Mike Elgan: How Google Buzz for mobile will change your life

Think Buzz is just a two-bit FriendFeed clone that's wrecking Gmail? Meet the other Buzz

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2. Share your 'business card' at industry events

I believe my fellow tech pundits will truly "get" the power of mobile Buzz at the next major IT industry event. Here's what will happen: The early adopters will start an invisible, back-channel, ad-hoc social network during the show based only on GPS location. In other words, people won't need to know the URL for the official message board or chat room. They'll just use Buzz's "Nearby" mode, and everybody nearby will be a conference attendee.

People will introduce themselves to fellow attendees by broadcasting their Google Profiles page -- a kind of "business card exchange." A few speakers will draw crowds by promoting their presentations on Buzz. Attendees will arrange meet-ups. The people on Buzz will get more out of the conference.

At the IT industry conference after that one, nearly everyone will be using Buzz. From there, it will spread to non-tech conferences. Within a year, I think Buzz will become the de facto source of information and networking at all industry events.

3. Find a lost pet

Seen fluffy? If you staple a photo printout to a telephone pole, hardly anyone's going to see it. But if you post it on buzz with a picture, anyone within 10 miles can see it. Just post the picture online somewhere, e-mail the link to your phone, copy the link from e-mail and paste it into the post window in Google Buzz's "Nearby" mode. It becomes part of the public stream for your neighborhood. Same goes for ads about yard sales, bake sales and other suburban events.

4. Leave a note for future Buzz users in the same location

Let's say you go on a breathtaking hike in the woods, and discover a hidden waterfall. Why not post a message with Buzz that will be forever associated with that location. You can alert future hikers about how to find the waterfall.

5. Talk to your neighbors

Google Buzz by default creates a neighborhood chat room. By selecting the "Nearby" mode in a residential area, all messages will be those posted by neighbors. It's fuzzy, too. If someone on the edge of your neighborhood chimes in, someone else on the edge of her neighborhood might join the chat. Conversations could literally spread like a virus.

6. Read and write restaurant reviews

When you're in "Nearby" mode, you can select a drop-down menu of businesses. If you're standing in front of a restaurant, why just read the menu? Read the reviews. Or, if you've just finished a meal, you can quickly write your own review. In either case, tap the "More info" link next to the name of the establishment, which takes you to Google's info page on the place. The info page includes details about the restaurant, plus a place for customers to write reviews.

7. Talk to other people at a concert or other public event

If you're at a concert, in line for an Apple launch, attending a family reunion or at a Space Shuttle launch, you can take part in the Buzz conversation that will be going on. You might gain valuable intelligence (the location of a bathroom without a long line) or just have fun discussing the event with others.

8. Get help

Let's say you're visiting New York City, and find yourself with urgent logistical questions. "Which one is the real Original Ray's Pizza?" "How do I get from where I am to Brooklyn on the subway?" "Does anybody want to sell me an umbrella? I'll give you 20 bucks!" In a crowded place like New York, I expect you'd get instant answers from people physically located within 100 yards from where you are.

Those are just eight things I can imagine with Google Buzz on iPhone, Android and, later, no doubt, other phone platforms. What can you imagine? What will emerge that nobody can yet imagine? It's a new mobile world out there.

Got Buzz? Follow me here.

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at mike.elgan@elgan.com, follow him on Twitter or his blog, The Raw Feed.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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