Google Buzz has been around for a couple of days now, and it clearly has both it supporters and detractors. The biggest complaint that has come up from the beginning is the issue of privacy. When Google Buzz first started all your contacts who were listed in your Google profile became public by default, this was clearly a mistake on Google’s part which they have since fixed. I was watching This Week in Google and several members of the panel had worked on the project. They said it had been used internally for about a year and the privacy problem never came up, it was something that was just missed. This is of course one of the problem with test that are run internally. You can miss problems because internal company cultures are different than the real world. I think that Google responded to the issue well, although clearly they should have seen the problem upfront. They have moved from an auto follow list to a suggested list, this list will come up when you first join Buzz. Once you decide who you want to follow, then you need to decide what sites if any you want to connect to Google Buzz. The sites that are offered are the sites that you have connected to your Google Profile.
Once you have everything set up then the flow of informations comes in. Actually depending on who you follow the flow can become a flood, which is another thing that people don’t like. Fortunately most people who receive a lot of complaints about the influx of their post in to Google Buzz, will adjust the flow by removing the site from their connected sites. Hopefully Google will soon have a way to create groups and better filters. Right now if I don’t want to read someone twitter post, I have to block them entirely, there is no way to block just their twitter post. The third biggest complaint is the fact you can’t collapse comments. This especially becomes a problem when a post has multiple comments, for example the recent TWIG conversation had over 500 comments. Being able to collapse comments is a must addition, that hopefully Google is working on. You actually can collapse comments on the mobile version, so it shouldn’t be that hard to implement. The fourth problem is the lack of documentation on how to do things. Fortunately a lot of how to post and videos are now being written and uploaded, but Google should have written some up front.
Despite these problems I really like Google Buzz, it reminds me a lot of Friendfeed, which I also like. I also like the fact that Google responded to the privacy issue quickly once it was reported. It would have been nice if they had thought of it before hand, but considering the circumstances I thought they handled it well. The detractors need to remember that the product has been out less then a week, a lot of their complaints will probably be answer with updates. I think it has some real potential. Do I think it will be as popular as Twitter, maybe not, but it is a much better place for a conversation.