Google Buzz – A Hit or Miss?

You seem to either love Google Buzz or hate it.

By now, nearly everyone has gotten the Buzz when they checked their Gmail. Some people love it. Others, hate it.

Will Buzz be around next year? Or, will it be about as popular as Orcut or whatever Google’s other social network is? Will it be another one of the failed attempts to dethrone Twitter and Facebook from their kingdoms?

Google Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Where does Buzz hit it right?

Convienience

It’s right there with your Gmail, and you have the ability to open a chat right there for a more privacy or serious chatting. I know I am not the only one that has the Gmail page open most of the time. It has a real advantage here.

Buzz is great for photos.

Adding your Picasa or Flickr streams to Buzz is easy. Images are previews a bit larger than the postage stamp size I see in Twitter. Clicking the image enlarges the photo and darkens the rest of the screen. It is easy to comment on the image right there. This is something I see done a lot on Facebook. It seems a bit easier to me here.

There is no album feature like Facebook, but it is easy to link to an original album on Picasa or Flicker. It sure beats seeing a photo on Twitter and going to Twitpic to comment on it.

I’ve heard good things about the phone apps.

They seem to be well done for the iPhone and I’ve heard some say they really like it on the iPhone. A few were able to use it on their phone a while before it was available to them on Gmail. I have to wait till the Blackberry app comes out.

Easy integration of other social services.

You can add a feed from nearly any blog. You can add your Twitter stream. I already mentioned Picasa and Flickr. Your Google Talk status is also Buzzed. I was surprised at the list of feeds Google already had ready for me to add. It’s also easy to add or remove a feed you don’t want on. It could be a lot like Friendfeed, a social network that would be interesting, but I don’t have time to visit another site.

Privacy settings that are easy to understand and use.

Unlike Facebook, the privacy setting is easy to understand. Just choose public or private when you post. With the private setting, you can choose a group in your contacts that are allowed to see it. Great if you want to share baby’s bath photo with the family and not worry it will end up somewhere you don’t want it.

I really like the way this is done. I am pretty smart but Facebook’s privacy setting page is totally nuts. I still have no idea what is private on my Facebook page and what is not. Again, there are things that I might not mind sharing with close friends that I would not want to share with a casual online acquaintance. You could also almost use this as a group chat system.

There are some problems with privacy on Buzz as I’ll get to in a moment.

You can edit your comments.

The only thing worse than my spelling is my typing. Most of my blog posts get edited 3-4 times in first few minutes after posting. It’s nice to be able to correct that quick thought that didn’t come out right the first time.

What’s not so hot about Google Buzz?

For many, your email is now where anyone can figure it out and spam you. This could be the biggest concern. It does not take too much to match someones Buzz profile to their email address. This is something that Google needs to figure out soon.

Email notifications and notifications and…

Ok, you can turn it off, but then you don’t get any email notifications for Buzz. A bit more control over when or for whom Buzz sends an email notification would be nice. I don’t need to be notified about everything.

Buzz needs lists like Twitter lists.

This was the real savior to me for Twitter a few months ago. When it got to the point I could keep track of the people on Twitter I really wanted to follow I started to unfollow many of the accounts I had been following. It was too much noise. With lists, I can now follow everyone I want and still keep a close eye on the Tweets I don’t want to miss.

On the whole, I like Buzz.

It has gotten a real strong start. I guess we will see if Google Buzz will become a real player in social media.

What do you thing of Buzz?

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