Buzz Buzz Buzz

Yes, like all forward-thinking folk I have switched on Google Buzz, because what I need more than anything else in the world is to have yet one more social network to be on. That said, my reaction to it so far seems to be similar to the reaction of most of the people I’ve seen on it, which is “okay, now what?” Because to be blunt about it, if GBuzz is just replicating what I already have going on Facebook/Twitter, I’m not going to end up using it much, because I already have Facebook and Twitter accounts, and GBuzz porting itself into my GMail isn’t enough to make it special or convenient. So we’ll see how to shakes out.

I will say that I think Google may eventually have to accept that short of actually buying either Twitter or Facebook, they’re not going to make a huge amount of headway into the social media sphere. Their other attempts in this direction don’t seem to have amounted to anything, unless you’re Brazilian, in which case Orkut rocks your socks. Good for you, Brazil; I celebrate your social media lifestyle choice. But otherwise, meh. Again, we’ll have to see.

Anyway, if you want to follow me on GBuzz, after you sign in to the service, click the “find people” link and then type in my name, and it should be pretty easy from there.

45 thoughts on “Buzz Buzz Buzz

  1. I’d have to agree with you on this one. I’ve already got Twitter and Facebook (the former of which I’m trying to spend less time on and the latter I spend little time on at all), so why do I need yet another micro-blogging service? I have a Gmail account, too, but never use it, so, again, Buzz does nothing for me.

  2. I’m still wondering what happened to Google Wave…

    I’m not exactly sure why Google wants in on social media anyway. It’s not as if Twitter of Facebook are actually making any money. Sure, there’s lots of eyeballs there but if no one clicks on a Google ad, Google makes no money.

  3. I am reserving judgment, as I am liking Buzz so far. As long as I don’t follow someone who posts a lot (like mashable), it’s mostly friends and it gives me a chance to have a conversation about something, like on Facebook, but I can reply directly in my email. I hear that the mobile version is really cool.

  4. I think you’re both underestimating google a little bit on this one. I don’t use twitter or facebook myself. The first because I think its stupid and the second because I think its a waste of time.

    I do spend a lot of time with gmail open each day though and I also use google reader which is where I think Buzz is pretty useful and nicely integrated.

    I think my point is just “don’t underestimate google”. :)

  5. Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn:

    Also reserving judgment and will give it a decent run. I’m just not especially impressed with Google attempts in the arena to date. Maybe this will be different.

    Jamie Grove:

    Google Wave is still out there; I just think most people realized it wasn’t what they wanted for day-to-day use.

  6. At the very least, it lets me route around the blockade our IT department has slapped on anything resembling social networking sites. As it’s a first iteration, I expect it will evolve over time. Meanwhile I’m going to push it as hard as possible to see what it can do for me.

  7. I like the integration with Google Reader a lot. I have also found Google Buzz is a quick way to have conversations with people when we would normally email back and forth, which I find annoying. So like a really nice chat.

    So far, I think it kicks Facebook’s butt. I would get off Facebook altogether if it weren’t the only place to connect with certain people who aren’t anywhere else online. Buzz is quicker, easier to use, the privacy settings are easier to grok, and so far, there is a lot less annoying SPAM.

    I wouldn’t give up Twitter though. It’s an entirely different audience for me, and Twitter is still the best way to find news, trending topics and links for me.

  8. It’s interesting the way that Google is trying to jumpstart Buzz — it automatically imports some people from your contact list into the “you’re following these people in Buzz” group.
    I don’t know yet if this is evil or not…

  9. I’m getting a lot of flak for it, but my original take was similar to yours. Had Google done this when Twitter was fail-whaling constantly, perhaps I’d see the need. As it is now it seems like they reinvented a wheel. And not when the wheel needed to be reinvented, they waited until the competition had already figured out “round” worked best.

    Like Wave, I just don’t get it.

  10. I certainly think it’s evil. They did something vaguely similar when they started Google Groups, and I didn’t like it then either. Unless they change it I won’t be creating a Buzz account.

  11. It’s interesting the way that Google is trying to jumpstart Buzz — it automatically imports some people from your contact list into the “you’re following these people in Buzz” group.
    I don’t know yet if this is evil or not…

    It does? The only thing it imported for me were the 3 people I was following google reader.

  12. A post on Lifehacker expressed privacy concerns over Google Buzz because its default settings tend to make you and all your contacts visible to the world.

    Read here for the details.

    They don’t say much about the service itself, but if you’re going to try it be aware that you may want to change some settings first.

  13. I’ve started using it, but I haven’t yet quite figured out what it’s for, either. My biggest issue is that one of my contacts (actually, the tipline for a website I like) is not really “buzzing,” just importing their Twitter feed, so my Buzz page has three or four buzzes from my friends, and 15 buzzes from this website. I might have to stop following them.

    Also, I haven’t found an easy way to search through your own past buzzes yet. And, unlike Shannon (#7), I haven’t yet figured out how to integrate it with my Google Reader.

    K

  14. My biggest issue is that one of my contacts (actually, the tipline for a website I like) is not really “buzzing,” just importing their Twitter feed, so my Buzz page has three or four buzzes from my friends, and 15 buzzes from this website. I might have to stop following them.

    I had an acquaintance that directed their twitter stream to their facebook account, so I would see 10-20 out of context messages from him everyday. I quickly unfriended him.

  15. Here is my first and only Buzz verbatim:

    “Um, OK “Buzz.” Show me why I should use you instead of Facebook or Twitter. And no – having “everything in one place” is not an answer. Show me features. Show me “better.””

    A friend of mine brought up a good point last night – that Google providing things like Wave and Buzz and Gmail and the original search engine and Maps and Earth isn’t about giving awesome stuff away for free – it’s about monitoring every form of communication we’ve got so they can target advertising more effectively. I thought that was an interesting point. GMail was actually a helpful innovation. So is Maps. But for everything after that, the biggest selling point seems to be: “You can have everything in one place!” Why is that so important to Google? Because it makes it that much easier for them to consistently monitor what we’re talking about, and what we like and don’t like so they can send advertisers our way effectively.

    I don’t know if this is evil, or genius. Or evil genius.

  16. hey I use ping.fm — it lets me update my twitter, facebook, plurk, linkedin, etc.. all my social services at once. they haven’t added buzz yet, but I’m sure they will.

  17. I’ve been convinced for a long time that Google wants to take over the world by taking over everyone’s computer. But rather than forcing their way in (i.e. the Microsoft method) they’re trying to make everyone want to be taken over. They’re having mixed success lately, but their early success with search and the targeted advertising it made possible have given them the resources to keep trying.

  18. I’m sorry. I’m just not impressed with Facebook/Twitter, and now GBuzz. Has anything really changed that much since the chat rooms of fifteen years ago, other than bandwidth? They’re all just email meets chat room with a gimmicky little name. I passed on the GBuzz when I opened my GMail.

  19. Not finding it useful in my world. And through a tweet by Cherie Priest, learned you can turn Buzz off with a small link at the very bottom-center of the Gmail screen.

  20. Google Wave does have its uses. But it is only the optimum choice when you want a discussion on a specific topic between multiple people to persist over a long time. These situations do exist. Here is where I use it:

    As I understand it, Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi’s readship has a lot of overlap, so I am going to go under the assumption that we have some quality geeks here. And I dont mean tech geeks – I mean real geeks. Bags of funny shaped dice. Pencils and graph paper. Arcane textbooks that rival graduate applied math in complexity, but have pictures of busty warrior princesses on the cover. You know what I’m talking about.

    Google Wave is great for a role playing group. You have the DM and all the players in an adventure on one wave, and private conversations between the DM and specific players on other waves, and you can pass back and forth campaign info between sessions. It is a great way to keep a campaign lively when you only get to play once or twice a month, and the information persists and stays organized. You can paste in maps and pictures, or whatever. You can go back and reference what some NPC told you guys 2 months ago. Works great.

    So Wave isn’t all the revolutionary, but it does fill a gap that previously wasn’t filled, and I see it slowly growing with popularity over time.

  21. I’m gonna try out buzz. Facebook offends me professionally (I do computer services for a living), and so many times they’re the textbook case for how to do it wrong. A lot of my friends are out there, but when the communications interface is a pain (or just plain broken) the communication is no fun. At least Google has some competent folks out there.

  22. @25 Matthew in Austin
    Actually, that’s the only use I’ve found for Wave so far, but it is pretty useful for that. I’ve been leading an RPG in Wave for the last few months, and it’s been pretty successful.

    K

  23. Buzz is more like Friendfeed that Twitter or Facebook – it mostly seems useful to have conversations around something which Twitter is useless for and Facebook isn’t really good at. The question is, will people want to have conversations in that manner? Friendfeed had perhaps a million users in the year it was independent (it was bought by facebook but still exists) – the people who loved it LOVED it, but it seemed niche and it was more feature rich that Buzz.

    Personally, I turned Buzz off – I don’t need another place to have conversations. If it evolves, I can turn it back on.

  24. As is my usual response when an online company offers me something that I haven’t requested, I said “No, thanks,” and turned off Google buzz without even looking at it. I usually use facebook for posting pics of the kids for grandparents and aunties to look at. By default, I keep the chat function turned off.

    So, someone who has looked at Google Buzz please tell me. Is this somthing that I’m likely to find useful. Too lazy to figure it out myself.

  25. I’m in the “meh” camp. First, having it insert itself into my Google Reader and Gmail just irritated me like sand in my swimsuit. I have neither hatred nor great love for Facebook — I use it as I want to use it and ignore everything else. Twitter is fun, but gets turned off and becomes invisible when I don’t want it. Buzz seems kind of sneaky and evil.

    Then again, my Gmail is for business/serious stuff, while I use another email for personal/fun stuff. I don’t think my Gmail contacts really WANT to be Buzzing to me. I’ve turned it off/filtered it out/muted it whenever I had a choice.

  26. I’m willing to give it a try, mostly becauseof my wife. She logs me out of Gmail if I forget, but she does horrible things to my Facebook status if I don’t log out of that site.

    Its strictly self defence on my part.

  27. I turned it off. I really don’t like the fact that it signed everyone on Gmail up automatically and you have to opt out rather than opt in. There’s an interesting article about the privacy issues at Silicon Valley Insider here: http://www.businessinsider.com

    In the comments one woman was not happy to find that her ex could follow her through Buzz, even though she had blocked him through Gmail and other applications. And there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut way to block people if you want to use Buzz. (Or I’m missing how to do it.)

  28. I like it, but I’d like it better if I could figure out how to tell it to stop sending Buzz chatter to my inbox. I see thing about muting specific Buzz threads using keyboard shortcuts, but a) I don’t use keyboard shortcuts, and b) I want to mute all Buzz at once, rather than each thread individually. Anyone have a solution?

  29. To keep buzz feeds from showing up in your inbox, create a filter. In the “Has the words” field, type: “label:Buzz”. It’ll give you a warning message, but it works. Just tell it to automatically move ‘em out of your inbox.

  30. @dave, Thanks! I had actually never set up a filter in GMail before (preferring to label, then sort post facto), but now I have both learned something new and solved my Buzz issue. :)

  31. Typical Google. “It can’t be evil or stupid because we’re doing it, and we’re Google! Why are you looking at us like that?”

    Matthew in Austin @25, that’s pretty much what I’ve heard from folks who have gotten around to testing GoogleWave (I still haven’t worked up the energy): it’s awesome for RPGs with no other discernable use.

  32. @Jamie Grove: I just wanted to point out that indeed, Facebook and Twitter are making a LOT of money. Just cause they aren’t selling as many ads (Twitter sells none) doesn’t mean they don’t have money.

    Twitter currently has $55 Million in the bank, and Facebook at $550 Million+. Zuckerberg is listed as Forbes youngest self-made Billionaire. Not a small feat.

    Just making it known that these things aren’t built for nothing.

  33. @bionichands: Regarding “don’t underestimate google”… Google has a long and noble track record of not being afraid to try new things, many of which flop. (Google Lively, anyone?) This is actually one of their better traits; the occasional wild successes make the failures worth it. But it also means that the Google name is not a good predictor of whether a given project is (a) worth using or (b) long for this world.

    As for Buzz, I have it turned off with extreme prejudice. I may reconsider that when and if they fix the privacy issues, but it seems more likely that I’ll never feel the need to.

  34. I like it. Because I completely forget to switch over and check on facebook. And this way, I can just do a quick glance and see if I am interested or care what someone is tweeting. Also like the integration with email and reader. I think it is way better than facebook so far.

  35. Really I just hope somebody makes a really simple firefox plug-in the banish the buzz link from from my gmail sidebar forever.

    Dear Google,
    “I would prefer not to…”

    -Bartleby.

  36. While this is yet “another” site to keep up with; if you link your Facebook and Buzz to Twitter (and possibly everything else to Buzz) then if you just update your Buzz, it will then update the rest.

    I do not however use the built in Twitter update, I utilize a third party site called twitterfeed.com to push my Buzz to Twitter. The one Google provides is just annoying.

    If technology doesn’t make your life more simple then get rid of it. Which Facebook as of late, is getting to be a cluster.

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