The Buzz About Google Buzz

I have been periodically checking live blogs on Google’s big event today just to get a gander at Google’s new toy, rumored to be a Twitter-Facebook-social media killer of epic proportion. The news so far? Enter Google Buzz.

Google Buzz is incorporated right into your Gmail inbox and can be accessed by a tab. As pulled from Techcrunch’s live blog, the five main features of Google Buzz are:

1) Auto-following. We didn’t want users to have to peck out a totally new social graph. There has always been a giant social network under Gmail. You auto-follow the people you email and chat with the most.

2) Rich, fast sharing experience. Same nice Gmail UI and keyboard shortcuts. Special attention to media.

3) Public and private sharing. We want things Google can index, but also private messages.

4) Inbox integration. The inbox is the center for communication.

5) Just the good stuff. Some much social data, we need to filter the noise.

Buzz incorporates a new photo viewer and a pane that looks a whole lot like Friendfeed. You can view your follows (who have been auto-followed in Buzz by virtue of you having previously communicated with them in Gmail). Posts can be made public or private (very interesting).  Conversations in Buzz can be generated from emails and they fit right within the inbox. It also incorporates the “@” convention from Twitter.  Same keyboard shortcuts that work in Gmail work in Buzz. There is also a recommended “friend of a friend” feature – gee, that sounds an awful lot like Friendfeed too.

Buzz has mobile counterparts too, for Android and iPhone. It’s all about location. When viewing on your mobile browser, clicking on Buzz will feed you back location data. You can use your voice to input via this mobile format. There is a streaming view of Buzz information and a Buzz-related updates layer for Google Maps with geotagging.

Buzz looks to be another approach to communication and conversation from Google. I will check back in and update when I find out more. In the meantime, check out Techcrunch’s live blog (link here) and watch the next big tech tool roll out of the starting gate.


Research Tips From A Canadian Lawyer

Nada Khirdaji, a partner in the Research Department of Osler’s Toronto office, focuses her practice on legal research.  Sounds familiar to me. Ms. Khirdaji shares some of her suggestions for effective legal research in this article (link here) included in CCH’s January, 2010 Law Student Monthly column. She covers many excellent points – all focused on providing the researcher plumbing a new area of law with the world-view first and the finer points second. Her suggestions include: avoiding the case law databases as a first step and turning instead to general resources and texts; reading all cases cited in the notes; assuming application of a statute until proven otherwise, and performing a thorough review of the statute’s structure, location, table of contents and index; reviewing predecessor sections of statutes, related statutes from other jurisdictions and similar provisions in other statutes; avoiding journal articles for practical legal research; and, using firm-specific resources and consult ing colleagues.

Really, all very good advice. However, the suggestions seemed penned by an attorney from the 20th Century. Here in the 21st Century, there is another, important means for achieving a broad, world-view that Ms. Khirdaji omits. Consider looking at all available on-line resources as well, including the newly-fortified Google search, book searches, semantic search engines, and other curated legal databases and resources. Consider crafting your own custom search engines of pertinent governmental agency websites using Google Custom Search. Use the deep web search engines to find unconventional web documents. You never know what you may find.