The Web’s a Buzz About Google Buzz

The Web's a Buzz About Google Buzz

I’ve only just been playing with Google Buzz for a few hours and I’m only going to make a few early comments and observations on it. I’ll probably be hanging out there *alot* over the next 48 hours or so, so stop by and say hi.

1. The Flickr integration is interesting. I really, really, really, like how they show a great little thumbnail slider thing of your flickrstream on your profile page. The thumbnails are in the correct order as to when you upload them to flickr (unlike Friendfeed which displays them backwards) and the slider is really slick. But I wish that they showed more in your actual buzz stream when you upload photos to flickr.

At present Buzz just shows the *last* photo that you upload to flickr, so people who upload in batches, like me and a lot of my friends, will miss a lot of photos and still have to go to flickr to better follow our contact’s activity there. It would be super slick if, instead of just posting the last photo that you posted to flickr, Google actually posted in that thumbnail slider showing the last *batch* of photos that you uploaded to Flickr in your stream.

2. I wish that there was a way that I could import my flickr contacts into Google Buzz. Is it that Google can’t/won’t do this or is it that Flickr can’t/won’t allow them to do this? I suspect it is the later.

On Flickr in my account settings I can choose to make my email public to my contacts. This is my choice. Why can’t Google use the Flickr API to suck in all of my Flickr contacts who likewise have opted to share their email address with me? Or at least use this data to give me a suggested user list from Flickr?

Flickr has never been a good web citizen about user data portability and I suspect that they won’t allow Google access to email addresses because they want to keep you locked into the silo that is Flickr. I could be wrong on this though and if anyone has any actual information on why this can’t be done today I’d be interested in that.

3. Google Buzz feels alot like FriendFeed. But I like it more because I feel sort of like Friendfeed has become a dead product now that the Founders have moved on to Facebook. Google Buzz feels like it has a lot more potential because it is a new service and likely to get significant resources from Google. I suspect Google Buzz mostly draws attention away from Facebook, Twitter, and FriendFeed. At least when it comes to my own personal use.

4. Hat tip to Kreg Steppe. The biggest Win that Buzz has over Facebook is that Buzz doesn’t have Farmville or Mafia Wars notifications! Indeed. It’s so nice being able to get all that crap out of my social network.

5. The “mute” feature on Buzz is powerful and handy, even if it is a total FriendFeed Rip Off (not a bad thing by the way). They should put the mute button though down by the like button though, rather than have it hidden over on the left under a drop down menu. Like FriendFeed, managing the noise on Buzz will be important. This tool should be front and center.

6. Why will Buzz succeed? One word. GMail. The biggest problem for any social network is getting enough momentum up and running. The snowball never builds up enough critical mass to really get rolling down the hill. By integrating buzz into gmail, it gives Google a *huge* install base to ensure that the momentum gets rolling.

7. I haven’t figured out the “block” feature yet but I hope it works like Friendfeed where if you block someone it filters all of their comments out of your threads. It would be nice to mute out permanently all of the trolls, haters, etc. with a quick block command.

8. The text formatting feels cool. just type *asterisks* around any word and it bolds it. Minuses will strike through, and underscores will italicize. Thanks Adam!

9. It would be nice to see directories of buzz users based on interests as well as geolocational data. Show me a list of all of the photographers in the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, ranked by number of followers. It would be great if Buzz could use the geolocational data to help connect me with new potential contacts based on geography and interest.

That’s all for now. I’ll try and post more on Buzz as it goes on. Overall, I’m VERY optimistic about the service. It’s one of the more exciting things I’ve seen on the web in a while. Feel free to post any of your own comments or observations on the service and if you read this feel free to post your Google Buzz ID in the comments section so that I can follow you.

You can find me on Google Buzz here.

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  1. TranceMist says:

    So now you need Buzz comments integration into WordPress. 😛

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    Ah, good point, indeed you do. 🙂

  3. Tre says:

    I think it works pretty well – pretty similar to FriendFeed. I miss seeing friend’s flickr favorites, and I still think, for a service like this to be really useful, it should work like a twitter/facebook client.

    I did notice you can paste a flickr set’s address into the photos box on your Profile page; mine shows my “Saved” set( instead of my most recent photos.

  4. Nigel Stolting says:

    I was going to say some nice things about Buzz, and then I was met with the following when trying to send a coment…

    Oops, there was an error posting your comment. Please try again in a few seconds

  5. Nigel Stolting says:

    The comment I was trying to post was…

    I’m having problems with connecting to Flickr at the moment, it’s probably a username issue, and I’ll figure it out in due course. However, as a general comment I’ve been missing social Median since it went over to xing, Buzz to me feels a little like Social Median / FF all wrapped in to one. I do like the integration with gmail.

  6. Andy says:

    It looks nice but, we have seen just because google has lots of users does not make it good or mean it will be popular. Facebook will already let you post links and it will bring up icons and infomation, it does have a few neat features but I mean it’s boring, un creative and has no cool features. You can’t edit your profile and its pretty confusing and separated. It uses google profiles and gmail, new users wont understand.

  7. Nathaniel says:

    I would love to use it, but my default email is which is setup through Google Apps, and Google doesn’t seem to want to add that feature for “a few months” which could be up to a year like the Chrome Beta for Mac.

  8. Nick F says:

    Followed. I also would love me some WP integration.

  9. Tonight I confirmed (actually Lyza confirmed while I was talking with her) that the Flickr contact limitation is a limitation of Flickr. There is no way to export a user’s contacts’ email addresses (which could then be used to follow folks on Buzz).

    I’m working up a post on Buzz that I’ll have up on Social Photo Talk tomorrow (Thursday) with a lot more of my thoughts.

  10. Cory O'Brien says:

    Thomas – I’m less optimistic than you about Google Buzz, but it could be because I never really saw the value in FriendFeed either. For me, there was always just too much noise. Sure, a great discussion would break out every once in a while, or you’d catch something that one of your friends posted that was interesting, but to get there, you had to weed through a barrage of tweets that had been reposted, links that you didn’t really care about, and random thoughts/messages that belonged more in a service like Facebook or Twitter.

    That said, I’m going to withhold my reservations for a week or two so that I can give Google Buzz a fair shot. Who knows, maybe I just need to give ‘content aggregators’ like FriendFeed and Google Buzz another chance?

    If you’d like to connect, my profile is: