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Google Buzz opens up the firehose

Real-time access to public Google Buzz content is now available to developers to use in their applications.

Google has opened up a key data stream coming out of Google Buzz that gives developers access to content as it's published.

Access to the so-called "firehose" of Google Buzz data was turned on Monday, Google announced in a blog post. This allows developers to incorporate public Google Buzz content into their applications without having to go and find it: Google Buzz will just zap it directly to their apps through an API.

Google is still trying to build Buzz into a viable social-media competitor to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, the dominant microblogging services on the Internet. The company still hasn't said how many people are actually using the service, but it's not believed to be nearly as many as are on one or both of those services.

In Twitter's case, any developer can access Twitter content through its own API, which has led to a very vibrant market of desktop applications and other services that run atop the Twitter content. But access to the full breadth of Twitter content as it's published--dubbed the firehose--was quite the lucrative catch for Twitter: Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are believed to have struck deals valued in the millions for access to Twitter content as it is published, and other partners have struck smaller deals.

Access to the Buzz firehose appears to be free. Real-time search engines like OneRiot and Collecta are among the first subscribers, and more information about how to implement the firehose can be found here.