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Google Rolls Out New Buzz Features: But Why These?



Yesterday, Google announced five little tweaks to Buzz. While they’re certain to please active users, they do little to address some of the issues Buzz has faced.

To be fair, Google has tried to address the major privacy concerns after Buzz’s initial (rushed) launch. Probably most important is the note that buried in your Gmail settings is the Buzz tab where you can disable the service if you’re not interested.

Probably the two most useful new features are a yellow bar to denote new items from the last time you checked your Buzz, and a way to keep your Gmail chat status from appearing in Buzz (putting it in parentheses. Obviously I love the parens, but in a chat status it’s kinda ugly, actually.).

The other changes are that you can post to Buzz through email (nice for active users, I’m sure), link to posts (though you’ll still need the correct permissions to view Buzz posts) and follow the Google Buzz team. Let’s admit it—that last one is just a little silly, eh?

When it comes to Buzz, I’m not interested. I’d like to be interested, really I would, but the signal to noise ratio is still too low. (And I still hate seeing things my friends recommended on Google Reader on Buzz, too. And for that matter, stories I’ve already read in Google Reader’s Recommended items.)

I’m not the only one. Plenty of more active users are looking for a way to refine the types of stories they see in their feeds. Of course, it’s not Google’s fault your friends are useless, but it is Google’s fault that you have to be reminded of it constantly. ;)

What do you think? Do you find Buzz useful? What would it take to make you feel safe and make it useful for you?