I've been thinking a bit about Google Buzz since a few days before it was announced, and I really think it has the potential to be huge. Especially when one takes into account all the stuff the API already does, and all the things it promises to be able to do in the near future. Having one open spot to have masses and masses of interesting content aggregated to you from your Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Livejournal, Blogger and Wordpress contacts is pretty cool, but when they're able to pull in all comments via Salmon, pretty much anything anyone ever directs towards you on the Internet will be accessible there as well.
Post a comment on some random stranger's blog? If it gets a reply, it'll (one day) show up in your Google Buzz. That's pretty darn cool.
Magical utopian fantasyland aside, the current implementation of Buzz leaves much to be desired.
Problems I've encountered in order of annoyance:
No love for Apps for Domains accounts. I have used my email@example.com account as my Google account for the last several years, but it doesn't yet have access to Buzz from within Apps for Domains' GMail client. Which means if I want to play with Buzz on my PC, I have to use my otherwise-unused firstname.lastname@example.org Google account. (Actually, that account is used for my Google Reader subscriptions, which will brings me to a future point.)
GMail clutter. I haven't yet figured out the magics that determine when something shows up in your GMail inbox as well as in Buzz, but some things do. Other things don't, however, which makes it far more annoying. Sure, you can set up a filter easily enough to hide those from your inbox, but I'd really like to know how it determines what should go in your inbox in the first place. Is it just replies to Buzz posts older than a certain age? Who knows. In any case, I'm sick of getting email notifications of things I've already read in Buzz.
I frequently share interesting things I see from my Google Reader account. Over the years I've amassed quite a few cool people that also share cool things, and often encounter really cool stuff I wouldn't have otherwise. I've always been bummed that most of the stuff I share is pretty much unfindable by those who don't use Google Reader -- and there are more that don't than there are that do -- which seems to have been solved by the incorporation with Buzz. However, my Google Reader contacts are now full of people I've added on Buzz, often who share things in which I have no interest. Even the things that I do have interest in are frequently seen in my Buzz stream before I find them again in my Google Reader. There needs to be some better communication between the two so that I don't always end up seeing everything everyone shares in two different places. Add GMail clutter to the mix, and I often see the same content in three different places.
The promised ability to learn your preferences and hide people's sandwich updates seems to be vaporware. I can't find any way to mark things as being uninteresting, thus Buzz never knows what I find uninteresting. Where is this promised functionality? (I did notice, however, that it hid a whole bunch of "this is my first Buzz!" posts from me, so it's obviously somewhat functional. I just want to be able to make it hide other things as well.)
I have great hope that Buzz is going to make many, many irritating things a much nicer experience than the Twitters and Friendfeeds and Faceooks currently offer (primarily because it promises to be able to put all that content in one nice place to which I can interface in unlimited ways ) but I worry that people are going to be annoyed to death before it gets to that point.
Even with these annoyances, however, Buzz is still infinitely more usable and less annoying that Google Wave, though. I can actually see myself using Buzz.
If you're not already following me on Buzz, you can do so by adding email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. (Due to the aforementioned schism between Apps for Domains Google Accounts and GMail accounts.
The other night's exhibition of crazy political ideals prompted some discussion from a friend intrigued by my Ron Paulian Libertarian Fantasyland. He was particularly perturbed by the idea of things like roads and schools not being paid for with taxpayer moneys, and wondered what I thought about them. I must confess that the school angle had simply not occurred to me before, so after a little thinking I went with the standard Libertarian answer (private companies). Like all Libertarians, I became smug after giving an answer of such sufficient convincingness.
"But what about poor families? How will they pay the tuition at these privately run schools?" he countered.
Once again, the idea of people unable to pay for school had simply not occurred to me. I briefly felt my world-view beginning to crumble, but then, mercifully, sudden inspiration struck.
"We put webcams in the gymnasium and charge pedophiles money to watch all the kids chasing bouncy-balls around and climbing ropes in those skimpy shorts. This will bring in TONS of money, effectively making tuition null and void."
See, with a little creative thinking, Libertarianism can solve ANY problem. We don't need the government to solve all our problems (badly) when we have millions of citizens willing to MAKE money off all the problems.
I'm really upset at the state of our government, our society, and our citizens in general. People just can't seem to get along, meaning we get more stupid laws, which in turn cause more stupid problems.
After much thought on the subject, I've decided to take a page out of Alan Moore's playbook and do something about it. What would Alan Moore do? He'd create a supervillain who causes enough senseless loss of life to restore us to that "Sept. 12th" level of empathy, and then push us further, making us truly understand how our actions affect one another. Everyone won't be able to not love one another and treat eachother fairly, thus creating the perfect utopian dream we should all strive for.
With that in mind, I've formulated a plan to amass the country's honey bees and make them do my bidding. Soon the "epi pen" manufacturers will no longer be able to keep up with demand, meaning millions (billions??) will die at the sudden onslaught of bee attacks by this nefarious genius. (That's me.)
America (the world??) will once again unite under the banner of "we can't afford to fight amongst ourselves... let's join forces," working together to systematically eradicate the bees. They'll then realize that once all the bees are dead, we won't be able to grow much food. This will cause everyone to have to work together creating new innovative ways of pollinating crops (genetically-modified dragonflies??) in order to survive. This will of course come with its own set of problems (no "epi pen" for dragonfly venom??), requiring yet more cooperation, making the world even better.
As you can see, my plan is very well thought-out -- and, might I say, flawless. I'll finally be able to make a difference once and for all.