Google Buzz pretty much came out of nowhere and nobody has stopped talking about it since. Even people that have nothing to do with the tech world noticed that new link in their Gmail sidebar. Whether you’re already using Buzz or you’re not sure what to do with it, here are a few tips to make your experience a little better.
1. Get It Out of Your Inbox
Being a productivity nut, I can’t stand to have email in my inbox. It either needs to be moved off to a tasklist somewhere, acted on immediately, or trashed. Bottom line is, my inbox needs to remain at zero at all times. Buzz runs opposite to this, dropping every notification directly into your inbox. It’s similar to Facebook’s email notifications, where every single comment on anything you’ve even glanced at shows up in your email.
To turn these notifications off, you’ll need to create a Gmail filter. In the “Has Words” area, put “label:buzz” and it will catch all of these buzz notifications. In the next step, you can choose to simply Skip The Inbox and archive them all, or assign them to a label.
2. Hide Your Friends List
Many were afraid for their privacy because Google allowed people to see their friends list. I’m not really sure why as any other social networking site does the same, but many bloggers probably got some decent traffic out of the whole deal. The bottom line is, if you are worried about people seeing who you may or may not have ever emailed, you might want to hide your friends list on your profile. To do this:
- Go to your Google profile, which is located at http://www.google.com/profiles/me
- Click Edit Profile on your top right
- Uncheck the box that says “Display the list of people I’m following and people following me”
3. Share Any Website On Buzz
Doesn’t appear that Buzz has an official bookmarklet at this time, so that makes it pretty hard to share whatever you’re looking at to Buzz. The easiest way around this is to simply share the page you’re looking at via Google Reader, which automatically shows up in Buzz. You can even include a note to go along with your share. Get the Note In Reader bookmarklet by visiting Google Reader and click on People You Follow. Don’t forget that you can always just cut/paste any URL into Buzz, but that’s nowhere near as quick.
4. Keyboard Shortcuts
Buzz has keyboard shortcuts built-in just like most other Google products. The difference here is that you’re pretty much working off of a subset of the standard Gmail shortcuts. To turn on keyboard shortcuts, visit your Settings page in Gmail. After that, you can always hit ‘?’ to see them all. The primary ones I use are j/k to move forward and backward between threads, ‘r’ to comment on something, ‘m’ to mute/hide a conversation that won’t go away, and “<shift>+l” to Like a post.
5. Private/Direct Messages
Buzz comes with this feature out the box. Simply prefix a user’s name with the familiar ‘@’ symbol and Buzz will auto-complete from your contacts, the same as it works on Facebook. There is a problem with the way it works, though. Buzz wants you to send private messages to a group by default, so if you’re just trying to send a private message to an individual, you’ll need to create a new group with nobody in it.
There are a plethora of other hints and tips for tweaking Buzz. Wayne Sutton has collected 11 Must Read Google Buzz Posts for us, including how to send Buzz posts to Twitter. Also, check out The Unofficial Buzz Guide, and Google Buzz Tips.