Monthly Archives: February 2010

Turning off Google Buzz – the guide and choices

You love it or hate it.  You want to know all about it.  You are an early adopter or want it removed immediately from your gmail.  Either way, you are fast learning how it can interfere with your usual email day if you are not prepared.  It pops to the top, it updated unreads constantly, it shows bright little chat bubbles.  It just won’t go away (see this excellent reason why on SocialCutomer).

So here are a couple ways to disable or ignore the Google Buzz buzz.

The first thing I found was a very small, almost hidden, simpe selection at the bottom of Gmail as shown here:

Scroll down all the way to below where it shows disk space used and the IP address lastly logged into Gmail and you will find this area.  It then reloads gmail back to normal with no Buzz to be found.  Could that be any simpler?

The second way was posted in Lifehacker to keep Buzz running but out of your inbox.  It walks you through, with screenshots, of making the proper filters.

I like their idea since Buzz is still active and updating while you work in mail regularly.  This allows you to continue as normal without the constant interruption of popular buzz coming to the stop non-stop.

What worries me about the idea is how Buzz is being archived to your mailfile.  What about size?  Will Buzz soon have attachments? Inline images? Uploaded videos?  The future is unclear.

The third way is to manually go in and unfollow all of the automatic following that occurred and do not add others.  Buzz will sit there blank with no updates.  Keeping it down to a handful of people will give you the experience without the constant traffic and updating.   This will also redece recommendations that show as the system learns your reading, likes and behaviors.

Note: I had not read the whole Lifehacker article to the bottom to see they had included the same thing I mention in #1 about just clicking off.  Sorry about that.

TheSocialNetworker Episode 11 – Google Buzz screencast walkthrough

Earlier there were swarms of postings on Google Buzz and tweets were moving too fast to keep up.  I made my own summary posting showing you how I think it all fits together.  Well now I bring a screencast where I walked through the interface as any first time user would explaining how it fits together and getting you up and running quick.

Google Buzz – the Social Destination?

Buzz was a reserved name in Gmail folders for some time, and now it is clear why.  I think Google realized that Wave should not have been the starting point with their jump into the real-time. Something that offered a simpler experience to a larger set of users was needed.  Tapping into Gmail gave them this very audience making it more than email.  It is now a Social Destination.

Before I go into how I see all the capabilities, you should understand that building your Google Profile is a key to bringing and bridging data together to make the most use of Buzz.  A simple way to see what services you have linked is the Google Dashboard I highlighted back in November.

Buzz is a layer that sits between your Gmail contacts and the social web.  It interacts with data (Buzz) generated by your contacts, and even recommended users.  Gone are the days of the 140 character post with a link to a picture.  Images are pulled in from links. Comments can be made.  Sharing is simple.  This is more than a conversation flow.  Google is coming in reverse of what Facebook is doing with Project Titan.  They are leveraging the large email base to make a social destination.  Facebook is trying to leverage their social network to build an email platform.  I think Google just won for the first part of the war.

A question that someone in the audience tried to pose, but was actually addressed in Todd’s portion of the presentation was on privacy controls.  The controls are inherently built in allowing sharing with the general public and small groups/individuals.  Buzz will remember the last setting you use and continue it until you manually make the change.  An excellent default mechanism on one hand and a way to screw yourself on the other.  Just remember to always double check how you are sending something before actual sharing.  I don’t care what service it is on.  Google will also hook together other Google service accounts you have established with no intervention needed.  Adding RSS feeds and other sites such as Twitter are built into the interface.  With PubSubHubBub integration available and an API, your output from Buzz will be open for you to grab as XML now.  This will allow developers to work with the stream and start building products.

Next up was the mobile integration and this is where things get enjoyable.  Currently supported are applications for iPhone and Android.  Simple steps like querying your location for the best location awareness to post Buzz is inherent. After a query, a list will bereturned and ask you to select it to say if you are there.   A layer in the new Google Maps has been added to show Buzz, which gives little balloons around your location with current Buzz.  This takes the term Nearby to a new level and puts a dent in Gowalla, Foursquare and Yelp while enhancing Google latitude (see my many posts right here on Latitude).  This becomes updates and geotagging on steroids.  While Buzz and Latitude operate independently still, a merge is coming (from the Q&A)

At the end, there was a brief Q&A session with the bloggers and press.  Privacy I addressed already above.   Another question was Google Wave integration.  I think that would not be a logical next step as Google answered.  Wave is a whole other dynamic and that would be a huge bridge to lay for the average user.

I have a screencast coming shortly, but this should get you all set for now.  I would suggest you also read Louis Gray’s posting on the announcement today for his excellent thoughts.

LIVE blogging: Someone hacks your Facebook account to get money from friends

I am typing this posting live as a hacker has taken control of a friends Facebook account.  The ploy is the same that has been reported all over the place.  Your friend pops up in a chat window on Facebook.  They immediately say they are not well and are stranded overseas somewhere. Money and credit cards are lost, stolen or there was a robbery.

They still have their passports and their return flights are good, of course.  They just need some funds to pay the hotel bill.  Amazingly they cannot call their bank to have funds wired, transferred or have a credit card authorization given.  So they reach out to you to transfer them some funds immediately so they can pay the hotel off.

Keep in mind it is late in the day where they are stating the stranding has taken place.  And they are at a public library using the Internet instead of the hotel itself, where they would normally be trying to work out the bill.  Did I forget to mention that every hotel on check in I have visited in Europe gets your credit card up front and authorizes insane amounts.  Seems they don’t have their story right.  After I questioned them, they became silent yet were still online…

James  hi
9:51am Chris  hey
9:52am James  how are you?
9:52am Chris  good
9:52am James  am not too good
am in a huge mess as we speak
9:53am Chris  ?
9:53am James  we are stranded in wales uk as we speak
9:53am Chris  terrible, great place to be stranded
9:54am James  got mugged at gun point
all cash credit card and our cell phones was stolen from us
9:54am Chris  but you are online, interesting
9:54am James  am in a local library right now
it was a bad experience for us
thank God we still have our lives and passport
we need your help
9:56am Chris  sure glad to
9:58am James
wondering if you can loan us some cash to that
our return flight leaves in few hours but we are having problem sorting out our hotel bills
we will def refund it once we get back
9:59am Chris  oh sure, that is easy
isnt it past hotel check out time? didnt they have your credit card on file already as all those hotel make you do on check in

9:59am James  I had been hacked. Thanks for offering to help me.

I reached out to the person via email to let them know about their account and to reset and protect it immediately as you see in the end message.

The Lesson: Make sure your own account has a complex password.  Never believe that a friend is stranded and you are the only person that could help or that the story even makes sense.  There were more holes than Swiss Cheese in this one.

Secondly, if you are a geek with a few minutes of free time, definitely play along and really reach the person that got hacked.  Who knows, maybe one day it will be the game of catch a thief.