The Way We Work
March 23, 2010 by Alex Hornbake

I should disclose my own personal bias regarding Google’s Buzz. I’ve already disabled Buzz. However, to be fair I adopted early and rejected early due to the initial privacy oversights that Google made. cNet provides good instructions for disappearing yourself from Buzz, they can be found here.

That isn’t to say Buzz is a total disaster, it does have some interesting and thoughtful features. I imagine that in 6 months or so I’ll turn it back on, and see how many of the kinks Google has ironed out. Below are some pros/cons of using Buzz based upon my own personal observations.

Pros

No 140 Char limit. It all depends on your perspective–some may consider this a “con”–but lets say its a “pro”, and assume that this will foster more in-depth, meaningful discussions and interactions.

Auto-Formatting Goodness. Buzz will parse linked content to provide summaries and thumbnails. Videos are integrated seamlessly, and it all looks pretty sharp.

Integration. If you use Google docs, Picasa, Reader, or other Google products, then all of your docs, photos, etc. can be shared and linked to easily or automatically. Twitter and Flickr integration are also available, although some users are reporting these features are slow–see more in the cons.

Groups Collaboration. A great tool for remote workers is Buzz’s potential for threaded conversations amongst user-defined groups inside Buzz. Share documents with your group, and the ensuing conversation is threaded in one place, neat and tidy.

Well Supported API. Currently the Buzz API is limited to RSS style streaming of activity, however on the horizon is read/write support of Buzz activity. This translates to the potential for well-executed integration with other services, websites, and mobile apps.

Cons

privacyAuto-Privacy Eliminator. That’s not the technical name for the set of features that had many Gmail/Buzz users infuriated upon it’s launch, but it’s apt considering the alarming privacy issues that accompanied the launch of Buzz (that have since been fixed). With polarizing blog posts like Has Google Gone Evil, Google responded quickly with their privacy updates seen here on the Official Gmail Blog. Despite the revision of these errors, this remains on the con list until Google regains users trust.

Inbox Clogger. Many users have complained about the onslaught of emails they received via Buzz. Despite Google’s claim that inside each of these emails there is a neat auto-updated threading, the “notifications” have been a bit overwhelming for many users.

Social-Networking in Your Email? Although social networking has blurred the lines between business and pleasure, my email is still used primarily for business. Sites like Facebook are such an easy conduit for sharing with friends/family and the overlap of the two does not appeal to me.

Speed. A slow and inefficient user interface have left many users–like Web Worker Daily contributor Charles Hamilton–complaining that Google Buzz is not efficient. In addition, if you’ve linked your Buzz and Twitter accounts, you may have noticed the time for tweets to be re-published within Buzz is rather slow.

More Good Reads

6 Ways Businesses Can Leverage Google Buzz from BulletProofBlog.com

The Buzz on Google Buzz from Technologizer.com

I’m Loving the Buzz from BigBaldGuy.com

Have you tried Google Buzz, has it helped or hurt your remote work?


Alex Hornbake

Freelance Tech Writer

Alex Hornbake is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. He joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, and brings more than a decade of technical expertise to his clients. Alex shares his point of view to help you make informed decisions for your personal and business technology choices.

  • Tamara

    This is good stuff. I’ve been confused about Buzz and whether or not it’s worth it. I agree it’s nice to keep your worlds from colliding. This helps get it into perspective. Also nice to know you can link Twitter and Buzz, even if the system isn’t perfected yet.