Like many of you, I’ve been spending the past few days experimenting with Google Buzz. There are lots of reasons to like it, as Darrell said, and there have already been some great tips published on how best to use it, like those in Doriano’s post. But I’m feeling frustrated, not only because of the privacy issues, which Google seems to be addressing, but for a more basic reason: it feels slow and not very usable.
I think that Google Buzz feels slow to me because it has an interface that isn’t very mouse-friendly. It is laid out like Twitter’s web site, with one long timeline. But it also incorporates comments to the original posts in that timeline, so if a post gets lots of comments, it takes forever to scroll past it. Buzz does have keyboard shortcuts similar to the ones in Gmail or Google Reader, but using them means that I have to look at, and decide how to dispose of, each post individually. There doesn’t seem to be an “archive all” option similar to the “mark all as read” button in Reader.
Together with a lot of web workers, I depend on being able to skim through information sources quickly. Services like Google Reader are well-optimized for doing this, especially in List mode. (To turn on List mode, from the “All Items” view, click on “Show: List” in the blue bar at the top right of the screen.)
The List views in Gmail and Google Reader make it easy to look at the subjects of posts, and scroll through them quickly. Google Buzz, unfortunately, uses the threaded conversation approach of Google Wave, but without the tools for controlling what appears on the screen that Wave has.
I hope that the limitations of Google Buzz’s interface are just growing pains. Maybe the designers of Buzz didn’t anticipate that some posts would generate hundreds of comments. So let’s hope that they’ll give us the tools to use the service efficiently, or, as one commenter suggests, Google Buzz users might give up on it before it’s a week old.
Do you find using Buzz’s web interface slow and inefficient, too?