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My Initial Thoughts on Google Buzz

February 11, 2010

Yesterday, as a gmail user, I was treated to google’s new service Buzz when I logged into gmail.

In a nutshell, Buzz is a slimmed down google wave app.  Another way you can look at it is a turbo-charged Facebook status update or a souped-up Twitter feed.

I don’t think it will replace Facebook, but I do think it will do some damage to Twitter.

First as to Facebook, Facebook is way more robust.  Each user essentially has “pages” for his/her stuff – wall posts, pictures, etc.  Buzz is kind of like the Facebook wall but it makes sharing multimedia (photos, videos, links) much more seamless and easy.  You can easily view shared pictures in full size without leaving the page.  No need to click on a url in hopes of not being redirected to a malware infested site.

If Facebook suffers anything at all from Buzz, it will be that people may not update their statuses and wall posts as much.

As for Twitter, in my opinion, it’s going to be negatively affected.  Twitter limits you to 14o characters per post.  This may be good for brevity but leads to the likelihood that you will be tempted to click on that bit.ly or other url to view a picture, video or blog post.  You have no idea where that url will lead you which can be dangerous.  Twitter will still have its place.  For me, I’ll use it to monitor world and tech news and keep up to date with dragon boaters around the world.

A word of caution – Buzz allows you to post publicly or privately.  This can lead to some issues – like when my brother blasted out a buzz about not being able to go to the bathroom before class.  A buzz that I would guess he only wanted his friends to see.

That being said, you just have to do a bit of house cleaning before you start to utilize Buzz.

First, view your google public profile.  After logging into your google account, go to http://www.google.com/profiles/me.  Make sure that the settings are to your liking.  For me, you shouldn’t be able to find most of my google account info (including my last name and email address) with a google search.  That’s the way I like it as I don’t want some of the attorneys (and defendants) I deal with to be able to easily find my google info and buzzes.  Note – it appears you have to have a public profile to use buzz, but I just limited my public info to my first name and last name initial.

Second, go through your google contacts and delete those contacts you no longer use.  I had over 500 and it took me about 10 minutes to go through all of them.  This will prevent you from accidentally posting a buzz to someone in your contact list that you may not care about any more.

When you send a buzz, before you click “post” make sure that you have designated if the buzz will be “public” or “private” (there’s a button right next to the “post” button).  If you elect public, it will go out to the entire internet.  If you choose private, you have additional options.  You can send the buzz to everyone on your contact list or a group within your contacts.

That’s it for now.  Of course, I’m not a Buzz expert as it just came out yesterday.  Your thoughts and comments are appreciated!

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