This week, Google introduced a new service called Google Buzz, a way for users of its Gmail service to share updates, photos and videos. The New York Times reported that Buzz’s functionality will be very similar to Web sites like Facebook and Twitter, making it a direct competitor to the top two social networking sites.

To get a better sense of what Google is offering, I decided to check out the Buzz for myself. It was very easy to get started because the program allowed me to automatically follow the people I email and chat with the most on Gmail. That right there was the high point. However, a Facebook rep recently said, “The people that you email and chat with the most may not be your closest friends or the people that you want to share and connect with." Touché.

The search feature is rather lackluster. Unlike Facebook and Twitter that have advanced search options to easily find new “friends” and “followers,” Buzz only allows you to search for people by name or email address, making it really difficult to make new connections.

The format is also a bit of a downer – the “Buzz” is a series of status messages that followers can “like” and comment on. Remind you of Facebook’s news feed? Users can also alert their friends to conversations by posting a comment with an @reply to their Gmail email address. Remind you of Twitter?

I personally don’t think we need another venue to post pictures and share information, I think Facebook and Twitter do the trick – and do it better. But don’t take my word for it, try it out Buzz for yourself and send along your feedback!

Contributed by Jena Coletti.  Follow her @jmcoletti