How to Do Everything in Google Buzz (Including Turn It Off)

Google Buzz

Google's new social media service Google Buzz will show up in your Gmail account this week. Here's how to customize and use Buzz—or opt out of its inbox-cluttering updates completely.

Add Your Sites to Buzz

Once Buzz becomes available in your Gmail account, click on the Buzz link below the Inbox on Gmail's sidebar to check it out. You'll see a "Welcome to Buzz" message with a list of all the people Buzz has you automatically following (based on who you email the most).

Above the Buzz posting box, next to your name, click the "# connected sites" link to see and configure which of your social media streams get piped into Buzz, and add more. By default your menu of potential connected sites includes your Picasa Web Albums, Google Reader activity, Google chat status, Flickr photos, Blogspot blog, and Twitter feed.

Google Buzz

However, some folks are seeing even more options, including Tumblr and FriendFeed. If those are in your Google Profile when you set up Buzz, you'll see them in your list of connected sites. (Hint: when you add them to your GProfile, tick the "This is a profile page about me" checkbox.) For the more technically-minded, Google has published instructions on how to connect external sites to Google Buzz.

Post Buzz Only Certain People Can See

You can use Buzz like you would Google Reader—to just keep up with your friends' social network streams from around the web. But you can also post status updates via Buzz, and limit who can see those updates. From the Buzz posting text area (which looks a whole lot like Twitter's), add your text, links, photos, or videos, and from the drop-down choose Private to limit access to that post. Check off the Contacts groups who are allowed to see the update.

Google Buzz

Get a Permalink to Specific Buzz

Every Buzz post and its ensuing comment thread is a web page in and of itself. To get a link to that page to IM, email, or link from another web page, click on the down-arrow to the right of a Buzz post and select "Link to this buzz." Here's a Buzz post I published this morning.

Send Buzz via @ Replies

If email is just too old-fashioned for you, send someone a Buzz update by using Twitter-style @ replies. Start a new Buzz post with the @ sign, and an auto-complete drop-down of your Contacts will appear. Choose the recipient, and that Buzz update will appear in your contact's inbox (assuming he or she has Buzz enabled).

Google Buzz

Post Buzz via Email

You can also post a Buzz update via email. From your Buzz-enabled Gmail account, send a message to buzz@gmail.com to post to Buzz. You can send image attachments (like via your cameraphone) to Buzz this way as well.

Silence Chatty Buzz Posts

With Buzz turned on in your Gmail account, comments on all the buzz you post or comment on automatically shows up in your Gmail inbox as new mail in an email conversation. If a particular thread gets too chatty and annoying, use Gmail's Mute feature to silence it. From the "More Actions" menu in Gmail, choose "Mute"; if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled, you can tap the "M" key to mute an individual thread. You can mute a post from within Buzz, too: from the Comment drop-down, choose "Mute this post."

Google Buzz

Buzzkill: Turn off Buzz Completely

If you don't want to get Buzz updates in your inbox or have access to the Buzz link in the Gmail sidebar, there's a kill switch. At the bottom of your Gmail account, next to the "turn on/off chat" link, there is a "turn off buzz" link. Click it to opt out of Buzz updates and hide the Buzz link permanently.

Google Buzz

If you want to be able to browse Buzz, but not get updates in your inbox, create a Gmail filter that makes Buzz updates skip the inbox automatically. In Gmail, click on the "Create a filter" link, and in the "Has the words:" field enter label:buzz. Click Next Step (and ignore Gmail's warning about filtering labels), then choose "Skip the inbox" as the filter action, and save.

Google Buzz

Buzz Mobile

Finally, you can ditch Foursquare or Gowalla on your mobile phone and go totally Google by visiting buzz.google.com on your iPhone or Android device. From the location-aware Web app, you can post updates that include where you are, and see buzz posted from nearby locations, too.

In addition to iPhone and Android users, Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 folks can get Buzz on Google Maps; visit m.google.com/maps on your mobile phone to enable the Buzz Maps layer.

Add New Comment

22 Comments

  • buzz aldren

    Once I ignore someone in buzz HOW to I UNIGNORE that person?? I am still following that person and that person is still following me. I cannot see that persons buzz to me (where I am the only person in a group on that person's gmail buzz settings)

  • Mike Gamble

    I think Twitter is kind of a silly thing. It´s very difficult to find any real useful information, so in the end you got millions of people contributing to utter social nonsense. I use it in hopes of improving my search engine ranking, and I am hoping to do the same thing with GoogleBuzz, but really, Twitter and GoogleBuzz make me a little embarassed to be human. Here we are committing so much energy to just... crap! What will the aliens think???

  • Jonny Uribe

    I'd like that my post on Buzz will appear on my google site. Only my post, without log in. Anybody knows how to do it?

  • AnnieSh Sh

    Gmail has come up with a very new feature called Buzz. It has many interesting and useful applications under it. Google has a innovative approach. It keeps on coming up with new features very oftenly.
    Jim Ylod

  • Patrick OMahony

    Hello, About Buzz and using a filter.
    I have tried the "label:buzz" filter several times and different ways and I never got it to work. Any ideas? Pat pomahony2 At G mail (dot) com.

  • Anthony Caponiti

    I find the geo-tagging aspect of the mobile to be interesting ... definitely a threat to Foursquare if it catches on with Google users.

  • Luke O'Rafferty

    According the site you linked to, Buzz on Maps is only available on iPhone and Android, not WinMo or S60

  • Joe Dawson

    Thanks for providing this list of details, I have reshared to my followers. I'm impressed with Buzz and like everyone else I also have a wishlist of feature requests which I feel will increase the value...

  • Tzvika Avnery

    Now you can also share your Google Buzz in your emails as well with WiseStamp Firefox addon - "the first Firefox Extension with Google buzz" Easily add your status to your email signature check this out ☛ http://ow.ly/15ZvB

  • Janis Kay

    I could see it being a good tool if enough of those you communicate with also use it, or if you are one to venture into finding information from sources that do use it. One big flaw is that the mute feature doesn't work at all, piling up tons of emails from active Buzz topics. Filtering didn't work at Gmail until after going through all your suggestions, decided to set the filter to delete the topic. With doing that of course I can still continually read the topic at the Buzz Label itself. So the "mute" needs muted.

  • Bill Polymenakos

    It's possible to have Buzz cross-post to Twitter, but it's a bit kludgey and hardly real-time. You have to take your feed from the buzz.googleapis.com site and send it to Twitter via twitterfeed.com or similar. I experimented with it earlier today and got it working, but I've since turned it off.

  • Lee Bartelme

    I'm really hoping this will catch on like other Google Products and evolves. Do you know if I can post to buzz and have Twitter update automatically, or is it the only other way around. I'd really like to be buzz only for the most part.