Blog Post

Google Buzz: Not Efficient?

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?

12 Responses to “Google Buzz: Not Efficient?”

  1. Well, if nothing else, I am hoping that Google is listening. Because I loved the Buzz at the beginning. But it’s too hard to truly connect with the people I most want to connect with. There are a few people who have a large following, but then I have to mute their posts just to make it through all the comments. If they can parse out the followers and provide some kind of list function, I think it will help quite a bit.

  2. I just posted this over at Alan’s page, but I thought I’d share it here to get your thoughts on it…

    I gave up on Buzz already, didn’t even make it to one week of use. Privacy issues were at the top of the list, but I also started thinking of how much effort I would have to put into Buzz to truly get the most out of integrating all the other Google Services like Picassa, YouTube, Reader, etc, while still maintaining my privacy. If Buzz is already a nightmare, imagine going around to all the other sites to individually set privacy options. The lack of user and contacts integration across all products seems to me to be the biggest downfall of the whole experience for the Facebook target audience. Until Google tackles that issue, all the cosmetic changes to Buzz will not be enough to bring me back to it.

    I acknowledge that Facebook users are not the only target audience, but so far it seems we’re the ones Google is trying to convince. With Twitter import into Buzz, it doesn’t seem that they’re going hard after Twitter users.

  3. I’m with you on this. It seems like they rushed it out without fully thinking it through. It’s not very organizeable and requires a lot of work. I didn’t have this much of a time suck setting up either Twitter or Facebook.

    I see so many people calling this the greatest thing and a “game changer” but to me it’s a glorified forum with threads, mostly filled with “insiders”….people who are web types, or social media types. I don’t know very many “regular” people who are using it.

    I’m not ready to write it off, but I’m not using it much, and that use is decreasing. It just isn’t easily manageable.

  4. @Doriano
    I heard they were implementing a Buzz tab in the settings.
    So perhaps they will push more options in there.

    Also, as for every click counts, why are you against keyboard navigation. This might just be my opinion, but every website should have keyboard navigation. Makes like simpler and keeps both hand on the keyboard :)

  5. I agree. The interface leaves much to be desired and needs drastic redesign work. Personally, I can’t stand the slow motion effect of muting a thread. While it might’ve been cute the first time you see the slow fade, it adds up to a great deal of lost time in the long run. Also, why aren’t there more options for each post? Why are we forced into using keyboard shortcuts in this day and age? Sure, there are many options in the dropdown list on the right but again, not efficient. Every click counts these days.

    The good news is that Google appears to be listening to all of the feedback and have already begun to make changes just days later (such as the security aspect and auto following).
    I hope they listen to this usability concern too.