With Google Buzz, users have found their inboxes converted instantaneously into a social hub. Google’s bold move has turned the web into a whirlwind of blog posts appraising or criticizing the service.
I will leave that part out of this post, as I feel it’s not really fair to evaluate a service that has two days of life, but rather will concentrate on some of the ways you can maximize the use of Buzz if you want to give it a try.
Hide your following/followers
So I agree it is not a good thing to show to the world the contact info and email (Google profiles are generated from your Gmail account). Because Buzz is not centered on follower numbers (like Twitter is) you should definitely and first of all hide that information.
The way to do that is by editing your Google profile and checking off the option “Display the list of people I’m following and people following me”.
That way anyone visiting your profile won’t be able to see your contact cloud and you can be safe they won’t get spammed because of you.
Keyboard shortcuts are your friends
Using Buzz with your mouse (or touchpad) can be a pain, as posts can be short or long based on the number of comments they have and embedded media.
If you are a Google Reader power user, you already know about the keyboard shortcuts there. You’ll be happy to know that they too work on Buzz.
First, you need to enable keyboard shortcuts on Gmail. Just go to the Gmail settings page and enable keyboard shortcuts.
These are the two keyboard shortcuts I use the most: “n” and “p” allow you to move to the next and previous buzzes. You will see a little arrow on the left top side of the buzz to let you know which one is selected. That way you can navigate through the buzzes fairly quickly.
The second one is the “m” key, which mutes a buzz. That way, if you are not interested in the comments or activity of a buzz, you just mute it and it will be forever archived, unclogging the good stuff you do want to follow. I also believe by muting buzzes, Google’s system can start to learn what’s interesting to you and what isn’t (although that’s more of a hunch than a statement, maybe someone from Google can confirm that).
Don’t import echoes
One thing that gets really annoying is echoes of content from the same source. For example, if you are importing your Google Reader items to Twitter and you are also importing Twitter to Google Buzz, users will see your shared Google Reader items twice. Same goes for FriendFeed (it’s usually a safe bet to not import FriendFeed into Buzz, unless you’re just posting original content there). Just make sure you’re bringing the good stuff just once to your buzz community.
Post from email
A really cool feature that Buzz offers from the get-go is email posting. Just email to email@example.com from your Gmail account (either web or mobile) and the Subject of your email becomes the title of a new buzz. You can also attach a picture file and it will be added to your buzz.
You can also fine tune who sees those email posts, by going to your “Connected Services” page (just make sure you’ve posted at least one buzz email) and select which group sees those.
Filters are your friends
There are some cool things you can do with filters, both in Gmail as well as in the Buzz search areas.
As indicated by Lifehacker’s Adam Pash, you can have buzzes skip your inbox, so that you’re not distracted by those notification emails.
However, I changed it a bit, because I wanted two labels: one with the buzzes I had participated in and another where I had activity of buzzes I started.
For the first one, I did created a “Buzzes” label, doing a “-From:Jorge Escobar” (notice the minus sign on the front of the name) on the To: and “label:buzz”.
For the second one, I created a label called “My Buzzes”, where I put the “From:Jorge Escobar” and the “label:buzz”. This mimics a little bit the FriendFeed “My Discussions” page.
Another cool tip I learned from my friend Stefan Svartling is the filtering by services. For example, on your Buzz Search input, you can type “jungleg -twitter” and it will show all of my buzzes excluding the Twitter posts. You can filter other services like flickr, picasa, etc. Maybe someone can post a link to what all the services names are.
I am excited of what comes down the road with Google Buzz and I’d love to hear other tips you find out as you discover the service.
Remember to connect with me using my Google Profile.