Thursday, September 09, 2010

Still on the fence with Google Buzz

First, I must make a confession: I have a fear of missing out on important information. If somebody said something that people are talking about in my realms of interest, I want to know, even if it doesn't affect me in the least. As a result, I read all my email, all my tweets, and all my Google Reader headlines. I also listen to at least the beginning of all my podcast subscriptions.

I keep these subscriptions at manageable levels, so that I can read them all. If I'm getting email spam and I can't easily unsubscribe, I filter it. I desperately want filtering in Google Reader and Google Buzz.

My Buzz stream is mostly noise

With a few exceptions, the people I know on Buzz are geeky acquaintances who chat with each other about video games, iPhones, and scifi tv/movies/comics, all topics of which I would prefer to live in ignorance. But because 1 in 10 of their posts are interesting to me, I keep following them. (They probably feel the same way about me.)

I know I can mute conversations, and I do that, but not as much as I should. Also, it's a hassle to have to read a headline, decide it's boring, and then mute it. Google should do that for me.

Here are the filters I want:

  • If a Buzz mentions the words "Wil Wheaton" "Doctor Who" "Xbox" "The Guild" "Dark Tower" or "X-Men", delete it.

  • If a Buzz title includes "iOS" "iPhone" or "Android", delete it.

Then make it easy to add topics to these lists. See, I don't know all the video game jargon they do, I just know I don't want to see it. Google's filter algorithm should learn that if I don't want to hear about the latest Xbox hullabaloo, I probably also don't care about Wii or Playstation.

How Google Reader fits in

Buzz and Reader are intimately linked in ways I don't completely understand. My friends/follow lists are similar, but not identical. I have Buzz set to display my Google Reader shared items, and when someone comments on it in Buzz, the comment shows up in Google Reader. Nice! But when someone posts something directly to Buzz, it doesn't show up in Reader. WTF?

As a result, I have to have BOTH on to get all the information. And as I mentioned, I fear missing out on information. So I have Buzz on, and I read GReader, and I often see the same posts repeated. Waste! And neither app has filtering!

How Google should fix this

  1. Add filters as described above in both Buzz and Reader.

  2. Make use of the tags in Google Reader, allow filters based on tags.

  3. Fully integrate Buzz and Reader so that I at least have the option to see everything posted in Buzz through Reader, and vice versa. (That way, people who prefer one interface over the other have that option.)

  4. Make Buzz prettier so that my nongeeky friends want to use it instead of Facebook. Seriously.


  1. Oh my head!!! I could NOT handle listening to people talk online. I check twitter, facebook, my e-mail and my blog. I don't want them to be combined because I don't want most people who are on my facebook to know about my twitter. lol

  2. It sounds like you already listen to people talking online (Twitter, FB), but you have to go to those sites separately to check them. What if you could check both of those in one place, with your email, and still keep those groups of people separate, and maintain public/private borders?