Director of Intent

February 17, 2010

Buzzing with Google

Sometimes you just need to repaint the walls or move some furniture around. Other times you need to move to a new home with different square footage. Every once in a while, a new city is in order.

In my little neighborhood of social networking sites, Google Buzz accomplishes all of the above for me. Granted, the new digs were in dire need of trimmings, so it has been a week of steady usage, determined customization, and trolling of the Google Help Forums and miscellaneous blogs. I still have a bit of work to go, but I'm already thinking about my old home less and less.

The implementation of Buzz was interesting, and had it been another company, this post may not even be happening. Twenty thousand Google employees and cohorts were involved in the testing of Buzz, so apparently that was a big enough sample to justify rolling it out into existing Gmail accounts across the world. The problem was that most people are not Google employees. Most people never look at their application settings, let alone read dialog boxes before clicking a Yes button. As such, these same folks flooded message boards about how their privacy was violated. Hell, there were articles about how Google's oversight jeopardized national security and the safety of undercover agents. 

To Google's credit, they contained the PR nightmare by quickly adding multiple measures to prevent people from showing the rest of the world the email addresses of their mistress or local informant. Never mind that all of these settings were three clicks away before the madness of the crowd set in. Maybe it should have been relegated to the Labs, or at least released as BuzzBeta from the onset.

While secure in my ability to keep the world's prying eyes away from my boring contacts list, I quite enjoyed myself during the move to Buzz. It is a bit lonely after the move, as I only have a few contacts that are as enthused about Buzz as I am. Maybe once I'm done unpacking, it will be time to walk around the neighborhood and see what other people are up to. I just hope they have Gmail accounts...

If you find yourself kicking around in Buzz, here are a few resources that I have found incredibly helpful during its infancy:

Gmail Help Forum - Buzz and Contacts