Yesterday the Google Mobile Team announced on their blog that the Buzz mobile web client is now available on many more devices. The post mentions support for Windows Mobile, Symbian, pre OS 2.0 Android, BlackBerry and Palm WebOS handsets. In addition, Buzz now uses geo-location on BlackBerrys as well as the iPhone and Android.
It looks like Google has done two things to make this possible. First, the rich mobile web client that Buzz uses for the iPhone and Android 2.n (image above, left) is delivered by default to most mobile browsers when they visit buzz.google.com. This appears to be essentially the same Buzz mobile interface that has been been available on any device by using a special URL (m.google.com/app/buzz/?force=1) as reported here in February. As before, it works but has some minor rendering issues in Opera Mini 4.2 and 5.0. With the Nokia N95’s webkit based browser and Opera Mini 3.1 it’s broken, appearing as a mostly blank page with only “Sign out”, “Send Feedback”, “Help links “Basic HTML and “Desktop” links (image below, right).
The “Basic HTML” and “Desktop” links are new and clicking “Basic HTML” loads a simplified version (images above, right and below, left) that works perfectly with the N95 and Opera Mini 3.1. With page sizes under 20 KB, it should be usable with almost any browser. On the N95, its features are limited to viewing your Buzz timeline and posting a new Buzz. The “Nearby” view is not available on phones, like the N95, that don’t support geo-location. Some phones see the basic version by default, I got it in a Motorola i776’s OpenWave browser. The Basic HTML version can be viewed in any browser by using the direct URL, m.google.com/app/buzz/x/?force=1.
I’m sure that Google will tweak the browser detection code to deliver a usable version to the N95, Opera Mini 3.1 and other browsers that can’t use the rich version. I’m pleased that Google has built a Buzz mobile client that works in any mobile browser. This is the sort of inclusive open mobile approach that I advocate. Web apps like Buzz need to be on every phone, everywhere, not only in developed countries where iPhone and Android adoption is high.