Go Beyond Status Messages
February 9, 2010 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Google has had mixed successes with social networks before. Orkut never caught on in the United States; a much-hyped demo of something called SocialStream was never realized. Today, Google begins rolling out Buzz, a social network that lives entirely inside Gmail.
posted by Rory Marinich (190 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
But wasn't Wave supposed to be the Facebook/AIM/Internet killer?
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:16 PM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Google likes rolling out lots of things and seeing what sticks. Few things do.

I enjoy Wave myself. It's a fun way to talk with people. This doesn't seem to add as much, but it's got an enormous userbase that's apathetic and doesn't need another social network. Maybe they're feeling lucky?
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:17 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


How do I get it to work? I hit the "Try Buzz in Gmail" button, but it just takes me to my regular gmail inbox. I see no way to hook in Facebook and Twitter, which I actually really would like to do, as I have been wanting to set up some sort of meta-social networking tool.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:20 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks like I bailed on gmail just in time.
posted by DU at 12:20 PM on February 9, 2010


Oh yeah, Wave. I forgot about Wave.
posted by bondcliff at 12:21 PM on February 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


.
posted by reenum at 12:21 PM on February 9, 2010


I don't get it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:21 PM on February 9, 2010


The Google is sounding more and more like a Dr. Who villain every day.
posted by The Whelk at 12:22 PM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


I've got no idea. I deleted my Google account a few months ago, and I'm pretty happy with not having one.

Besides, I'm too busy admiring the Facebook redesign, which I just got a few hours ago. I am a big fan. We can talk about that here too.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:22 PM on February 9, 2010


How do I get it to work? I hit the "Try Buzz in Gmail" button, but it just takes me to my regular gmail inbox. I see no way to hook in Facebook and Twitter, which I actually really would like to do, as I have been wanting to set up some sort of meta-social networking tool.

As with most major updates to GMail, it is rolled out incrementally. Some people will see it automatically in their GMail screen (on the left, by inbox and labels) immediately and some will not see it for a few hours or days.
posted by jckll at 12:22 PM on February 9, 2010


From the top of the page:

"We're still rolling out Buzz to everyone, so if you don't see it in your Gmail account yet, check back soon."

Lame. Roll out, then announce.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:23 PM on February 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Is this another way to keep in touch with people whose Twitter and Facebook accounts do not interest me, and to whom I am too lazy to send an email? Because that would be awesome.

GOOGLEBURGER
posted by elizardbits at 12:27 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah. It makes sense, but when a button says, "Click here to get this!" and I don't get the thing, I feel a bit ripped off. Even though it's free (in exchange for personal information I wasn't using anyway).
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:27 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Google likes rolling out lots of things and seeing what sticks. Few things do.

That's how the startup sector as a whole works, and the difference between success and failure is often blind chance. So making a large number of small bets, only a few of which will pay off big, seems to me like a reasonable approach for a company sitting on a big pile of cash to take.
posted by Leon at 12:28 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I justa ctivated mine and I'm the only person in the network.

I'm so lonely.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:28 PM on February 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


Pepsi Bloogle?
posted by Joe Beese at 12:30 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lame. Roll out, then announce.

Presumably they don't want to roll out to everyone at once, in case something goes wrong.
Besides, I'm too busy admiring the Facebook redesign, which I just got a few hours ago. I am a big fan. We can talk about that here too.
The problem with lowest common denominator design is that it it's lowest common denominator. I wish people would design web pages for people who aren't brain dead every once in a while.

For me, I can hardly even tell the difference between facebook's redesign and it's old design. But, I never spend much time there anyway.
posted by delmoi at 12:31 PM on February 9, 2010


Lame. Roll out, then announce.

Totally agree. I think this method is partially to blame for Wave's difficulties to get adopted. It's seriously getting in the way of uptake and adoption.
posted by like_neon at 12:32 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think having this in GMail is a big deal. If Google Talk wasn't built in to GMail, I would still be using MSN Messenger.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:32 PM on February 9, 2010


Buzz?

Buzz?

Buzz?

Seriously, they're calling it 'Buzz'? Are they hoping we start saying things like "I really have to 'buzz' about that" or "I'm going to 'buzz' him right now" or "'Buzz' me if you're free"?

I mean, "Wave" was silly but there seemed to be a vague purpose to its silliness, in that no one knows quite how to describe what it is so let's give it an almost semantically empty signifier. --But Buzz?
posted by kipmanley at 12:33 PM on February 9, 2010


What is the feature that is supposed to make this Facebook clone a Facebook killer?
posted by smackfu at 12:34 PM on February 9, 2010


Buzz? It's full of bees? Awful name. It reminds me of golly-gosh junior marketing execs and middle management with okay but not stellar MBA gpas. From the launch page, I have no idea what it does, or why I should care. Hrrmph.
posted by carter at 12:36 PM on February 9, 2010


Facebook, for me, has turned into this site where distant relatives have found me (I friended them on the face of them having my name and them claiming to be so-and-so's cousin) and their posts are for the most part in admiration of the tea-bagger point of view and they incessantly send me invites to Farmville and Mafia Wars.

So maybe I'll walk away and make a fresh start in this realm.

Or maybe social media are lost on me.
posted by Danf at 12:36 PM on February 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


Seriously, they're calling it 'Buzz'?

Focus groups preferred it to "Edwin Eugene."
posted by bondcliff at 12:37 PM on February 9, 2010 [16 favorites]


On preview etc. etc.
posted by carter at 12:37 PM on February 9, 2010


Is Buzz really that bad a name? I mean, people use Facebook as a verb, for crying out loud.
posted by echo target at 12:38 PM on February 9, 2010


a social network that lives entirely inside Gmail.
It's actually much more interesting than that: All the data is open, so you can build on it in ways that are impossible with Facebook or Twitter.

I really like the interface, too.

My only problem with this is that it's tied to my Google Account, and that's not something I really want to be shared in public. That email address is the one I hide behind layer upon layer of redirects and sneakemail and so on -- to have people using it as an @symbol in their public "buzzes" is going to suck. As is that it's all enforced real-name, even in public situations.

I have the same problem with Google Groups as well: I'd often like to just join a group to make one or two posts, but I'm not doing it since it forces me to expose the only email address I care about.

It's bad but tolerable that Google keeps all this information on me in its datacentres. When it forces me to share that with the outside world as well, I lose my gruntle.
posted by bonaldi at 12:39 PM on February 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


Google?

Google?

Google?

Seriously, they're calling it 'Google'? Are they hoping we start saying things like "I really have to 'Google' that" or "I'm going to 'Google' him right now" or "'Google' me if you're interested"?

I mean, "Wave" was silly but there seemed to be a vague purpose to its silliness, in that no one knows quite how to describe what it is so let's give it an almost semantically empty signifier. --But Google?
posted by ericost at 12:39 PM on February 9, 2010 [27 favorites]


So is there a description with screen shots of this that's not in video form? I don't want to have to watch a video just to see how this works. Google did the same thing when Wave came out. What do they have against text documentation?
posted by octothorpe at 12:39 PM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


The problem with lowest common denominator design is that it it's lowest common denominator. I wish people would design web pages for people who aren't brain dead every once in a while.

Facebook is actually cutting-edge in its social network design. I've written a lot about this in the past (in high school I was actually a guest writer for AllFacebook). They made the idea of private networking mainstream, which was for a time blatantly unexpected — lots of people thought that it would be the thing keeping them subservient to MySpace, which now seems silly. Then they created the newsfeed, which was very controversial for a long time, and which sparked the idea for sites like Twitter.

They're also very willing to redesign things their current users are happy with, in an effort to keep themselves relevant. Every redesign is followed by a long period of user complaints — this one is no exception. But frequently they show themselves to know what people want more than people do.

This one is a somewhat bizarre update. I'm still trying to figure it out. I like the separation they made between applications and games, and I LOVE that they put notifications and private messages on a level with one another. Also the unified Account dropdown (interesting that credit balance is so prominent now). I'm confused about why they'd make friend requests a top priority, though (do people really add that many friends?), and the chat sidebar looks odd to my eyes, though it reduces the clutter down at the bottom and lets me chat with a lesser screen width. But they didn't roll out a new profile redesign, which strikes me as odd; I wonder if there's something even newer on the way.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:39 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


What is the feature that is supposed to make this Facebook clone a Facebook killer?

Presumably integration with gmail. But I actually think that's kind of a downside, I mean, there are a lot more people on my 'friends' list in facebook then I message on Gmail. But on the other hand, there are a lot of people who I have sent email to and from who are not friends of mine, just people who I ended up emailing for whatever reason.

And I think that's pat of the problem with the way Google tries to "socialize" it's services. It actually does have a lot of data about who we are "connected" too but that doesn't necessarily mean we want our data going out in a promiscuous manner to anyone we've ever gotten an email from.

And ultimately, what's the utility here. Myspace and then facebook were a useful way to keep track of your acquaintances. But since facebook exists and isn't obviously defective the way Myspace was, what's the point of moving to a new network?

I'd like to move my data off of a network owned by one entity, but "Google Buzz" just makes the problem worse, since I already use so many Google services as it is.
posted by delmoi at 12:41 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


So Wave isn't going to replace email after all?
posted by 3.2.3 at 12:41 PM on February 9, 2010


I'll be all over this.

Just as soon as I figure out what Wave does.
posted by tommasz at 12:41 PM on February 9, 2010


Now that we're making fun of Google's name and general design, my Achewood fetishism compels me to offer this up.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:42 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, the tech headline pretty much writes itself on this one, since the Buzz rollout happened to coincide with Facebook just *not working.* I can't get recent updates. It wont even do a hard-reload. It's pretty much just... fucked.

Who needs hackers when these development teams can just kill their own projects?
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:43 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm tired of the hipster voice-over talent. I know they pick 25 year old nasal latte-sippers because they sound trendy and non-threatening, but they don't enunciate well and they don't take anything seriously, so it seems like they just don't give a shit about the product they are pitching.

The guy who did the Buzz video, I can just hear him saying, "I just got punthed in the fathe. It kind of hurt. I thnapped a photo of my bloody fathe with my mobile, and I'm going to uthe buthz to thare it with my friendth."

At least he's not like, BEEP, BEEP.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:43 PM on February 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


All of these messaging platforms/social networks will resemble one another soon enough. However, as it stands Google embraces open standards and data privacy. Facebook - a walled garden with no data privacy. Hmm, which one do I choose?
posted by johnny novak at 12:46 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ha very ha ha. "Google" as a word had room to manuever; "Buzz," well. Not so much. (The buzz on Buzz is already--)

Also, the early days of the web were very different than today, what with the snow uphill both ways and all.

And maybe some people use the Facebooks as a verb but Christ would you get off my lawn already.
posted by kipmanley at 12:46 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, yay. Yet another social-whatever I can ignore to my heart's content.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:49 PM on February 9, 2010


Seriously, they're calling it 'Buzz'?

If only I could tell you the internal name without getting fired. Many internal people thought the code name was better than "Buzz" although IMO Buzz is fine and less controversial.
posted by GuyZero at 12:49 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


PROJECT DOOM BLOSSOM was too long, eh GuyZero?
posted by The Whelk at 12:50 PM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


They made the idea of private networking mainstream,
I think you mean Friendster.
which was for a time blatantly unexpected — lots of people thought that it would be the thing keeping them subservient to MySpace
The complete misuse of the word "subservient" is funny, but it's the hilarious misuse of "blatantly" that really makes the sentence. Also, since friendster, with it's private networks was around before myspace even I don't see how it could have been unexpected. It seemed an obvious way to go that was just too technically challenging (since friendster was so slow and couldn't handle the loads)
LOVE that they put notifications and private messages on a level with one another. Also the unified Account dropdown (interesting that credit balance is so prominent now). I'm confused about why they'd make friend requests a top priority, though (do people really add that many friends?), and the chat sidebar looks odd to my eyes, though it reduces the clutter down at the bottom and lets me chat with a lesser screen width.
None of that stuff matters. I honestly can't understand why anyone would actually care about that stuff unless they were 1) confused by the old interface or 2) annoyed that they had to relearn the interface they used to know.
posted by delmoi at 12:50 PM on February 9, 2010


That's how the startup sector as a whole works, and the difference between success and failure is often blind chance.

More like timing. Google is coming (again) late to the dance hoping that they will so impress the ladies with their big Google that they will drop their current dance partners.
posted by three blind mice at 12:50 PM on February 9, 2010


I honestly can't understand why anyone would actually care about that stuff unless they were 1) confused by the old interface or 2) annoyed that they had to relearn the interface they used to know.

It was a transitional interface that wasn't very good. This one is better. I honestly can't understand why anyone would actually care that there are people that have thoughts about this.
posted by setanor at 12:52 PM on February 9, 2010


They're also very willing to redesign things their current users are happy with, in an effort to keep themselves relevant. Every redesign is followed by a long period of user complaints — this one is no exception. But frequently they show themselves to know what people want more than people do.

I'm convinced there's one guy at Facebook whose job is to arbitrarily rename the realtime feed link every few months in the hope that people will stop using it.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 12:53 PM on February 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


If only I could tell you the internal name without getting fired.

How about a clue? Just a teeny tiny one?
posted by carter at 12:53 PM on February 9, 2010


Also, since friendster, with it's private networks was around before myspace even I don't see how it could have been unexpected.

Huh? Isn't Friendster all public?
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:55 PM on February 9, 2010


Hm. Having played with it for a little while now, I like it. I've basically stopped using Twitter for having conversations with friends -- I follow, and am followed, by too many people, and the covnersations get lost in the shuffle.

This could fill that gap vey nicely. Like your very own Web forum.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:56 PM on February 9, 2010


Besides, I'm too busy admiring the Facebook redesign, which I just got a few hours ago. I am a big fan.

I can't put my customized list at the top of the navigation anymore (I don't think) ... :|

No Buzz yet. I guess I'll check it out when it launches.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:59 PM on February 9, 2010


Huh? Isn't Friendster all public?

Maybe it is now, when it started you could only see friends of friends up to a certain level.
posted by delmoi at 12:59 PM on February 9, 2010


So this is like livejournal?
posted by boo_radley at 1:00 PM on February 9, 2010


Wow, this is so buzzy! The people at Buzz-Out-Loud will love it!
posted by blue_beetle at 1:02 PM on February 9, 2010


Editable. Private conversations. Photos and whatnot post directly to the site. Conversations can be muted. Discussion are nested.

They might actually be onto something here.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:06 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Guys. Just read the Knol.
posted by benzenedream at 1:07 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Delmoi: I'm an interface geek. I make plenty of my own. I write about them. Some people watched the Super Bowl Sunday; I was busy implementing ExpressionEngine on my server.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:07 PM on February 9, 2010


Maybe it is now, when it started you could only see friends of friends up to a certain level.

I don't know what it's like now since I haven't used it since about 2006, but my memory from those days is that it was pretty transparent: if you went to someone's profile, you could see their whole list of friends, and nothing was hidden from you. Maybe there was also an option to have a private profile, but I don't think that was the default.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:10 PM on February 9, 2010


Hey, cool. One of my gmail accounts has Buzz, and one doesn't. I'm the geek AND the cool kid!
posted by misha at 1:11 PM on February 9, 2010


Then they created the newsfeed, which was very controversial for a long time, and which sparked the idea for sites like Twitter.

That makes sense; I still hate the newsfeed and I hate Twitter.
posted by spaltavian at 1:11 PM on February 9, 2010


PROJECT DOOM BLOSSOM was too long, eh GuyZero?

damnit! You guess it, all-seeing overlords - I didn't say it!

noooooooooooooo! not the hose!
posted by GuyZero at 1:12 PM on February 9, 2010


Considering Facebook is rapidly turning into a high school social club and the Farmville/mob wars stuff is getting pretty damn pervasive, I welcome anything that proposes to take social networking to the next level.
posted by crapmatic at 1:12 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Buzz: marketing terminology developed by the business folks in the nineties to describe any type of commentary, however lame, insignificant or even irrelevant that they could claim was either generated by their own product or service or the industry in general in order to justify their paycheck.

Example: "There's a lot of buzz surrounding our widgets."
Translation: "Fuck I hope someone comes across our internet webpages."

This type of frenetic hype later gave way to the creation of the SEO industry, which is more of an excuse than a technology, in order to prove that developers were actually responsible for the failure of buzz to materialize around a given product or service rather than the imbeciles who poorly executed a business plan on a platform of which they had very little to no understanding and one MBA degree too many.

As a consequence of buzz, the English language has come to absorb what we call buzzwords, a bastardy unlike no other which business development types (salespeople without customers) banter about in an effort to further align their product or service with whatever is popular in mainstream America at the moment.

The use of buzz, buzzwords or other methodologies that promote stupidity over originality within the culture of a company signal to the customer that the management and developers have had their creativity usurped by the marketing types who strive to reach the center of mediocrity which is the largest user base on the internets. Expect nothing short of copycat garbage from now on. Basically, they've given up until some other downstream turd catches their attention.

Companies that have actually employed the word "buzz" in either their product or corporate logography: buzz.com, abuzz.com, yahoo!, every online marketing strategist, thebuzz.com, buzzfeeds.com, kayak.com, buzzthegame.com, Buzz the bartender at the Pour House, etc. All of whom are lame or were lame. Especially you, Buzz. You could at least smile now and again and pretend you recognize me after fifteen years of pouring me beer. Christ.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:13 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


3.2.3 : So Wave isn't going to replace email after all?

Probably not. But I still hold somewhat high hopes that it will augment it. My wife's Google Talk was broken for about a month and a half and in the interim we used Wave as a replacement. It was clunky and slow, but I kind of came to like it. I suspect that once they start adding in some of the anticipated features, it could become something really neat.

Besides, the name came from Firefly and most of the error messages are quotes from the show, so I have to like it. It's a rule.
posted by quin at 1:14 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh hello, I'm looking for the social network for over 40s please...
posted by infini at 1:14 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Happy hour down at McSorely's
posted by The Whelk at 1:15 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Facebook has done an Excellent job of lock-in. I have fairly good friends on there where I don't know their email address at all. It doesn't matter as long as you stay on Facebook, of course...
posted by smackfu at 1:16 PM on February 9, 2010


It doesn't matter as long as you stay on Facebook, of course...

And it will matter even less when their facebook profile handle becomes a public email address.
posted by GuyZero at 1:18 PM on February 9, 2010


Oh I missed this:
Then they created the newsfeed, which was very controversial for a long time, and which sparked the idea for sites like Twitter.
News Feed:
On 6 September 2006, Farooq Khan announced a new home page feature called News Feed.[3] Originally, when users logged into Facebook, they were presented with a customizable version of their own profile. The new layout, by contrast, created an alternative home page in which users saw a constantly updated list of their friends' Facebook activity.
Twitter
The first Twitter prototype was used as an internal service for Odeo employees, later launching publicly into a full-scale version in July 2006.
But ultimately twitter was just a simple type of blog, which had been around forever. The main idea with twitter was that you could read/write to it from your mobile phone with SMS, which made it a good way to coordinate with friends on the go, you didn't need a PC. The facebook news feed was nothing like that at all.

You seem to be totally unaware of the fact that the internet existed before 2005 or so. The idea that the facebook news feed was some innovative leap that lead to twitter, etc. is insane. None of these ideas are new, it's just the same stuff as before with cheaper bandwidth and computing costs.
posted by delmoi at 1:20 PM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


One advantage over facebook is that it will presumably be blocked by fewer employers.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:21 PM on February 9, 2010


Wave actually seemed to have promise, but the interface was so sluggish that I wandered off. Checking back in, it looks like everyone else wandered off, too.

This? Well, we'll see. It's attached itself to my more public email address, so I'm not too worried there. I actually discovered that I have a MeFi follower already (probably picked up during my brief fling with Wave). If only I were more interesting...
posted by Karmakaze at 1:22 PM on February 9, 2010


None of these ideas are new

OH HEY NNTP, WE FORGOT YOU OVER THERE.

Also, some of us grognards remember the illicit, transgressive thrill of sharing information via our .profile file and "finger".
posted by GuyZero at 1:22 PM on February 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


One advantage over facebook is that it will presumably be blocked by fewer employers.

Or employers will all begin blocking Gmail...
posted by setanor at 1:23 PM on February 9, 2010


Also, I don't quite get the complaints about FarmVille and what have you. You can specifically block updates from any application in facebook. I just turn all those sorts of things off.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:23 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, I don't quite get the complaints about FarmVille and what have you. You can specifically block updates from any application in facebook. I just turn all those sorts of things off.

Or just get better friends.
posted by setanor at 1:24 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


One advantage over facebook is that it will presumably be blocked by fewer employers.

One negative is that gmail will presumably be blocked by more employers (as seemed to happen when gchat was first added).
posted by inigo2 at 1:24 PM on February 9, 2010


The link to try Buzz is just to standard GMail. I don't have it enabled yet, but is there some kind of opt-in? Or did Google just make all the GMail users Buzz users?
posted by smackfu at 1:24 PM on February 9, 2010


Facebook has done an Excellent job of lock-in.

It helped that it was also meeting people's needs. Not so much now: they're fucking with public/private settings in a way that's slightly covert -- the full impact of this hasn't nearly been felt yet. In the meantime, the last two refreshes have been pretty unpopular. This current one has been so unstable -- "no new updates" -- that a lot of people are complaining. It's also still laden with shit apps, games and quizzes. I've seen a lot of posts from people who just want out.

A new stripped-down status/link/picture-sharing service that isn't quite as bare-bones as Twitter could be *huge*.

It's a shame Google defaulted to as-public-as-possible: Facebook's big selling point for the non-net-savvy types was that it was an internet site you could trust with your private info and pictures, because it would only show them to your friends and people you'd agreed to trust. (Buzz does have a privacy button, but it's clunky and non-sophisticated users will just shy away from it).
posted by bonaldi at 1:24 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or employers will all begin blocking Gmail...

I don't know, Google Talk lives in the Gmail interface (and can hook up to AIM, too). I think if an employer didn't think a chat client was worth blocking, they might not change for Buzz. Time will tell, I guess.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:25 PM on February 9, 2010


I'm guessing that if bosses start blocking Gmail, Google will respond by making a barebones, non-buzzy-wavey version. Gmail Feather or something like that.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:27 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google will respond by making a barebones, non-buzzy-wavey version. Gmail Feather or something like that.

When they re-combine them again later into a newer, even more bloated version it should be called Gmail Reclawed.
posted by setanor at 1:30 PM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


I dunno about you guys, but Facebook is totally fucked for me right now. Sounds like good timing on Google's part.
posted by Ratio at 1:33 PM on February 9, 2010


it forces me to expose the only email address I care about.

You could open a second (or third) gmail account. (or fourth)
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:34 PM on February 9, 2010


When they re-combine them again later into a newer, even more bloated version it should be called Gmail Reclawed.

aka Gmail VOLTRON
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:35 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's going to be interesting to see what Facebook does in response to this, if anything. Perhaps there's a nugget of truth to that Facebook email service rumour – they've introduced user names and they have the infrastructure and user base, after all.
posted by nickheer at 1:35 PM on February 9, 2010


Google has an official response to Buzz criticism posted here.
posted by mullingitover at 1:37 PM on February 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


I don't have it enabled yet, but is there some kind of opt-in? Or did Google just make all the GMail users Buzz users?

Word on the street says it's being rolled out slowly. It's only on for a fraction of the userbase now, more to come.
posted by GuyZero at 1:39 PM on February 9, 2010


transgressive thrill of sharing information via our .profile file and "finger"

*twitches*

rm .plan
cp .plan4 .plan
rm .plan
cp .plan8 .plan
rm .plan
cp .plan14 .plan

Always reverting, moving forward, reverting...
posted by cavalier at 1:42 PM on February 9, 2010


oh yeah, .plan. Man, I can never keep my dotfiles straight.
posted by GuyZero at 1:43 PM on February 9, 2010


Ha! There's a -6 option for finger to force it over IPV6. Finger over IPV6! I mean, seriously!

ha! ha ha!

why am I the only one laughing?
posted by GuyZero at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


I wish people would design web pages for people who aren't brain dead every once in a while.

Try telling that to the customer service people who, even with Don't Make Me Think (tm) website designs, still have to field calls like:

User: I can't get my email!
Customer Service: Okay, have you logged into Hotmail.com with your user name and password?
User: Logged in? Whaddya mean logged in? You mean I have to have my computer on to get email?!
posted by Zinger at 1:48 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or employers will all begin blocking Gmail...

Out of my last 3 employers, two blocked Gmail. A lot of places already block any personal e-mail.
posted by spaltavian at 1:48 PM on February 9, 2010


You could open a second (or third) gmail account. (or fourth)
Signing out of your Google account isn't like signing out of Metafilter: Google's so big it's like signing out of the internet. Lots of things break when you sign out of your google account: I can't get my Google Reader, my GMail, my Web History, my notebook, my search suggestions.

Switching accounts just for one service is *way* too much hassle.
posted by bonaldi at 1:56 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


One advantage over facebook is that it will presumably be blocked by fewer employers.

Heh. The reverse is true at my (250,000+ employee) workplace. Facebook is A-Ok, but gmail and all it's works, (Google docs, GChat, Wave, etc...) are totally beyond the pale. Any third-party mail system is out of bounds and chat/irc/realtime communications are completely forbidden. But Facebook is totally ok.
posted by bonehead at 1:58 PM on February 9, 2010


infini: "oh hello, I'm looking for the social network for over 40s please..."

Isn't that Facebook? I'm 45 and I'm one of the youngest of my friends on FB, a big percentage are above retirement age. It seems to have replaced the endless email forwards for seniors.
posted by octothorpe at 1:59 PM on February 9, 2010


Everything old is new again.
$ finger mathowie@twitter@any.io

posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


You can hook twitter in. Use the "Connect sites" option. Looks like you can also connect YouTube.
posted by ofthestrait at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2010


I wonder whether Brad Fitzpatrick (the guy who wrote LiveJournal, and then let for Google and created their social-graph data-mining API) had much to do with Buzz. He seems to have a grasp of social software (i.e., LiveJournal had usable post visibility settings long before Facebook borrowed the model for their updates).
posted by acb at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2010


Interesting that other people are seeing instability on Facebook. I picked up on a quote from a Facebook employee recently (mentioned in this article) that might go some way to explaining it:
“Work fast and don’t be afraid to break things,” is the mantra at Facebook, he said. “If you take down the site, it’s not going to be the end of your career.”
...I can't help but feel that they seem to be taking that advice a little too much to heart.
posted by ZsigE at 2:22 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


You could open a second (or third) gmail account. (or fourth)

Which reminds me that one of Facebook's selling points is that it's real names only.
posted by smackfu at 2:22 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


They've fixed everything I didn't like about Facebook: no annoying apps, the ability to mute conversations on the fly, really smooth integration with my blog / Flickr / Twitter, etc. Now, if only other people will use it...
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 2:43 PM on February 9, 2010


Always reverting, moving forward, reverting...

Working, building, never stopping, never sleeping; working, making, some for selling, some for keeping ...
posted by mrgrimm at 2:50 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anybody want to be my MySpace friend? No? OK, then, can't blame you, I guess.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:51 PM on February 9, 2010


I dunno about you guys, but Facebook is totally fucked for me right now. Sounds like good timing on Google's part.

Random inability to see posts made during particular time periods? "Oops, something seems to have gone wrong" messages? Inability to see posts in order without a bunch of fans/friends/groups garbage thrown in the middle? It's the cutting edge in social network design.
posted by Foosnark at 3:00 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


A new stripped-down status/link/picture-sharing service that isn't quite as bare-bones as Twitter could be *huge*.

This is why I maintain that lite.facebook.com is better than Facebook proper. No apps, no clutter, easily navigable. Anyone frustrated by the latest redesign should try it for a week and see if there's anything they miss.
posted by him at 3:10 PM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ha! There's a -6 option for finger to force it over IPV6. Finger over IPV6! I mean, seriously!

ha! ha ha!


~ $ man finger

...

Shit. I have an obsolete version.
posted by Anything at 3:12 PM on February 9, 2010


It's showed up in an update for the Maps application on Android floams, too - at least on my Nexus One.

I turned it on, eyed all the little word balloons popping up on the map, and turned it back off again. Before I saw those I'd made a test buzz. It showed up in my e-mail inbox, too, which really isn't a happiness-inducing thing.

At least I do have it showing up in gmail if I go to the web page I can configure it. Hopefully. I haven't found out how to make it not hassle me with e-mail; the only settings it seems to have is a little "link these sites to my buzz". Which notes that if you link your Twitter to your Buzz, your twits will be buzzed, but your buzzing will not be twittered...
posted by egypturnash at 3:27 PM on February 9, 2010


DU and delmoi, you really don't need to post. We know everything sucks.
posted by yerfatma at 3:28 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


DU and delmoi, you really don't need to post. We know everything sucks.

People who think everything was invented JUST NOW can perhaps skip posting instead.
posted by GuyZero at 3:34 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If it's not in your Gmail yet, try opening it up on your phone. Worked instantly for me on my iPhone.
posted by statolith at 3:50 PM on February 9, 2010


Sorry that I said Facebook's feed inspired Twitter. I was wrong about that. I was not wrong, however, about the implications of the feed regarding other future designs. The Facebook feed was and is quite different from Twitter's. It doesn't just show what you post; it shows what you do. So when I become single, that shows, or when I add you as a friend, that shows. Especially in the beginning, when people had never seen such a feature in a friend-connecting network, there was a lot of discussion about intrusion and loss of privacy. That's a conversation Twitter never had because Twitter was first and foremost about public sharing.

And that's the difference between Friendster and Facebook, also. Friendster had a privacy option — so did MySpace. But Facebook institutionalized it, first with its system of networks (which was innovative at the time but was later dropped for other systems), on which you could see classmates but nobody from other schools. As they opened to other groups, one of the selling points was privacy. MySpace was about making a personal place for yourself online; styling your web site was part of the fun. Friendster never had that, but its selling point was still that you could put up information about yourself and anybody looking for you could find that.

I know this because I had a Friendster account, as well as accounts for MySpace, Hi5, Tagworld, Bebo, and a number of other, smaller sites. One of the first things I did online was volunteer work for a forum-based social networking system called Zoints, and as part of that I did a lot of going back and forth between sites. I left after Facebook opened to high schools, because it was obvious just how big it was going to be. And those big features were its feed, which was highly addictive, and its powerful privacy controls, which let me avoid releasing information I didn't want released. It's a particular area of interest for me. And Facebook has been, without a doubt, the most innovative social network for years. Not all its innovations work — I miss the network pages and thought they were terrific fun — but they fix their mistakes quickly enough that they don't lose many users, and in the process shut out a lot of competing networks. It's not perfect, but I don't like it because it's flawless, I like it because every time they do something they say a lot about what they're trying to do in the medium.

So, sorry that I'm wrong, and thanks for calling me out on those mistakes. But delmoi, I've noticed whenever we get into arguments that you get this real priggishness about yourself. Like, I enjoy debating with people and being wrong and correcting people when I think they're wrong, but it's all in fun, you know? No need to be an asshat when you disagree. I think you're smart and I wish I could enjoy our spats more than I do.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:56 PM on February 9, 2010


I had a Friendster account, as well as accounts for MySpace, Hi5, Tagworld, Bebo, and a number of other, smaller sites.

No Sixdegrees account? For shame.
posted by GuyZero at 4:11 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]



Isn't that Facebook? I'm 45 and I'm one of the youngest of my friends on FB, a big percentage are above retirement age. It seems to have replaced the endless email forwards for seniors.
posted by octothorpe at 1:59 PM


oh totally except mine's become infested with my dad's 6 younger brothers, their wives and children, their spouses, and soon, I imagine, their children.

that's not a social network... ;p that's the reason I moved to Finland ;p
posted by infini at 4:12 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


No Sixdegrees account? For shame.

Before my time, I'm afraid. Back then I didn't even know I could register for forums, and assumed anything I found on Google was written by Very Smart People.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:16 PM on February 9, 2010


I'm anxiously waiting for Buzz to show up in my Gmail because I want to know whether my intuition that it's a "lifestream" with ads by Google is correct.
posted by immlass at 4:31 PM on February 9, 2010


yerfatma: "DU and delmoi, you really don't need to post. We know everything sucks."

People who don't know everything sucks are doomed to reimplement everything, poorly.
posted by boo_radley at 4:39 PM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Since it was mentioned, I feel to compelled to point out that Orkut is certainly not a flop in al markets, and that it is quite a success in at least one: Brazil. According to a recent article on Mashable, it's the 2nd most visited site in that country. An article at DML Central indicates that 73% of Brazilian internet users are Orkut users.

Aside: the first article also indicates that FB is gunning for them.
posted by grimjeer at 4:57 PM on February 9, 2010


Then they created the newsfeed, which was very controversial for a long time, and which sparked the idea for sites like Twitter.

delmoi has it.

Especially in the beginning, when people had never seen such a feature in a friend-connecting network, there was a lot of discussion about intrusion and loss of privacy. That's a conversation Twitter never had because Twitter was first and foremost about public sharing.

I use Twitter. I use Facebook. I still don't like my Facebook actions being published in the News Feed/Live Feed, and delete them whenever they show up. I'm part of one of the many Facebook groups decrying users' current inability to keep their actions private. Not everyone simply gives in to the architecture.

And that's the thing. Beyond all of this talk about these sites' increasing apparent similarity in architecture and appearance (and conjectures about Buzz's presumed similarity to both of them in those respects), there are simply real differences in the way each of the sites mentioned is used by real people. The ethos of each site is completely different. To say Twitter is about "public sharing" is like saying fire hydrants are about "spraying water." It's a little obvious.

Maybe your age group tends to view things otherwise, Rory Marinich, but for the most part, I see Facebook mainly being used for networking with people you already know and showing them what you have become or are becoming, whereas I see Twitter being largely used for sharing and developing ideas. Both social networking spaces are full of people sharing the latest news and what they're seeing and doing in realtime, but the idea of what's newsworthy, I think, greatly differs between the two. Status updates I see on Facebook are mostly about personal news and life events, whereas Twitter has the capacity to be a much more entrepreneurial, collaborative space.

Twitter, to me, is about sharing and building on ideas, interesting turns of phrase, and plays on words. Facebook isn't the sort of space where that sort of interaction can take place, in part because it doesn't foreground raw text the way Twitter does. And more important, an account on Facebook automatically invokes a set of inescapable preconceptions about who you are, in the form of data re: where you come from, where you were educated, where you live now, who you work for, etc. On Twitter, by God, you can still be anonymous, just as you can when blogging or chatting on AIM (or even AIM via GTalk).

Now, I know this anonymity is largely an illusion, esp. as evidenced by that old MetaTalk thread in which one user showed us just how easily the details we casually reveal online can be compiled into a coherent profile, but it can still feel so freeing in ways that an identity-linked Facebook account never can be. So if Buzz will help me stay somewhat independent of the Facebook hegemony—or even just feel like I am—I'm interested. (You know, when it's finally rolled out for Google Apps for Domains.)
posted by limeonaire at 5:06 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google is a silly name. Can they change it to Altavista? That would be much better.
posted by lukemeister at 6:03 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, what's the word from people who have tried it so far?
posted by flatluigi at 6:14 PM on February 9, 2010


So, what's the word from people who have tried it so far?

I've been on it all evening, and now am seriously hoping the people I care about from Facebook and Twitter migrate to it. It solves everything that I hate about both Facebook and Twitter. The future bodes well -- it has already filled up with a fair few of my non-geek friends; compared to the uptake I saw on Facebook and Twitter in the early days it's fairly exploding.

I'm still a bit confused about the permissions thing, but the more open by default permissions could be a good thing here: I can post a link to an entire Buzz conversation, which includes pictures and video, and you can read it in a page of its own. From there you can add a comment yourself. Imagine being able to do that on Twitter, instead of single-stepping through @replies.

Conversations in general are way nicer: much closer to the Facebook model than Twitter's, except with the addition of useful attachments, and no attempt to maintain a we're-AOL-really closed wall.

I don't think comparisons with Wave would be relevant at all except they both come from Google, so fwiw, with Wave in about three minutes I realised I had virtually no use for it and would never be able to sell it to, eg, my girlfriend. With this, I'm already hoping it takes off and allows me to leave Facebook far behind.

(I fear the confusing privacy things will stop that, but Google are known for iterating, so here's hoping)
posted by bonaldi at 6:28 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


bonaldi: it's tied to my Google Account, and that's not something I really want to be shared in public. That email address is the one I hide behind layer upon layer of redirects and sneakemail and so on -- to have people using it as an @symbol in their public "buzzes" is going to suck.

It doesn't reveal your email address to people who don't know it already. Just because people can read your public Buzz feed doesn't mean they know your account name. (You can also post private Buzzes to just a group of friends, which obviously are not public.)
posted by purpleclover at 7:01 PM on February 9, 2010


So, what's the word from people who have tried it so far?
Actually I just logged on to my Gmail just to check this out. Apparently I'm already being followed by one person. I actually do like the interface more then Facebook. It also seems to be integrated with google reader, so if I find something in reader I'd like to send to my friends it would be easy to do so, so I might end up more likely to 'recycle' news via this then with facebook.

I could see it being interesting. I wish they would make an effort to make things more clear about how widely available our posts are. It's not clear anywhere on the display whether our posts are public or just for people following us. That's one thing I don't like about google's "social" tools. When you're on twitter you know what you're sending out is public, but that's not always the case if you click "share" on something in google reader.

I posted a test message and then looked at it in another browser session, and I was able to view it, so apparently it's public. I don't see any privacy settings anywhere either.
So, sorry that I'm wrong, and thanks for calling me out on those mistakes. But delmoi, I've noticed whenever we get into arguments that you get this real priggishness about yourself. Like, I enjoy debating with people and being wrong and correcting people when I think they're wrong, but it's all in fun, you know? No need to be an asshat when you disagree. I think you're smart and I wish I could enjoy our spats more than I do.
Well, I was actually thinking about toning down my comments, but I figured since you decided call people who disagreed with you about the iPad "ignorant jackasses" you could handle it :P. Obviously I don't want to get into arguments with the same person to frequently in a short period, though. No offense meant.
posted by delmoi at 7:13 PM on February 9, 2010


It doesn't reveal your email address to people who don't know it already.
@-replies use the email address, so instead of @bonaldi it's, eg, @bonaldi@metafilter.com. Since the posts are by default public, it shouldn't take too long before someone uses it in a public buzz, and then it's out there.

(Also, the default for a Google Profile is to use http://google.com/profiles/[account name] for your URL, and there's your email address effectively exposed there, too.)
posted by bonaldi at 7:13 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't see any privacy settings anywhere either.
See, this is my fear. The privacy settings are there, but they're easy to miss*. People won't be as comfortable with this as they were with Facebook-before-it-sucked.

* Delmoi: just next to the "Post" button in buzz you should see a box that says "Public". If you click that you get some nicely grained controls about who should see the post you're composing. They're cleverer than I first thought: if you make a list, then make a post to it and then update the list, the permissions update automatically too.
posted by bonaldi at 7:16 PM on February 9, 2010


One thing underlying my cranky response to Buzz upthread is the concern that sorting out privacy and permissions will be next to impossible to sort out, and a headache. I could probably do it for my own account, but the more stuff is shared across various networks, the harder it will be to keep track of where everything goes. This will only increase if you allow each person/node in a network to configure privacy in sophisticated ways. I really can't be bothered, because I don't want various facets of 'me' being brought together in unexpected ways in unexpected contexts . I'm assuming that most other people, including those who use it, will also not be bothered either, but in the sense that they don't mind.

It will be interesting to see how coherent buzz conversations will be, with different privacy settings for each participant. Or am I missing the point here?
posted by carter at 7:28 PM on February 9, 2010


"but in the sense that they don't mind." = "but in the sense that they don't mind about what happens to their privacy."
posted by carter at 7:29 PM on February 9, 2010


Delmoi: just next to the "Post" button in buzz you should see a box that says "Public".

Ah, I see that. Interestingly, there's no way to change the status after you post (except to delete the thing entirely)
posted by delmoi at 7:56 PM on February 9, 2010


Well, I was actually thinking about toning down my comments, but I figured since you decided call people who disagreed with you about the iPad "ignorant jackasses" you could handle it :P. Obviously I don't want to get into arguments with the same person to frequently in a short period, though. No offense meant.

Oh, this IS a continuation in tone of that! I wasn't certain if we were both remembering that or not. If that's what it is then carry on heckling me; I certainly deserve it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:07 PM on February 9, 2010


Since the posts are by default public, it shouldn't take too long before someone uses it in a public buzz, and then it's out there.
Ah, I was wrong about this: they turn the @-names into real links. That's much better.

It will be interesting to see how coherent buzz conversations will be, with different privacy settings for each participant. Or am I missing the point here?
The entire conversation takes its privacy settings from the poster who starts it. If it set it to 8 people, only those 8 people can see it, and they can see posts from anybody on it. Great way to do little ad-hoc forum-style threads of interested parties.
posted by bonaldi at 9:09 PM on February 9, 2010


So you can't add people to a conversation, or share it with anyone else after it's started (analogous to forwarding an email)? - I haven't been invited (or whatever), that's why I'm asking. Seems like a closed/frozen list, then. From a user interaction perspective, is that how conversations really work, I wonder.
posted by carter at 9:17 PM on February 9, 2010


No, it's pretty smart: if I create a list (v. easy) and share a post with that list, when I add/remove people from the list they are automatically added/removed from the post as well.

I think one model for it is "A, B, C, meet X and Y who are also interested in this. Let's talk". Which models quite well how conversational introductions go. It'd be better if any participant could invite people, but I can see why they've shied away from that.

(This is the part of it that Wave could have done well, if it hadn't been empty and weird)
posted by bonaldi at 9:22 PM on February 9, 2010


It'd be better if any participant could invite people, but I can see why they've shied away from that.

That's one thing I was kind of wondering about. I was asking partly because I watched the Flickr absorption of Yahoo photos through the help forums, and it was obvious that at least some of the YP users had trouble understanding the Flickr permissions. I think a lot of folks don't understand permissions/privacy at all. But they're also probably not going to be the people who are 'buzzing' (or whatever), at least to start with. (btw I'm not anti-Google and use gmail all the time).
posted by carter at 9:59 PM on February 9, 2010


here's an interview with Sergey Brin talking about this.
posted by delmoi at 10:09 PM on February 9, 2010


So you can't add people to a conversation

Might be missing some context here, but isn't that what the @name syntax is all about?

(people who've used Jaiku might recognize a thing or two here...)
posted by effbot at 10:15 PM on February 9, 2010


Taco Town! apparently that's google's code name for Buzz. at least thats what a quick googling turned up.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 12:08 AM on February 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Any participant can add a new person to the conversation using the @-syntax - if you @reply in a Buzz to someone, it gets sent directly to them and adds them to the ongoing conversation.
posted by DoomGerbil at 1:21 AM on February 10, 2010


Can someone explain to me why several unique names I use (including my own, absolutely unique, real-life name) are always already taken on gmail? I ended up having to use something else.

Do they automatically disallow any domain name or something?
posted by maxwelton at 1:25 AM on February 10, 2010


Taco town would be an awesome name for a social network from Google.
posted by bystander at 2:29 AM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like statolith said, it seems to let you right in if you visit http://buzz.google.com/ on a mobile device. Unfortunately, my Android phone is stuck on the 1.5 firmware which isn’t supported. (Why, Verizon!??) I was able to get in with my iPod touch, though.
posted by ijoshua at 6:00 AM on February 10, 2010


I like this status message under Following:
“Buzz from the NaN people I’m following.”
posted by ijoshua at 6:03 AM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well I just figured out how to access Buzz (logout/login). So I'll check it out. But the point I was thinking of was that if you form a conversation (or whatever it's called), and set permissions for it in terms of who is a member, and other people join based on those permissions - then if you add someone, surely you have added them in terms of how you view permissions, but not necessarily in terms of how other people in the conversation view the permissions.

Example: You are A, and you invite B, C, D. B, C, and D are all happy talking with each other, and with you. You might want to add E - which is okay with you - but not okay with D. What happens then? Does D block E's view of the conversation? This would seem to be unwieldy to manage, and also productive of 'gappy' conversations.

Maybe I should just try and use the damn thing ;)
posted by carter at 6:14 AM on February 10, 2010


Buzz, which I hadn't even bothered to click on, decided to connect a bunch of sites without my input. Awesome start guys!

My 3 minutes of experience with Buzz has been to disconnect everything it automatically added and hide it from my Gmail.
posted by spaltavian at 8:17 AM on February 10, 2010


If anyone else was wondering, the option to disable Buzzz is in the footer.
posted by smackfu at 8:19 AM on February 10, 2010


Well I just figured out how to access Buzz (logout/login).

Nope. No buzz for me. It's annoying that the buzz.google.com page says "Try Buzz in Gmail" and then doesn't offer it.

I wonder if it's because I'm running OptimizeGoogle.

This is why I maintain that lite.facebook.com is better than Facebook proper. No apps, no clutter, easily navigable. Anyone frustrated by the latest redesign should try it for a week and see if there's anything they miss.

I tried Facebook Lite again this morning and I still don't see the point. I don't are about lack of clutter if it's not any faster. In fact, lite.facebook.com was noticeably slower and had more failures than regular facebook.com. (Though the whole service seems a bit shaky right now.) I also think the navigation is worse.

No customized lists (work friends, high-school friends, etc.); no hiding specific users; no status updates link (on the front page at least); no notifications? Yeah, there's a few essential/basic features I would immediately miss.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:39 AM on February 10, 2010


Buzz just made its way to live under my inbox in Gmail this morning. Not sure what I think about it yet as, unlike a lot of their other ventures, I'm not sure what hole in my life this fills. I'll keep it active for a while, just to see if it suddenly becomes awesomely useful in a way I didn't expect.

Maybe for sharing photos that I don't want to put on Twitter? Maybe?..
posted by quin at 9:02 AM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Buzz, which I hadn't even bothered to click on, decided to connect a bunch of sites without my input. Awesome start guys!

So I thought I'd explore the 'Connect Sites' link. I click on the link and get 1. "Your activity on these sites will create posts in Buzz." Oh that's cool! I like the fact that I can connect to Flickr. It would be nice to have a 'latest photos' collage, for instance, such as the one on my profile page here at Metafilter. Note however that 'activity' is not defined in this dialog box. Neither is there a help/tooltip link to explain it. Anyway, I click 'Add' next to Flickr.

And go to 2. Include public uploads, okay, add user name, okay. Click 'Next step' and go to

3. Still okay, sort of. I notice that I am sharing with 'Public,' whatever that is (no link, etc.). I notice that I can edit this, so I click 'edit to see if there is more information there.

4. Now my 'public uploads' are 'public' (no explanation) to my 'followers' (no explanation) and my 'google profile' (no explanation).' I wonder what else there is besides public?

5. Private to 'my contacts,' 'friends,' 'family,' 'coworkers.' Huh? No explanation of these terms. They actually sound similar to Flickr permissions. I'm assuming that they are not. But how do I know? How do I set these up in the beginning, anyway?

Let's go for 'public.' Click 'next step.' Go to 6. My activity on this site will create posts in Buzz. Hmm not sure what that means, or rather, what is meant by 'activity.' Anyway. Click 'save,' and I am now connected to Flickr - and Picasa and Google Reader. Bleh. Go back in and disconnect all ...

As a side note, the Metafilter profile 'Flickr latest' panel is a good way to do this. Spamming by buzzees everytime I do something on Flickr - and note, 'activity is not defined - is it uploads? comments? edits? adding contacts? - is not, at least in my book.
posted by carter at 9:30 AM on February 10, 2010


I'll add this note at the bottom of everything, because I think it would be weird to have two (semi) premature Google posts in as many days: Think big with a gig: Our experimental fiber network
We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone.

As a first step, today we're putting out a request for information (RFI) to help identify interested communities. We welcome responses from local government, as well as members of the public. If you'd like to respond, visit this page to learn more.
They're open for nominations now until March 26.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:33 AM on February 10, 2010


It needs to go both ways to win me over. IE, not just pull messages from Twitter, but also post messages to Twitter, so that I don't need to bother with multiple sites. I want a meta-social networking tool, not a tick that just keeps track of what I do on other social networks.

And where's the Facebook integration? I know Facebook lacks a proper API, but I would think Google's codesmiths could pull it off.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:40 AM on February 10, 2010


Good news, everyone! It makes us Profiles without asking!
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:45 AM on February 10, 2010


I'm not sure if everyone's gotten it or not yet, but go here and see what you get:
https://mail.google.com/mail/?uip=1#buzz.

mccarty.tim: "Good news, everyone! It makes us Profiles without asking!"

I'm pretty sure that anyone with a gmail/ google account has a profile by default. It's something they don't really "advertise", though.
posted by boo_radley at 9:54 AM on February 10, 2010


Ah, thanks for explaining, Boo. Wouldn't be the first time I was wrong.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:15 AM on February 10, 2010


I'm pretty sure that anyone with a gmail/ google account has a profile by default.

Nope. I don't have one. The Profiles front page has a big "Create your profile" button, even when I'm logged in to Google.

I'm not sure if everyone's gotten it or not yet, but go here and see what you get:
https://mail.google.com/mail/?uip=1#buzz.


Nope. I'll try in Chrome... nope. I lose.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:20 AM on February 10, 2010


None of the other suggestions worked, like logging in, etc. It just popped up randomly today one time when I clicked on my GMail shortcut.
posted by smackfu at 10:26 AM on February 10, 2010


mrgrimm: "Nope. I'll try in Chrome... nope. I lose."

I wonder if it'll grant you access if I address a buzz message to you.
posted by boo_radley at 10:45 AM on February 10, 2010


how do I opt out?
posted by infini at 11:39 AM on February 10, 2010


I'm not sure if everyone's gotten it or not yet, but go here and see what you get:
https://mail.google.com/mail/?uip=1#buzz.


Woo! It worked.

I hope this takes over facebook. I've been hating facebook lately with a passion. In fact, I've always sort of hated facebook with a passion (was an early adopter of friendster and myspace so I had trouble seeing the point initially, though I begrudgingly embraced facebook when I realized posting my blog updates there got me lots more readers than promoting my RSS feed).

The only problem is that I've been wanting to change my personal email--based on a velvet underground song--for ages, and this only gets me further entrenched with it. I have a google apps for domains email I'd prefer to use, but that doesn't work with things like google reader or, of course, buzz. Bummer.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:50 AM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Taco Town is actually the best restaurant ever.
posted by GuyZero at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pluckymisha@gmail.com, if anyone on Buzz wants to add me. And I'll follow you if you want to post who you are here, or just Mefimail me your gmail Buzz account.
posted by misha at 2:14 PM on February 10, 2010


I'm adding you, misha. If anyone wants to add me, my username is whoasweetjane (you know the @cetera)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:55 PM on February 10, 2010


It seems that Buzz and Reader are integrated somehow and that Buzz sent out a whole bunch of 'follow' requests on Reader without asking me. I've noticed Reader doing things like that before. I can't find anything on the sharing settings page which toggles these automatic 'follow' requests. It's weird. Not annoying, but weird.
posted by Kattullus at 3:07 PM on February 10, 2010


Yeah, this kind of thing is obnoxious. I mean, If I sign up for facebook, I know everything I'm going to do is going to "go out" on facebook. I'm pretty clear on what kind of information goes to whome on facebook. With Twitter, it's even simpler. Everything is public.

But grafting "social" features onto services we already use is obnoxious. It's not at all clear exactly who gets what and where it goes. I wasn't the only one who got confused, based on the comments above. Especially if people are wondering what exactly is going to cause those other sites to send off buzz.

What's especially annoying is that for the most part, this isn't actually about making anyone's life better or more efficient. We already have services that do this, so why is google making it's own and then shoving it down our throats in gmail? Obviously because it's better for google that people do this kind of thing over their then their competitors.

The thing is, it would have been helpful if they'd taken the time to actually explain what all the terms were, how it worked, and what the privacy settings actually are.

In a lot of ways these "socially intrusive" services are an even bigger privacy problem. After all, if some big corporation is going to data mine you, at least people who might access it don't know you and probably don't care. But here the data gets routed to people you actually know. Facebook's Beacon system is probably the worst example: people finding out about wedding ring purchases, friends finding out about porn rental, things like that.
posted by delmoi at 3:27 PM on February 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not just me, other people have noticed the automatic 'follow' request business.
posted by Kattullus at 3:31 PM on February 10, 2010


I never played with Orkut, so I don't know if this came from there, but it looks like the buzzes (?) have their own version of favorites. You can "Like" and then "Un-like" messages.
posted by quin at 3:46 PM on February 10, 2010


carter: "my contacts,' 'friends,' 'family,' 'coworkers.' Huh? No explanation of these terms."

Those are the default categories for your contacts, which you should be able to manage here.
posted by flatluigi at 4:29 PM on February 10, 2010


in high school I was actually a guest writer for AllFacebook

That's hilarious. Kids today with all their gadgets and gizmos....
posted by anniecat at 4:48 PM on February 10, 2010


Warning: Google Buzz Has A Huge Privacy Flaw:
When you first go into Google Buzz, it automatically sets you up with followers and people to follow.

A Google spokesperson tells us these people are chosen based on whom the users emails and chats with most using Gmail.

That's fine.

The problem is that -- by default -- the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile.

In other words, before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see the people you email and chat with most.
posted by Kattullus at 7:56 PM on February 10, 2010


Yeah I just saw that Kattallus. I can see the profiles of all my (Google-assigned) followees - and the profiles of who they are following and being followed by - and so on. I just went to my Google profile - which I completely forgot I had, it has a nickname related to some project I was working on in the past that had used Google docs? - and switched everything off. But - bleh. The overall design of the thing is potentially interesting; but all the autofill crap is a bit much.

Also, my Google-assigned followees are a bit off-base. At least one I have only emailed once in the past year.

Thanks for the link, flatluigi - IMHO that should really be at the point in the interface where you choose those categories. Or maybe it is, and I didn't see it.
posted by carter at 8:35 PM on February 10, 2010


Here's the privacy policy btw. Which includes:

In addition, if you upload a photo via the Buzz interface or choose to email images to buzz@gmail.com, we will include those photos in a Picasa web album and create a Google Picasa account on your behalf if you don't already have one. The Picasa Privacy Policy will apply to your use of our Picasa service.

Not that I have anything against Picasa - but that's a bit weird. Something else you are automatically opted in to. You could see it as a functional plug-in for Buzz, but still. I guess all your albums are then public as well?
posted by carter at 8:39 PM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google choose two people to follow me. One is my best friend. The other is the crazy stalkerish ex-girlfriend. At least I hope that it was Google's algorithm deciding to have crazy ex follow me. I've turned off Buzz and I'll leave it off until Google has made it easy to control privacy.
posted by rdr at 3:44 AM on February 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


s/choose/chose/
posted by rdr at 5:50 AM on February 11, 2010


Something else you are automatically opted in to.

That seems to be the new trend with Google. Like no one was using their profile service, so now Buzz automatically creates one for you and makes it public I believe. And then you go to the profile page and it says "gee, if you give us all your demographic info, we'll make it so you come up if someone searches for you".
posted by smackfu at 6:28 AM on February 11, 2010


Now, in normal Google search results, there's social search section, which seems to go through blogs and websites of my contacts and my contacts' contacts. That seems to be new since Buzz.
posted by Kattullus at 6:41 AM on February 11, 2010


Here's the social search announcement from Google.
posted by Kattullus at 6:42 AM on February 11, 2010


I had it for about 24 hours before turning it off. I hate it. It's like Google said "you will use our products this way" without considering how people might actually be using them. In particular:

- All "buzzes" and comments to my buzzes or buzz replies download to my desktop and phone mail clients (POP and IMAP respectively) as emails with no option to turn off.
- All Buzz contacts are now Google Reader contacts and vice/versa.
- All Buzz/Reader contacts are now publicly available on your Google profile unless you turn it off (as noted upthread).

It's like Google assumes everyone has this web-focused, mixed personal-business lifestream and everyone you know should be reading it and you want to read every irrelevant personal thought and link from everyone you know. I don't live my life that way and I'm already at my limit for this ADD stuff with Twitter.

I understand they want everyone to stay on Google all the time so they can make money off ads and search. But I don't live like that. If I used my Reader account to follow people in my job field and suddenly they were getting my private in-jokey updates with my friends, I'd be furious. As it is, I'm just annoyed enough to turn it off.
posted by immlass at 7:22 AM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


A whole lotta nothing on Buzz:
Broken feedback loops (and a companion My personal feedback loops)

Gina Trapani on #1's comments: Closing the feedback loop

Brief: Buzz adds yet another method for commentary on content. Fragmentation considered harmful---creators don't/can't see commentary from their audience.
posted by bonehead at 7:27 AM on February 11, 2010


It's like Google assumes everyone has this web-focused, mixed personal-business lifestream and everyone you know should be reading it and you want to read every irrelevant personal thought and link from everyone you know. I don't live my life that way and I'm already at my limit for this ADD stuff with Twitter.

Ironically, I'm finding that I love using Buzz with my personal email address (the one I've been wanting to get rid of) for precisely this reason. I often find it tedious to check multiple websites for the same sort of information (facebook, twitter). And I love google reader, but my attempts to share content with people has mostly fallen flat because I didn't know who else used it. Logically, I realize how this is invasive, but I've been pretty on board with google services already, so this just increases their utility for me. But I'm quickly realizing I'm in the minority. I've also had a dedicated "professional" gmail for awhile, which I haven't hooked up to Buzz.

Here is a trick to get Buzz updates out of your inbox.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:28 AM on February 11, 2010


I like it so far. Twitter became too much, too fast, for my tastes; I use it now pretty much just to see current trends and breaking news. Facebook is fine but is a bit closed off from my other online pursuits, the largest of which is Google Reader. Like PhoBWan I'd like to use GReader to share interesting content but up 'til now only one other person I know has been using it. Now, with so many people already using Gmail, there's a built-in network for Buzz; it won't have to slowly gain users as word gets out. Remember Pownce? Interesting but dead quiet because no one knew about it. If Buzz incorporates Facebook, I may never actually go back to FB or Twitter.

So do we call Buzz users Buzzards? Also, does anyone else think of Buzz the elevator guy from Hudsucker Proxy? Nah, probably just me.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 7:43 AM on February 11, 2010


Ironically, I'm finding that I love using Buzz with my personal email address (the one I've been wanting to get rid of) for precisely this reason. I often find it tedious to check multiple websites for the same sort of information (facebook, twitter).

Nothing ironic about it! You're the user they designed it for. I've come to the conclusion that Apple and Google have very different design/UI aesthetics and I'm not at all in the Google camp.

I got the Buzz stuff out of my Gmail inbox, but it still showed up in the All Mail view I use on my iPhone and it was still showing up in my desktop email. For me that's extremely disruptive to my email usage pattern which was established before Google was all that, kthx. I know I'm going to have to change things when my old email client reaches its end of life sometime in the next few years, but this is not an evolutionary change for me. It's radical change and makes it harder for me to use email for the things I use it for.

And I love google reader, but my attempts to share content with people has mostly fallen flat because I didn't know who else used it.

The one good thing I've gotten out of all this is finding out which of my friends are using Reader and getting them added to my feeds. Now if only Netnewswire would get shared Reader posts on my desktop, I'd never visit Reader on my laptop again (just on my phone).
posted by immlass at 7:51 AM on February 11, 2010


So far 100% of the buzzes I've seen have been about buzz. Both of them. Also "buzzes" sounds horrible, so clearly this is an epic failure on all counts!

Also, unlike facebook almost everyone's profile is public. So someone I know published a public "buzz" and I was able to click the people who replied, and see their buzzes ad infinitum.
posted by delmoi at 6:03 PM on February 11, 2010


So do we call Buzz users Buzzards? Also, does anyone else think of Buzz the elevator guy from Hudsucker Proxy? Nah, probably just me.

Hah, one of the random people's profiles I was looking at said the same thing. They really f'd up the name.
posted by delmoi at 6:05 PM on February 11, 2010


Fuck you, Google: You know who my third most frequent contact is? My abusive ex-husband.
posted by finite at 3:24 PM on February 12, 2010


They did exactly the same thing when they launched chat -- it also auto-added frequent contacts to your new friends list. I don't see what her problem here is: if you don't publish anything on buzz there's nothing for your followers to read; if you don't agree to create the public profile there's no contacts list for people to see.

I'm less clear about the Reader thing, but as far back as I can remember sharing has been either totally public or restricted to certain groups. If you're so concerned about your privacy that you don't even want people reading your comments on RSS, have it set to restricted already.

(And if you're a doctor who uses that gmail account for all his confidential communication, don't go clicking big "Yes, publish my profile!" buttons without reading the many explanatory links. God, I don't want to blame the victims here, but what's the alternative -- "Google should make it safe for me to click any button anywhere without having to read anything and with no consequences"?)
posted by bonaldi at 4:44 PM on February 12, 2010


And if you're a doctor who uses that gmail account for all his confidential communication

Then F you. Don't use free email for official doctoring business.
posted by inigo2 at 5:41 PM on February 12, 2010


From finite's link: "that you AUTOMATICALLY allowed all my most frequent contacts access to my Reader"

Is this true? I don't use Reader, it's an honest question. My understanding was Buzz just allowed people to see things in Reader you publicly shared/commented on/etc. Is that not right?
posted by inigo2 at 5:44 PM on February 12, 2010


So far 100% of the buzzes I've seen have been about buzz. Both of them. Also "buzzes" sounds horrible, so clearly this is an epic failure on all counts!

I don't have the same experience, so apparently this is a huge success on all counts!

Also, unlike facebook almost everyone's profile is public. So someone I know published a public "buzz" and I was able to click the people who replied, and see their buzzes ad infinitum.

Under 50% of the people following me are public. FWIW. So, I guess we have different friends.

My point is simply this isn't black/white, apparently. So until it really IS a failure, I say we all hold off on calling it a failure.

Now, if there was only some way to Buzz for more jack daniels.
posted by inigo2 at 5:49 PM on February 12, 2010


Just FYI, there's a link at the bottom of your Gmail page that turns off Buzz.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:19 PM on February 12, 2010


My understanding was Buzz just allowed people to see things in Reader you publicly shared/commented on/etc. Is that not right?

No, that's exactly right. She's mad because it pierced her security-by-obscurity: she was sharing things with "public", but assuming that this would only be her boyfriend because who else would have her email address?

It's a view I've got a bit of sympathy with, but hey, "public" means "public", especially where Google is concerned.
posted by bonaldi at 8:13 PM on February 12, 2010


Now, if there was only some way to Buzz for more jack daniels.

Strange, that worked just fine for me the other day (well, someone showed up with a nice Greenore Single Grain, not Daniel's). But now I cannot remember how I did it.
posted by effbot at 8:16 PM on February 12, 2010


inigo2: "Now, if there was only some way to Buzz for more jack daniels."

Doesn't the buzz usually come after the Jack Daniels?
posted by flatluigi at 10:28 PM on February 12, 2010


I'm willing to be followed for a bit. Not that it's hard to guess my id
posted by Karmakaze at 8:47 AM on February 13, 2010


Gmail’s “turn off buzz” (still) does not turn off Buzz; here’s how to really do it

Posted by a friend of mine who's a lawyer and followed this procedure not because he's using Gmail for work but because he feels a need to keep his social network (contacts in Buzz) private. Even if you "turn off Buzz" (i.e., hide it in Gmail), that you are a contact of other people is exposed in their Buzz contacts, which may be public-facing.

This is more work than I'm willing to put in to cover my tracks, but some people may want to go the whole way.
posted by immlass at 2:35 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


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