Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Point of Buzz

Despite being recognized for its merits by some, Google Buzz is still reviled for its past privacy blunders. This is particularly sad considering how far Google has come towards a more sensitive deployment process: these days all updates across their platform (not only Buzz), even the most innocent Blogger plugins, are strictly opt-in. Contrast this to Facebook's erratic approach, and Buzz rejection on a security basis becomes increasingly unjustifiable.

From the days Twitter was just a nice little app in search of a relevant problem to solve, to the time they simply stopped looking and surrendered themselves to pointless babble, I have been trying to understand the point of microblogging. Until Buzz was launched I couldn't think of a single reason to use that kind of service, but now I'm completely hooked to it. How did that happen?

1. It's there, damnit

Can't deny it: I started using Buzz because it was shoved into my Gmail account, so what the Hell, might as well give it a try. Of course it has strengths other than that, or I'd never keep using it; but being so close at hand continues to be one main reason why I keep coming back.

2. Microblogging for non-ADHD's

Sure, you can post one-liners to Buzz; once in a while I do just that myself. But what I love the most about the service is how it stretches the concept of microblogging to a point where it actually starts to become useful. With no arbitrary post length limits, basic text formatting (you can do paragraphs, as well as italics and bold text) and the option to attach images both local and from the web, Buzz is not that far away from a fully-featured blogging tool.

3. Blogging at the speed of thought

For all its comparative power, Buzz remains remarkably simple to use. I have been writing posts one way or another ever since the later days of the BBS; but when it comes to regular updates, I always have and still do suck big time. Usually when I start a blog I will keep a steady pace for a couple weeks, then completely forget about it for the next six months. But Buzz has closed the gap between post ideas and writing, to the point I notice that, wasn't for its extreme convenience, many a post wouldn't have ever seen the light of day.

To be fair, it's not all good. Finding Buzzes relevant to my interests continues to be surprisingly difficult, as people I know through Gmail either never post, or write about stuff I don't care about, and I end up unfollowing them. Tags, lists or some other way to categorize posts remains a necessity; and I still want to know why, all of a sudden, I can't edit my older posts (although they remain visible from my public profile, I can't see them on Gmail's Buzz page). However, all in all Buzz is a very good service, which makes it all the more of a shame that so many people have simply hooked their Buzz accounts to Twitter and never looked back.

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