I am a Google Gal to the core. I love *most* things Google. Needless to say, I was excited when I heard about the possibilities of Google Buzz, the new micro-blogging tool to come from Google HQ. In the weeks leading up to its launch the rumor on the street was that Google Buzz could kill Facebook and Twitter and gain top-level market share very quickly. Kill Facebook and Twitter? Wow. That’s big news in my little geek world.
At first glance Buzz looks and feels like FriendFeed, another micro-blogging tool recently acquired by Facebook. From what I can tell so far, the best parts of Buzz are that I am not held to 140 characters, I can upload a photo directly on my Buzz page, I am able to add links without requiring the use of a URL shortener and my followers’ comments on a post are attached to that post and displayed underneath. I can also “like” a post.
By highlighting these strengths in Buzz I know it sounds as if I am bashing twitter. Okay, the character thing is what makes twitter. I get that part. But twitter also needs a ton of upgrades on the user experience side of things – as can be seen just in the number of third party apps that are out there to make the experience better.
Getting back to Buzz, though, I can already tell after a few weeks that there are a few things I don’t love. First of all, it displays within my Gmail window. The “Buzz” link is directly below my Inbox link – that’s valuable real estate on my screen. And Buzz is very slow. I believe it has also slowed my Gmail down considerably. Given how much I use Gmail and the limited amount of time I have to tame my inbox having a slow connection because of Buzz is maddening.
Also, Buzz is attached to my Google Profile, but I can’t actually update Buzz from my profile. A strange move there from the folks at Google. Above all else, however, my biggest issue with Buzz is that I can’t turn it off without DELETING my entire Google Profile. I can take Buzz updates out of my Gmail, but I can’t get rid of it entirely without deleting my profile. Wow.
Don’t get me wrong; I am really trying to give Google Buzz the trial period it deserves. Perhaps I’ll hear success stories from some of you that change my opinion, because I really was hoping for a micro-blogging tool that took the best elements from FriendFeed and Twitter and combined them into something truly Google-tastic. I want to love Buzz, but so far we barely past the friend stage.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Willow Grove, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.