As you have probably heard by now, Google’s latest product is an entrant into the social media arena: Buzz.
I have to admit, Buzz came in a little under my radar. Usually, I’m pretty good at these sorts of things, tracking rumors, discussing potential functionality and impacts, and having a pretty good idea of how something might work before it’s released. Buzz came on totally out of nowhere.
One day I heard a rumor about a new entrant into the social networking fray from Google, the next day there’s a Buzz link in my inbox. Where’d that come from? Had Google adopted Apple-like security tactics?
And now – one week later – I’ve removed Buzz from my life and will not go back unless major changes take place. Let me give you a little run-down about why Buzz bugged me out.
- Auto-share. The reason I blog and tweet, as opposed to joining Facebook, is that I prefer to do social media on my own terms. This means sharing only what I write, and sharing it only when I want to share it. With Buzz’s auto-share functionality, I’m already following about 30 people (only 10 of which would I want to), and they’re automatically following me. I’m all for building a reader-base, but not like this. Give me a choice, Google, don’t just throw me into something out of the blue.
- Lack of integration with Twitter. Before you shout me down with the fact that Buzz does, in fact, integrate with Twitter, my problem is that it’s a one-way street. Buzz pulled my own tweets into Buzz, and that was it. That’s not what I want. In fact, that’s about the last thing that I want. I know what I wrote. I wrote it! If Buzz could pull in my entire Twitter timeline, including @ messages, and let me respond from within my GMail inbox, then we’d be talking. Until then, however, no go.
- Inbox confusion. Touted as a “feature” (as so many of these things often are) new Buzzes and comments would appear in my inbox like new emails. I live and die by my inbox, and don’t appreciate things popping in there that are not emails. I know Buzz is there, and will click on it when I feel like it. Don’t trick me into clicking over because it looks like an email. Be patient!
- Google Reader Overlap. Buzz also tried to integrate with Google Reader (another service I use frequently and am quite familiar with – even like!). The problem was that Buzz did a poor job of knowing what was read and what wasn’t, and I would end up seeing articles in my Buzz that I’d already read in Reader, and vice-versa. I don’t have time to read things twice, Google, so get it straight.
Finally, after enough fiddling, I realized that settings could not overcome Buzz’s shortfalls, and decided to remove myself from Buzz’s vice. If you’d like to, you can use the same instructions I did at this link. It seems to have worked well for me, and unless Buzz can live on like some sort of undead social-networking zombie nightmare, I don’t think I’ll be going back.
Better luck next time, Google. But don’t worry, I’ll still stick with Gmail and Reader. Just the Buzz-free versions.