When Buzz was announced and rolled out into Gmail, I had a nagging fear that it was only going to add to my inbox overload. I was right.
I logged into Gmail this morning only to discover that my usually overrun inbox (controlled chaos) had a new problem: Buzz notifications. Not the ones that appear in my actual inbox, those don’t bother me too much. It was my unread Buzzes (Buzzez?) that had me worried.
The little Buzz number read 100+. I was and am dismayed. Not only is there now a Friendfeed in my Gmail, but it chides me for not reading it. Sadly, for this story I cleared out my unread Buzzes so I cannot take a picture, but you can imagine the image of 30,948 unread emails and 100+ unread Buzzes.
And so I have to express sadness that social has barged its way into the most sacred of locations that I hold on the internet, my Gmail inbox. With twelve email accounts pouring into one bucket, adding in a massive social time waster is hardly helping my productivity.
I estimate that I have added some where in the neighborhood of thirty minutes a day of Buzzing into my routine, time that before was spent actually accomplishing things. Google can praise the productivity that Buzz is supposed to bring, but in reality Buzz is nothing radically new, and nothing readically useful. Actually, nearly half the Buzzing that I see is about how much people plan to or are using Buzz. That’s not meta, that’s wasted time.
The only real revolution that Buzz brings is by sticking real time social interactions to where they were not before, your inbox.
And finally, I am reading fewer emails due to Buzz. It feels that whenever I tab over to Gmail (it never closes) I note that Buzz is there, and I explore it. It is always more fun to fiddle with nothing than to get actual work done. There are ways to change all of these problems by hinding Buzz in some capacity, but most of the millions of Gmail users are not going to do so. And so Buzz will slowly become part of their inbox existence, from my view degrading their email experience by a small step.
We are all never going to leave Gmail, it’s just too good of a product. But in the same vein, Google needs to make some serious changes and adaptations to Buzz to make it less noisy, less nosey, and just less in general.
Gmail needs to keep close to its core principles: fast web mail with unlimited storage, grouped conversations, and excellent search. I do not see a Buzz in that bonnet.