I’ve been using Google Buzz now for four days since it launched and wanted to take a minute to blog a post about 10 ways that I’ve found FriendFeed to be better than Google Buzz.
1. FriendFeed’s ability to selectively hide content. One of the things I hate about Google Buzz is that is an all or none proposition when you decide to follow someone. I may *love* someone’s Flickrstream, but hate the fact that they send a new tweet every 3 minutes describing a blow by blow version of their day. I might find that I *love* someone’s funny witty tweets, but hate the fact that they put 300 new items into Google Reader everyday about eco-friendly politics. On Friendfeed I can easily subscribe to someone and then choose to hide certain parts of what they have linked up if I want. This is very helpful in managing noise. Google Buzz does not give me this option.
2. On FriendFeed when I block someone, they’re really blocked. When you block someone on FriendFeed you are prompted with the following message: “After blocking this user, you won’t see any of their posts or comments on FriendFeed, and they won’t see any of your posts. If they’re subscribed to you, that subscription will be removed.” When you block someone they become invisible to you. Poof. They’re gone. It’s a truly beautiful thing.
Nothing ruins a good social network like crappy trolls. Being able to blot them out on FriendFeed if I want is nice. Unfortunately, on Google Buzz they take a different approach. They’ll block the troll from my own posts, but they still make me look at everything they post on posts that are not my own. I don’t want to see this. I want to truly be able to block them. Please Google. Let us make the bad people go away.
3. Best of Day. FriendFeed has a great page where each day the most popular entries (based on likes and comments) for the people in my social network are shown. Not just best of day, but week, month, 2 days, 3 days, etc. This helps me catch up if I’ve taken a break from FriendFeed for a day and want to see what the main entries that my friends are talking about are. Buzz doesn’t have anything like this.
4. I can better track my discussions on FriendFeed. One of the nice things about FriendFeed is that they give me a link of all of the threads that I’m currently having a conversation in. While Buzz lets me filter out only my own threads that I’ve started, they don’t give me an easy way to see all of the threads that I’m currently participating in.
5. FriendFeed’s Share This Bookmarklet. On FriendFeed if I find an interesting article somewhere I can use the FriendFeed “Share This” bookmarket to easily post it to my stream, complete with photos from the article. I’m not aware of any such tool for Buzz yet. Someone made one that I tried that was somehow hacked into Google Reader, but I found it very unsatisfying. I tried to share a page from Boston.com’s Big Picture on Buzz and it didn’t inlcude the most important part, the picture.
6. Lists. Lists on FriendFeed are HUGE. Being able to slice and dice my contacts and create different buckets to look at at different times is very cool. On FriendFeed, for example, I can create a list of only my immediate family members. These people may be much less active than my social butterfly social networking friends and so their stuff my get buried if I don’t watch carefully. By going to my family list I can more easily make sure I’m not missing any of there updates in the sea of noise. FriendFeed lets you set up unlimited lists for any reason you want. You can have a list of coworkers. Of people who live in San Francisco. Of photography buddies. You get the idea. At present there is no way to do this on Buzz.
7. FriendFeed lets me pause live updating. Sometimes when you follow a lot of people, real time updates become just too much. On FriendFeed if I want I can pause the live updating. This calms things down a bit and allows me to catch up on what I’m reading without having the screen go all jumpy on me. Google has no way to pause their live updating.
8. FriendFeed is much less buggy. Right now there are still a lot of bugs in Buzz. I’ve seen comments on some of my posts that just mysteriously disappear. Sometimes I’ll scroll down my page and see the same stuff that I just scrolled past but without some of the comments. Sometimes when I mute stuff I find it still comes back. There are still lots of little gremlins running around in buzz. The other day the “Load More” entries link temporarily disappeared. Buzz is still a work in progress it seems. FriendFeed doesn’t have near as many of these little annoyances.
9. Search seems easier and more intuitive on FriendFeed. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time trying to figure out Buzz’s search yet, but I’ve find that initially search feels much easier for me on FriendFeed. For instance. On FriendFeed I can easily search for all entries containing Banksy and filter them by my contacts. FriendFeed has a great advanced search box. Best I can tell Buzz has no advanced search box. I may be able to do some of these things if I can somehow figure out advanced text search strings and operators, but I don’t get a nice advanced search box to make this easy for me.
10. FriendFeed shows my Flickr photos *and* my Flickr Faves. One of the brilliant things that FriendFeed did, was to pipe in not only your flickr photos, but your flickr faves. Because people generally fave really interesting photos, this means that on FriendFeed I constantly get to see really amazing photography. It makes the place much more visually appealing than Buzz, which in some ways feels still a bit clinical, despite the fact that they have a better interface for your own Flickr photos. Getting to see what other people have favorited and getting to play virtual curator and share my faves with other people is nice on FriendFeed.