Yesterday, after spending some time with Google‘s latest social networking service, Google Buzz, we posted a handful of buzz tips and tricks for those wanting to better manage the buzz, play with its APIs or banish it altogether from their Gmail inbox.
Today, we’ve come across more even more tips for working with Buzz, including how to add Buzz extensions to your web browser, new ways to subscribe to others’ Buzz, and even ways to update Buzz via email. If you’re becoming a regular Buzz user, then you’ll want to read through this latest collection of tips to take your Buzz skills up another notch.
First of all, a little known fact: did you know that Google Buzz is supposed to be spelled with a lowercase “b”? This comes from Google engineer Cedric Beust who posted this info to his Buzz yesterday. While that may be true, we’ve noticed that “Buzz” is capitalized in our Gmail inboxes to fit in with the other labels and it’s also capitalized on your own Buzz page and when you see the Buzz tab on someone’s Google profile. Frankly, we prefer it in capitals and until Google cleans up the inconsistencies throughout Gmail and Google Profiles, we’ll think we’ll leave it that way.
Now, onto the tips:
1. Get Buzz Browser Extensions
After only being live for two days, there are already web browser extensions for integrating Buzz into your Firefox or Chrome browser. As a Chrome user myself, I’ve been keeping my eye out for Chrome Buzz extensions – it seemed like Chrome would be the first one to get some sort of add-on. Yesterday, it finally did. In fact, it got two.
The first is the Chrome Buzz extension which adds the Buzz conversation bubble icon to your Chrome browser. When clicked, you can read through all the latest Buzz in the window that displays. Unfortunately though, this is currently a read-only experience. If you want to comment, like, or post new Buzz yourself, you have to head back to your Gmail. However, it’s a good first effort from the developer and worth watching for future updates.
A second Buzz extension for Chrome is called Buzzer. This lets you publish to Buzz from Google Reader. This one actually seems a little redundant since you can add your Google Reader Shared Items to your Google Profile and have them automatically published on Buzz. However, this would be useful if you came across a website that you weren’t subscribed to and still wanted to add it to Buzz. Clicking the button will open up the site’s feed in Reader and allow you to add a note (if desired) before posting the item to Buzz.
Meanwhile, Firefox users have an experimental add-on called “Buzz It!” which lets you update your status via Gmail with the link and title of the webpage you’re currently viewing. (Thanks to Orli Yakuel for finding this one.)
2. Hide Your Buzz Contact List from Prying Eyes
As Philipp Lenssen pointed out on Google Blogoscoped, Buzz may not be for everyone…especially those who don’t want to expose their private Gmail contact list to the world at large. The problem with Buzz is once you set it up, those you follow and those following you are shown on your profile page. This isn’t all that different from FriendFeed expect for one important fact: on FriendFeed you picked and chose who your friends were, but your Buzz contacts are added for you automatically based on who you email the most. If that’s not information you want to share, here’s how to turn it off:
- Sign into your Google account via Gmail (or any other Google service)
- Go to your Google profile here: http://google.com/profiles/me
- Click the link at the top-right of the screen that reads “Edit Profile”
- Here, you’ll see a checkbox that reads “Display the list of people I’m following and people following me.” To make this info private, just uncheck that box.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Save changes” button
3. Update Buzz via Email
One of the nice things about Buzz’s Gmail integration is that it lets you update your Buzz via email. This one’s simple: just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org using your gmail.com email address. You can even send in attachments!
4. Subscribe to Someone’s Buzz via RSS
As noted by commenter ArpitNext on our previous post and as Skeptic Geek blogged, Google Buzz is RSS-enabled. If you want to subscribe to someone’s Buzz in your feed reader, just go to their Google profile page. Once there, you’ll see the orange RSS icon appear in the browser’s address bar. Click the icon in order to add Buzz to your favorite feed reader.
5. Email, Link to, or Mute a Buzz Post
To do more with a Buzz post, click the drop-down arrow to the far right of any post for a list of other Buzz options. From here, you can email the post, get the post’s permalink, view all Buzz from that person, follow them, or mute the post.
Update! Bonus Tip!
Our own Frederic Lardinois discovered that Google Buzz understands a little bit of the Textile Markup Language. Here are the markups he found that work:
(*)word(*) = bold
(_)word(_) = italics
(-)word(-) = strikethrough
(–) = em-dash
Note: Use those without the ()
That’s all for now – but if you have Buzz tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below!