AT&T Buzz: The Yelp Killer?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on April 21, 2010

AT&T has formally launched, a mix of social networking, directory services and a recommendation website. The project has been in beta since January and opened to public yesterday. Unlike Yelp, Buzz is a recommendation service which helps you get reviews and advice from friends rather than strangers. The service uses Facebook Connect to tap into your social network to launch a forum for discussing local business recommendations. Buzz has gained a lot of media attention over the last few months, thanks to sharing its name with Google Buzz. Will it live up to the media hype and prove to be a Yelp Killer? Let’s find out.

I found the User Interface pretty cool and easy to use. It has a typical Web 2.0/ Rich Internet App look that I liked very much. However, I’m not impressed with the search functionality. The search seems to throw up lots of duplicate results and some irrelevant ones as well. Though it may not be very accurate, search approach is innovative – a user starts a conversation by asking a question and awaits responses from his/her friend network. The service also allows you to build a list of favorite local businesses with 160-character comments that your friends can look over. Further, the ‘Heart’ favorite things feature works just like the Facebook ‘like’ functionality.

In the past, AT&T has rubbished claims that it is re-inventing the wheel to create another social network. To be honest, Buzz is not a social network. Rather, it’s a mix of Yelp + YellowPages + Google Places thrown together. The only difference is that it uses Facebook Connect rather than Google Places. Buzz is a decent attempt at modernizing the aging YellowPages however AT&T has missed a trick by not developing mobile apps to support Buzz on smartphones (particularly for the iPhone).

There’s no doubt that Buzz has some unique offerings and my be able to live as a second fiddle to Yelp. However, will it prove to be a Yelp killer? Will Buzz be a game changer for services that provide local business recommendations? I don’t think so. If you think likewise, I’ll be glad to hear from you. If you think otherwise, I’ll be eager to hear from you 🙂

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow by:RSS,Twitter,, or Friendfeed

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