Special Google Buzz rant edition

Google Buzz came to my Gmail account yesterday.

I am beyond angry with Google right now, as well as with the other developers of social networks who seem obsessed with recreating their own smug worlds of urban white male 20somethings geotagging their coffee bars.

Vaguely coherent reasons for hatred:

1. Appalling usability – options and their effects are completely unclear; the actual interface is not intuitive; and when I logged on this morning, I found that Buzz updates arrive in my Gmail inbox as well as the Buzz one. That’s not going to fly.

2. An apparent inability to consider privacy issues. Others have been far more lucid on this one, but in particular whatever you put in your left-for-dead Google Profile will now bite you in the bum, because your default ‘followers list’ may well be publicly visible until you edit it.

3. By putting a social network in email, Google Buzz crashes the barriers that many of us put up between public and private, work and personal, and indeed private and private.   My social and business worlds consist of many overlapping circles.  People in one circle may have very little in common with those in another.  Right now, I’m happy to manage this network-by-network.  I’m broadly aware of my audience on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.  I don’t want a mixed-up audience: even if it works, it tends to result in blandness rather than increased connection, for one thing.

4. Geotagging is the Devil’s minibar (Mobile Buzz only)

Seriously.  I don’t care how much you all bloody love it, it’s horrible, it’s completely sodding creepy and it is BEYOND DULL.  YES FOURSQUARE USERS I AM LOOKING AT YOU.

‘Oooh, look at me I am in a bar in Chicago and I’m wondering which happening new club to go to next, perhaps the internet can help me?’


NB You may attribute this to the bitterness of a mother-of-two who Doesn’t Get Out much, but still. Rawrrrr.

(No, it’s still creepy. Maybe – maybe if you are very young and you want to know where all your friends are RIGHT NOW this instant on the way to the cool bar, but even then I can see this advantage fading rapidly.  And anyway, can anything really beat the sheer user experience  the simplicity and joy –  of standing around in the cold barking into your mobile ‘I’m outside Holborn tube! Where are you?’)

4a. Thing is, I adore the Internet. But I would love for developers to stop spending their entires lives devising crap stuff to market to people just like themThe future is in figuring out what people not like you might conceivably want.   Facebook, for all its myriad faults, actually turns out to be one of those things.

5. I would occasionally like to get some f%&cking work done.

No, really.  There is only so much Social I can really take, and I’m at the limit here.   I may not be alone.  See all those Twitter updates which cross-post to Facebook? People are cheating on you.

I love my friends, my acquaintances and indeed many of those I work with; but I don’t especially want to talk to them any more than I already do.  Too. much. information.

5 Responses

  1. Thankfully, you can banish the buzz updates from showing up all mingled in with your inbox. Instructions here: http://lifehacker.com/5468067/hideremove-google-buzz-updates-from-your-gmail-inbox

    Also, if you don’t want Buzz, you can turn it off entirely at the bottom of your e-mail box. I haven’t minded it quite so much now that they’re not popping into my inbox, but I still may turn it off entirely sooner than later.

  2. Thanks, yes, I saw that. To be honest, I wanted to play with a bit, but I really didn’t like what I saw at set-up.

    I do use Google Chat very occasionally, but so far the Buzz updating feels like a very odd and intrusive link with my email account.

  3. Well said. I’m off to turn it off completely now…

  4. Actually, to get rid of Buzz, you have to delete your google profile, Disabling Buzz simply removes it from your mailbox but does not take you – and your personal info – out of the buzz network.

    How’s that for privacy …

  5. Sorry to double post but have now learned that even deleting your Google Profile does not actually remove Buzz – you need to also turn Buzz back on on your Gmail page, go in and remove the connected links and followers that are already set there (and even though I did nothing to request Buzz and had disabled it and removed my profile, I still had three followers and two I was “following” as well as Picasa and Reader connected to my account when I went back into it!) and then disable once again.

    Do I trust this to actually remove Buzz … nope. Seems like a good time to remove Gmail etc from my life.

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