As you have probably heard by now, Google’s latest product is an entrant into the social media arena: Buzz.

I have to admit, Buzz came in a little under my radar.  Usually, I’m pretty good at these sorts of things, tracking rumors, discussing potential functionality and impacts, and having a pretty good idea of how something might work before it’s released.  Buzz came on totally out of nowhere.

One day I heard a rumor about a new entrant into the social networking fray from Google, the next day there’s a Buzz link in my inbox.  Where’d that come from?  Had Google adopted Apple-like security tactics?

And now – one week later – I’ve removed Buzz from my life and will not go back unless major changes take place.  Let me give you a little run-down about why Buzz bugged me out.

  1. Auto-share. The reason I blog and tweet, as opposed to joining Facebook, is that I prefer to do social media on my own terms.  This means sharing only what I write, and sharing it only when I want to share it.  With Buzz’s auto-share functionality, I’m already following about 30 people (only 10 of which would I want to), and they’re automatically following me.  I’m all for building a reader-base, but not like this.  Give me a choice, Google, don’t just throw me into something out of the blue.
  2. Lack of integration with Twitter.  Before you shout me down with the fact that Buzz does, in fact, integrate with Twitter, my problem is that it’s a one-way street.  Buzz pulled my own tweets into Buzz, and that was it.  That’s not what I want.  In fact, that’s about the last thing that I want.  I know what I wrote.  I wrote it!  If Buzz could pull in my entire Twitter timeline, including @ messages, and let me respond from within my GMail inbox, then we’d be talking.   Until then, however, no go.
  3. Inbox confusion.  Touted as a “feature” (as so many of these things often are) new Buzzes and comments would appear in my inbox like new emails.  I live and die by my inbox, and don’t appreciate things popping in there that are not emails.  I know Buzz is there, and will click on it when I feel like it.  Don’t trick me into clicking over because it looks like an email.  Be patient!
  4. Google Reader Overlap. Buzz also tried to integrate with Google Reader (another service I use frequently and am quite familiar with – even like!).  The problem was that Buzz did a poor job of knowing what was read and what wasn’t, and I would end up seeing articles in my Buzz that I’d already read in Reader, and vice-versa.  I don’t have time to read things twice, Google, so get it straight.

Finally, after enough fiddling, I realized that settings could not overcome Buzz’s shortfalls, and decided to remove myself from Buzz’s vice.  If you’d like to, you can use the same instructions I did at this link.  It seems to have worked well for me, and unless Buzz can live on like some sort of undead social-networking zombie nightmare, I don’t think I’ll be going back.

Better luck next time, Google.  But don’t worry, I’ll still stick with Gmail and Reader.  Just the Buzz-free versions.