social media toolsGoogle Buzz is important, not because it’s the next big thing, but because it’s from Google and is bolted onto one of the world’s biggest email services, Google’s Gmail.

When a service launches with millions of users right out of the gate, we need to take notice. That said, it’s still the early days for Google Buzz. It might be a bit premature to be jumping on this bandwagon with both feet. So what should you do?

In this article I’ll reveal what you need to know about Google Buzz.

The good news is Google Buzz is not particularly complicated or new. Google has used the most basic features from other popular platforms: friends and status updates.

You can post short messages, comment and “like” other people’s messages, plus share links and photographs. All familiar stuff. Your initial friends will be from your Gmail address book and you can find other people with the usual searches for email address and name.

Here’s Google’s launch video for Google Buzz:

What follows are the basic facts and tips so you “know enough” not to get left behind, but not so much that you need to spend the next week learning yet another social networking service!

#1: Got Gmail? You Have Google Buzz

If you have an existing Gmail account, you’re likely either all ready to go or about to be. Google Apps email users are still waiting, unfortunately.

Luckily for me I already had a Gmail account from a while ago that was still working. To get started, you’re going to need that Gmail account, even if you only want it for Buzz.

#2: Get Your Personal Profile

It seems that Google Profiles will be more important going forward.  Profiles is the other service that’s heavily tied into Buzz. You can find mine and fill out your own here.

#3: If You Use Facebook, Buzz Will Be Familiar

As mentioned above, it’s very much like FriendFeed and Facebook.

You add status update messages, links and photographs, and people can comment on them or “like” them. You can comment and like other folks’ stuff in return. It’s all very easy.

#4: Import Your Other Social Sites

In addition to posting links and messages, you can import your blog posts and photographs. You can even import your tweets.

That’s how I find most people are using the service right now. They’re importing their other stuff and spending just a few minutes in conversation and so on, while still dedicating most of their time to Twitter and Facebook.

#5: Listen and Friend First

While you can import all your other content, it might be worth holding off.

Add your friends, browse around and get familiar with the service before rushing headlong into importing all your stuff. Some people are already unfollowing “noisy” people.

It’s going to be a while before the “rules” of this community are ironed out. The best use you can make of it right now is connecting, conversation, and finding cool content.

Interestingly, while most excitement is about Google SEO and sharing content, a lot of people are complaining that conversation threads are moving off blogs and Twitter into Buzz, which makes it a whole new important place to listen to what people are saying.

What I Like About Google Buzz…

  1. Buzz is lending itself to real in-depth conversation threads (like in FriendFeed), rather than fleeting but snappy chats like in Twitter.
  2. Better signal-to-noise ratio. So far it is growing like Facebook without the “Farmville” rubbish.
  3. It’s all very familiar … but does that mean Google has no innovation in Buzz?

So far those three items do not add up to a hugely compelling reason to make this your primary social tool, but it is worth a look.

What do you think about Google Buzz so far? Please share in the comments field below…

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  • therobbrennan

    I wanted to give Google Buzz the benefit of the doubt, but I can say after my own experience with it I am not impressed. Maybe it was too early to be shared (I know released is not the right word; this thing could be in alpha/beta stages for the next twenty years if it’s not a success) but this was absolutely one of the worst user experiences I’ve ever dealt with. I really thought there may be potential; but it just was not up to par.

    I did write about this on my blog as well – – but I think Buzz has a looooooooooong way to go before it’s even a remote contender in the social media space.

  • I’m a pretty avid Facebook user (not so much Twitter), but I love Buzz. I live in Gmail so it’s incredibly easy for me to keep up with conversations. Also, because my followers are limited to people I email with rather than all of the random people I’m friends with on Facebook, I don’t feel like I have to censor what I’m saying with the worries that someone I don’t really know is reading my conversation. I know you can use privacy settings in Facebook but it’s a pain to manage, Buzz is great because it’s so simple. No games, no walls, no extra inbox to keep track of, etc. I still use Facebook daily, but I’ve actually found that my interactions on Buzz are way different than on Facebook, kind’ve like a chatroom I can share with all of my friends.

  • ralphcarlson

    I have set up a buzz account but so for don’t know what to do with it. This helps.

  • chrisgarrett

    Yeah, it seems Google doesn’t always have user experience in mind with these things but they do have the clout to make even less than stellar releases important?

  • When Buzz first came out I posted my first impressions on the Atomicdust blog- and to be honest, my opinion hasn’t changed much.

    So far, Buzz isn’t offering any unique advantage that I don’t already get from other social networks. The fact that most poeple just sync it up with their other accounts (Twitter, Flickr, etc.) means that it isn’t providing me with any new information. I already see that exact same stuff in their Twitter feeds or Facebook pages or LinkedIn accounts or whereever.

    It’s really important not to just be better, but to be different (inspired sentiment from @marketingmary’s blog So far, it seems like Buzz is just another version of a tool we already have. It is different. It is unique. Unless I’m missing something… if so, please filll me in!

  • chrisgarrett

    A lot of the big buzz fans I have noticed are big gmail fans too 🙂

  • chrisgarrett

    Glad to be of service 😀

  • I’ve been using Buzz rather sporadically. I dip in every now and then and scan what’s immediately happening. At first I hooked up my twitter account but then realize it really was too noisy so I disabled that and find that I prefer not seeing twitter updates in Buzz. However, I do appreciate seeing blog posts, videos and photos since I may miss those on other sites.

    Thanks for the primer, Chris, clear and articulate as always.

  • Hey Chris G…is this your first article for SME? Love your other stuff…welcome 🙂

    Buzz is weird…I did already un-follow chatty people, so you are right on the money there…another commenter stated that it doesnt offer anything beyond FB/Twitter…and again I must agree…

    I guess I dont have anything earth shattering to contribute to the conversation, I just wanted to say welcome to SME brother….keep up the good work.

  • Hey Dino,

    Chris has written a lot for SME.


  • Thnx Mike….never noticed it before…who needs to pay closer attention? Meeee lol

  • For me, the jury is still out on Buzz. There are definitely aspects I like – the in-depth threaded conversations are definitely useful. However, I think that my list of “cons” is much longer. For instance, posts are not in chronological order, posts keep re-appearing after you “mute” them, the Twitter posts show up on Buzz HOURS after you originally posted them, and the list goes on.

    I certainly think that Buzz has potential. It could be a great avenue for more meaningful conversations and debate (much like blog comments do). However, I think it needs additional tweaks to get my attention. Right now, I don’t think there are enough benefits for me to spend any time on it.

  • In short: I don’t like it.


    This has more to do with my lack of time at the moment, and resenting having it’s shiny little button winking at me in gmail. With all my friends hanging out and having fun…

    I better get with the program.

  • daveblack

    I think the Buzz is pretty practical and easy to go with. Just one more channel to deliver content on the list and strength your brand around your niche market. I´ll take your advices of going slowly with it before submitting all my content on it as well as my twitter feed and even more.

    Regarding small business owners, you can place your questions on in case you need some help for managing your Buzz strategy.

  • After the initial launch of Buzz I wrote a post on why I think Buzz will fail: my opinions haven’t changed. I really tried to like Buzz at first but after using it I don’t like the fact it’s tied to my Gmail account and it doesn’t add anything new or innovative to the scene.

  • natashaattal

    Great info. If you want more on Google buzz you can take a look at this new blog that focuses on the new network. I recently wrote an article about how small business can use Buzz effectively.

  • the most recent discussion in my Buzz account is a friend talking about the Oscars. i have never seen a social network end up as stale as this! as much as i love the google products, i give this a big thumbs down.

  • whistlerheather

    Interesting… my new web site with wordpress is whistlerbuzz…. I can up with that from a girl in Gold River BC who has a site Goldriverbuzz she has been posting for 2 years now… I just signed up for the BUZZ – although like your previous comments it was attached to my e-mail about a week or so ago… Have not decided yet if I’ll use it much – just getting going with Twitter/Facebook … enough aready… I know keep up little sister
    Cheers and thank you for the great articles always..

  • Guest

    “When a service launches with millions of users right out of the gate, we need to take notice.”

    I don’t understand how this is true… Google just added Buzz to all of there Gmail accounts. That isn’t users opting into the service. And then I kind of feel it is a fake representation when Google is like “look at all the users we have”. Services like Facebook and Twitter people had to come along and sign up to become apart of those platforms. So to me that is something to take notice to.

    For me Buzz has just been another procrastination point in my day… something else to check. Thanks for the article. It is a good basic introduction but the verdict is still out for me on if Google Buzz is going to do anything for me or if I am going to include it in my daily routine.

  • The “Buzz” has kind of worn off on me. I’m an avid gmail user and I haven’t checked my Buzz account in weeks. I have my Twitter account imported so I have a presence there but I guess I’m more sold on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and my blog.

  • I’d definitely be using this if I was a long-time Gmail user. I’ve never used it and therefore don’t have a friend base. As for the company I work for, it doesn’t work for us for the same reason, plus our target (moms) don’t seem to be caring about it.

    Thanks for this post! It opened my eyes a bit.

  • I’m a serious Twitter addict that has been infected with a bad case of Buzz. This morning I found myself opening Buzz before I checked Twitter!

    I like the enhanced interaction and Buzz is slowly becoming part of my everyday routine. Thanks for these tips!

  • Erken

    I guess, as stated in #1, that the main force of Buzz is the fact that it is built in Gmail : We all have it without having to subscribe to anything, but as for the features, well…nothing more than what fb/twitter will get you. Let’s wait and see what the Google Team will find to improve its competitive edge!

  • I have wrote too many posts about Buzz last month but now I feel that because of Goggle Buzz team’s late updates and too many spammers occupying the place, buzz is getting disappear in the cloud of confusion. It’s been more than a week I didn’t updated anything on buzz manually. Yes, I love to be involve in discussions but I hardly find time to talk on anything other than social media. I saw Buzz is doing good for specific group of people who love doing debate on social and international issues, history and politics.

  • For me, Google Buzz is a bust. What really pissed me off to begin with is that they enabled this for EVERYONE right out of the gate — including my CHILDREN who now were suddenly on a social media network that I felt I had no control over, much less understanding! It was several days before I could figure out how to completely disable it on their accounts — and I’ve disabled it for myself as well. I may change my mind (always reserve that right!) but for now, a big thumbs down.

  • I agree with whitney as to me, Buzz is a new option. It may not be like the others, but that could be its massive potential – Gmail devotees. When there’s a risk, there’s an opportunity. Google may have blew it for an abrupt launch, but I’m gradually discovering some benefits that I overlooked along the process. I’m not given up on Buzz just yet, especially when there’s a group of audience that I plan to target. 🙂

    But I would love to have more control over the updates, an interface that allows customization of contacts/ updates. I think I’m spoiled by Tweetdeck, really. ha..

    Brilliant post, as always.

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • I landed here from the buzz that ching ya just posted, so I suppose it works for me. I am not a heavy user but only time will tell.

  • Thanks for the info, Chris. I haven’t tried out Buzz yet…been curious to check it out. Some clients have been asking me about it as well.

  • Been using Google buzz for a while now, just letting it import from twitter.

    By far, my favorite feature would be commenting. Unlike twitter, I’ve actually had some interesting conversations spark up through buzz. More than twitters ever done for me.

    I also like how it integrates with gmail, its an easy service to use as I’m not visiting yet another page in my daily rounds.

    Overall, I’m really liking buzz, much more useful than twitter so far.

  • These are good five tips for getting started with Google Buzz.I have already used Google buzz and its to easy to use it.We can share information and photographs easily with our friends.That video for Google Buzz is also good.

  • chrisgarrett

    I think most people are in the same boat – watching and waiting 😉

  • chrisgarrett

    It doesn’t seem to be rocking the world yet but there are some people already heavily addicted to it. Then again, I never went full on into Facebook either 🙂

  • chrisgarrett

    I think a lot of people tried it because of the early, um, buzz but then went back to Twitter et al

  • chrisgarrett

    Most people do not know it is there right now so it is in that catch-22 of few people using it daily so few reasons to log in daily, it might pick up, it might not. We wait and see 🙂

  • chrisgarrett

    Yup, and also to see what the Big Goog does to promote it

  • chrisgarrett

    The privacy issue is huge and Google have a poor track record on that kind of thing, but then so do FB

  • re: FB/privacy, true — but at least with FB there are privacy settings I can control. And at least so far they haven’t suddenly dropped a privacy control that left me or my kids vulnerable! Maybe Google will learn…

  • Let’s hope Twitter is listening and adds a feature that allows “conversations”! I can see how that could be very helpful.

  • claudiaguzman

    Good Idea! Its a great site for a meaningful conversation and debate as well. Very convenient and practical.

  • These are great tips! Thanks for the help. I will be able to begin buzzing with a breeze!