Students around campus are increasing their use of Google Buzz.
Buzz the social networking addition by the search giant, has taken Gmail users by storm. With more than 9 million posts in its first week, Buzz is quickly becoming a social network juggernaut.
Buzz is similar to social networking Web sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but with a several different features.
“Buzz allows you to post more than 140 words in one message; that is a big difference from Twitter,” electrical engineering graduate student Becky Yuan said.
Google’s integration with its other services, Maps, Documents and the popular RSS program, Reader, allows for more extensive communication and greater detail of each post.
“I use Google Documents regularly to work on projects with colleagues,” UH assistant librarian Christina Gola said. “Buzz might come in handy when I want to send a quick note, instead of filling up my inbox.”
Not everyone is jumping on the Buzz bandwagon. At the forefront of the search engine’s argument is the issue of privacy. As other social networks continue to tweak their privacy setting, allowing users greater control but also keeping up with the emerging trend of social search, Google takes a different approach by requiring users to create public and searchable profiles.
“Buzz suddenly appeared in my account, and I began receiving messages from people I didn’t even know were in my contact list,” Gola said.
The auto-follow feature was quickly removed by Google and changed to allow users to pick who they wanted to follow.
Buzz allows not only photos and links to be updated, but using geolocation, mobile devices can attach an address to each post. Each buzz can be associated with a place, and the Nearby stream lets you see buzz posts within a specified location.
Mobile devices are increasingly using location technology, but have come into heavy scrutiny because of ways it can share data without the users consent.
While Buzz offers many features, it still has room for improvements.
“I’d prefer if Buzz was ordered by time. This way, if someone replies to one Buzz, it will be at the top,” Yuan said.
For those who are not ready to completely switch over to Buzz, they can connect their Twitter account and set it up to publish their tweets and vice versa.
With Buzz, students and faculty are finding new and interesting ways to post updates about everyday events. From the latest movie or a favorite dish from a restaurant, Buzz lets people share what they’re thinking in a whole new way.