google_buzz_logoI logged into my Gmail account and instead of landing in my Gmail Inbox page I landed in a some other page talking about something called Google Buzz. . A quick glance told that it is a new service of Google which integrates itself in Gmail and has social networking features. Google has started rolling this service gradually to the Gmail users. On the left hand side column the new Google Buzz link with a typical Google type logo indicates that it is integrated in my Gmail account. So what’s buzzing in the Buzz?

Google Buzz is all about posting status updates containing text, links, photos, videos , to a certain group or to public. At first it seemed like it was some thing like Facebook, or Twitter, but it actually is different from these in some ways.
There is a text edit box at the top where you can write status updates, called a Buzz. You can follow people, and people could follow you, just like in Twitter. You can see the status updates of those people whom you are following, and the people who are following you can also see your status updates. This is like Twitter, and unlike Facebook where you need to approve some one as friend before they can read your status updates. You can write arbitrarily long status updates, add links, photos, and videos. You can simply link a picture or upload a picture from your local disk. Google Buzz is capable to play the videos you post embedded in the status update. You need to link the videos but cannot upload them. The status updates are almost like Facebook.

When you write a status update you have option to make the Buzz Private or Public. Here Public means that it will be visible to any one who follows you. Private buzzes are like group emails. When making a Buzz private you need to select a group and define the domain of privacy. You can select the groups from the Gmail contact list. So if your Gmail contact book is not so well organized its time to organize now. I have several groups like “Friends”, “School”, “College”, “Other”, “Family” etc. If you want to Buzz something to only your old school friends, like the news of a reunion, select “School” from the group list, and your Buzz will only be seen to your school friends.

New Buzzes appear in your Buzz tab with a yellow highlight line on the left side of it. It is easy to detect new Buzzes like this, but there is no way to filter new Buzzes and only see them. You can reply to a Buzz, and Like the Buzz as in Facebook. A Buzz can also be emailed. Just click the Email link below each Buzz and type in or select the receiver’s address and send it. Thus you can share a Buzz with some one who is not using Gmail. Each buzz has a small drop down list on its top right corner. You can select to chat to the person right from there. Because all the Buzzes from the people you are following are dumped in the Buzz page, it gets difficult if you wanted to see Buzzes only from a certain person. The drop down list has an option View all Buzzes from PersonName, selecting this option shows you Buzzes only from that person. There is a Mute option for each Buzz. Selecting this will mute the Buzz, that means, if there is any update or some new comments, activities in that Buzz it will not bring itself on the top of your Buzz list, and will be simply ignore. A Buzz could be muted if you are not interested. If you Mute a Buzz accidentally then it is gone from the list, and restoring it might be some pain. Actually the muted Buzzes are labeled with muted, and you could find your buzzes under All Mails in your Inbox. To Unmute a Buzz read this post from my blog: https://phoxis.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/unmute-muted-google-buzz/

The Search Buzz feature is interesting. You can search for some string and click “Search Buzz” and the search results will contain all the Buzzes from all people on Gmail, not only whom you are following. So you can search for some keyword and check out what other people has written and grow your network by finding people with similar interests.

It could be integrated with sites and catch the updates in those sites and post updates in your Buzz. You can add Twitter, Flicker, Picasa. If you are using a Blogger then you can also add it to fetch updates from the blog. There is one more feature here. If you are using Google Webmaster Tools with some other website, then you can add that site to your Buzz too, so whenever you update that site, the update will be posted in your Buzz. Like I use this blog with Google Webmaster Tools, and Google has picked up this blog and I can use this with Buzz.

Google mention that the fetched updates from the connected sites are realtime. But it does not seem to. My Twitter updates were showing in Buzz after really long time, also my last post took very long to get updated in the Buzz. I think we need to give some time to Google to make things go right.

Also all the connected site status updates appear in your buzz list with all the other normal Buzzes, which make a clutter and information redundancy. For example, some one tweeted something on tweeter, you read it from twitter, it also appears in your Buzz, and it is annoying. There is no simple settings to block synchronized sites of other people whom a person is following.

Whenever there is a new comment in a Buzz, you will get the notification in the Inbox which is not so good, and makes a clutter in the Inbox, and there is not simple way to stop them appear in the inbox. One way is to remove the Inbox label from any mail which is a Buzz, by using filters.

Buzz will tell you to make a Google profile . It consists of some brief details and bio about you, your links, your contact info, a Google map of your location, a profile pic, and your Picasa album. After Buzz, there is a new tab, where all of your Publc Buzzes are listed. So you profile page also becomes a status update blog. You can share this link to any one, and let them see what you have Buzzed.

The Google Buzz is a bit Twitterish and a bit Facebookish. Google has selected to add Twitter as connected site, but not Facebook, i can listen that it seems google is trying to get into Facebook, but i don’t think so. There is Orkut for that. At Least for me I would like to Buzz in Gmail than posing status updates in Facebook. The Facebook interface is cluttered and full of crap stuff. With Buzz there won’t be those crappy Mafia Wars and that foolish farm game. In Twitter you have limitation of 140 characters, which is not here.
What i can hear in the Buzz is the organized group mailing feature. Group discussions and group emails would be far more easier with Buzz, also they would be apart from the Inbox, although the Buzzes stays inside you Gmail account. With the features Buzz presents it becomes easy to organize group mails.
The status updates form the connected site is still to work as Google says, realtime. The Buzzes are not sorted with respect to time.
Because it integrates inside Gmail you do not need to create yet another account and waste time managing it. And if you don’t link Buzz at all you can simply remove just by disabling it from the link at the bottom of the page “turn off buzz”.

This is what it is right now, but from Google you can expect anything in near future.

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