Thursday, February 11, 2010

Picking a bone with google buzz

Love it or hate it; people are using Google buzz... mainly because they don't have a choice (or are not aware of it). For the record, I like it, but mainly because I'm an egotist..
Google came up with Google wave couple of moons ago. Even though based on a solid concept, it failed to generate any traction because people were not really interested.. well they might be interested, but if they are anything like me.. they were mostly lazy and didn't want to build up a circle they can wave with separately. I've tried couple of social networking sites; hi5, 360, orkut, facebook.. they only cater to the people who are interested in social networking, and even if something new came along, which is much better than say facebook, people won't switch because all their contacts are still on facebook.Google seem to acknowledge this fact.

Google has employed gazillion PhDs, but what a waste it would be to not have the products they designed be used by the public. Gmail user base is waay bigger than facebook's, so it makes sense to pork down the products down the existing user's throats... whether they want it or not. They might add a disable button once the media hullabaloo dies down and stupid bloggers stop blogging about it :P. Although the strategy is nothing short of genius, it is somewhat similar to forced labour. The end user is forced to beta test their products, whether they want to or not. (In Google's defense,  they own you because you use their awesome free email service).

Another issue the GBuzz exacerbates is "parallel posts" (a term I just made up). To get more visibility, people typically plug their contents on various websites (facebook, Buzz, twitter etc). When I post my pictures on flickr, they are pulled by Buzz and facebook automatically, and sometimes I post links to them on twitter too. People leave comments for the same content on flickr, twitter, facebook and Buzz; I have to follow 4 threads of conversation, which is more or less redundant. Same issue with my tweets that are pulled by Buzz, Orkut and facebook. All these websites have their own API, why don't they use the api's of the other websites to post back the comments to the original source (more work but better for the users).

People have been shouting about privacy issues in GBuzz (and for that matter in any famous webapp).. here's the truth, if you care about privacy, don't log in... and nobody really cares what you do in your basement. You can always disable your profile, filter "label: Buzz" directly to your trash/archives if you don't want GBuzz..

That been said, Google, if you are listening, here are few feature requests:
  1. Some sort of a RBAC (Role based access control), at the very least let me separate my contacts into groups and make my buzzes public to only the group I choose. I want to discuss my weekend at Vegas with ONLY my friends and my cousin's report card with ONLY my family.
  2. The buzz page is a mess right now, I have no idea which buzzes are new and which are old and which are the old buzzes with new comments. Some sort of color coding would be great.
  3. Add a Gbuzz pane to the bottom of Inbox and have the buzz notification skip the inbox by default.
  4. Integrate twitter/blogger/wave/facebook/orkut/flickr api so that the comments on the original site and buzz are always synchronized.
  5. Send me that Nexus 2 you've been working on.
You know what Google, even if you choose to ignore these requests/gripes, I think you are gonna be alright.. don't worry.. the force will always be with you.

1 comment:

  1. There's a 'Turn Off' link at the bottom, next to the 'Disable chat' link. It took a while to discover, but I got rid of it right away :)