Review: The full buzz on Google Buzz

A hands-on text and video tour of Google's latest rollout

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Difficult to decipher. Many settings and functions in Buzz are either not yet available or buried. The "mute" issue is one such thing; the link for editing connected sites also has a tendency to vanish without warning.

If you want to give Google the benefit of the doubt, this could simply be early beta woes.

No API compatibility with Twitter or Facebook. Buzz's API is its own animal. Twitter's API is already widely embraced despite the system's relative youth, and for Google to shirk such potential developer leverage is just plain dumb -- especially since it lets you feed Twitter into Buzz, but not the other way 'round.

And Buzz doesn't work with Facebook at all, which could be an indication that Google considers it a rival. But let's face it -- Facebook is arguably the update venue that people use most.

Right now, at any rate, it is unlikely that masses of people will be deserting the protected halls of Facebook for the more public (and confusing) Buzz arena. But it's also likely that some of them might like to post to both. By ignoring them, Google could be losing some potential users.

Conclusions

What's best about Buzz right now is how it puts a lot of things into one place. It could eventually turn into an extension of Google Reader, or rather, its opposite: Instead of syndicating content from the world at large, you're syndicating your own content stream for others.

This is valuable, especially since Google has a slew of disparate services -- both its own homebrew products and applications acquired from others -- which could be tied together more elegantly. Buzz might well be a way to do that.

The problem, again, is the implementation. Buzz feels a lot like Google Wave -- a few great ideas, all of them looking for a better way to be delivered.

I hope Google isn't burning up an unsustainable amount of its user base's goodwill through experiments like these. If you'd rather wait until Google gets another iteration of Buzz together, click on the "turn off Buzz" link at the bottom of your Gmail page, and stay tuned for more buzz on Buzz.

Followers and profiles on Google Buzz.

Serdar Yegulalp has been writing about computers and information technology for over 15 years for a variety of publications, including InformationWeek and Windows Magazine.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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