Google Buzz: initial reactions

│ Updated:

- A few immediate thoughts -

I have just installed Google Buzz (buzz.google.com), touted as Google’s response to Facebook and Twitter. It combines the features of social networking site and status updates within the structure of Gmail. I tend to compartmentalize what I do on the net. For that reason, a part of me wants to keep Gmail for e-mail and chat only. However, this is a typical knee-jerk response on my part. With more time, I will probably become more used to it.

At the moment, there is a limited number of sites that can be connected to Buzz. There are various settings so it’s possible to be quite exact about which pieces of information to share with whom. This is good, but at the same time makes it a little complicated. Naturally, one possible solution is to make Buzz public, but I’d hesitate to do so, since my contacts range from family to friends to acquaintances, and I wouldn’t like to share everything with everyone.

I can foresee myself using this function to share photographs among friends, but used it quite restrictively. Would I integrate everything into this function? The answer is: probably no. I’m almost inactive on Facebook, and I use Twitter primarily to post blog updates. So if I were to connect my Twitter account, then that will take care of updates for both Facebook and Google Buzz.

There is one thing that I’d like to see addressed. I think there should be an option to use Buzz without having to use my real name on the public Google profile. There are two reasons for this. The first is that I don’t necessarily want everyone to know my real name for my online activities. I participate in some Google forums that can become a little heated, and I don’t feel comfortable about putting my name there. The second is that there is an established user ID / name (wasaweb), that I have used across many different services, and I don’t want to see that disrupted. Perhaps I’m paranoid, but I’d really like too see a choice not to dipslay my real name without changing all the user names for Google services.*

There is still a rebel in me. A rebel against the increased and permanent connectedness, where we seem to know virtually what everyone else is doing. Perhaps I should write a tweet on this point.