Color me confused, but it looks like Google is attempting on making Google News more social by showing your tweet friends what stories they share from the service.
While Twitter’s addition is not surprising, Google Buzz’s absence is.
Friends is an experimental section in the side column that helps you find news articles that your friends are sharing on Twitter.
In the open text box, enter your Twitter username and click “Save.” Google News will refresh, and you will see a list of updates containing news articles shared by the people you follow. Please note that Friends only shows you articles that can be found in Google News. If someone you follow has shared an article or a link that cannot be found in Google News, then you will not see that update in the Friends section. (Google News Help)
Note: Emphasis Google’s.
According to TechCrunch this appears to be Google’s answer to Facebook as the search engine giant seems more content creating “social layers” rather than a social network (like the oft rumored Google Me).
While utilizing Twitter is probably wise (considering how fast the site is growing), it’s puzzling that Google didn’t also include Google Buzz along with the experiment.
Perhaps this might be a sign of Google Buzz’s failure, as the site has thus far only attracted an elite audience of geeks and artists (which might explain why it has been heavily embraced by Blogger and Picasa Web Albums, respectively).
Although Google New’s tweet integration has yet to exit beta mode (or would one consider this Alpha?), Google’s cold shoulder to Buzz may indicate that the company has given up on the social wars, ceding control to ex-Googlers like Evan Williams as well as to Zuckerberg.