television

How to watch CBS, NBC, FOX, & PBS in HD for free

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (I'm with Coco) in glorious free over-the-air (OTA) HD.

A while back, I wrote about what a mess it is getting HD programming in Montreal. It’s either very expensive (Bell and Shaw Direct) or almost non-existent (Videotron). The local options are so bad that I came very close to going grey-market by paying for DirecTV with the help of a friend with a US address. While the costs are similar to what you would pay with a Canadian cable or satellite company, the amount of quality HD channels available with DirecTV provides much more value.

At the end of the day I decided that my television viewing habits didn’t warrant the big up-front and long-term costs associated with any satellite option. While I love TV, I just don’t watch enough of it to warrant an $80-a-month subscription. I’d much rather spend a fraction that cash for unlimited internet on a mobile device (iPad, anyone?) and figure out a cheap solution for a little TV watching now and then.