ALERT!!! PLEASE click SILENCE above, go to new layout. ;o)

So, what's the buzz about the buzz? My thoughts...

Oh, a new tool toy social network stream, from google too... not one to get my hopes up with the let down after the hype of wave.

Let's see what all this buzz is about, why are people buzzing about it?

Being touted as the facebook beater, even by google, if their adword ads are anything to go by... some say it's like twitter with more to it, and slightly less than facebook without the app crap, has some attributes harking back to friendfeed.

Sounds good... so far.

Plenty has been written about it too, from various angles, geeks and photographers, social network die-hards and the average user.

Some bad stuff was spreading about privacy issues... facebook did the same crap but, with facebook... did they gain a bigger "public" user-base for bet, just as google did, tried, intentionally or not.

They ain't daft, neither of them... gotta give them that, sly maybe.

So, having looked at it and have a little play with it, but not really in depth as such, I can see good potential there, also though I felt it is getting some unwarranted hype... hype just ruins stuff in some ways, we could say the fact google kept it quiet till it went out means they learnt some lessons with wave, avoiding it was probably a good idea, the irony, buzz released without buzz, which gained overnight buzz.

The fact it's in gmail is a good thing, as been said elsewhere a few things need sorting out, no doubt they will be looked at too considering that google are listening to users.

After all they cleared a little of the sharing mess with the google reader contacts etc at the start.

One thing is I'd like see google allow us to cloak our email addresses on our profile pages with our chosen name as seen in buzz... that would be nice, I think these google profiles will become an important and decent central hub for us all who use googles products, it also mirrors facebooks use of real names should we choose them, the current choice of numbers or email is not good, we didn't have the choice to use anything other than our email at the time if I remember right, number or email.

With the cloaking of email address on the profiles we would feel better, and it makes sense considering all these contacts could be stored in gmail, cloaked, it would be good to have list in there and have email permissions, non permission choices with list, or only those you choose ever get to see your email address, and vice versa. The rest, cloaked.

Give us the control to make it the best central place we could have, as it's a great semi private place, gmail, I say semi as it is private really but feels like you have people in is used more than anything too so it makes sense to have buzz in gmail.

It makes sense to make gmail the central for everything google, mind you being able to connect with real offline friends via gmail and such is going to be a better thing for me, just getting them on gmail if they aren't yet, I could describe buzz to those friends as facebook without walls and crap, in fact that's another point, buzz does look similar to lite.facebook, which I already wrote about what they should have done to make that the twitter rival.

I'd like to stop filling up the sent folder with buzz though, please sort that out Google.

Also I'd like to see them allow better use with picassa, it seems like they want us to fill it all up fast so we start paying for storage... who wants to pay for duplicated pics across albums?
If you try to add one picture from an album direct to buzz it won't, it allows you to upload the whole album?!

Odd, we already have them there... sheesh.

Emailing a picture as an attachment directly to buzz works better but then I have to download the pic again from picassa, attach, then delete the pic again... no need for that really.

Then it adds another folder! Why?

Although picassa works nice on our profiles, and looks ok in buzz, the pics being what as they are.

Nice to be able to directly import our blogs too, can't help think what blogger have now got up their sleeves... I'm sure Rick will be spilling ideas...oh wait - one good idea right there! (Rick will find this, meta data!  I better keep an eye on you!)

That gets me more excited... I can see several subdomain ideas coming up with blogger on them!

We are the master of our domain, we should utilise it better, I should too.

Buzz... oh yeah, for being any sort of twitter rival, in a sense I think it can, but I also think it's limited... as I have a shade under 100 followers I am not getting a big respoense yet, I follow less then that as well and even then I don't know how others can follow 1000's... it is alot less screen-space than twitter yet twitter gets bad if you follow so many.

Of course, numbers, they matter in many ways.

Having followers is different of course, and though it's better to have more, still there is a limit to what we can deal with.

It reminds me more of friendfeed in the sense of those who have most followers and activity seem to dominate the stream, still something they are working out, actively, so no doubt there will be ways of lessening the noise, with list or filters, make it simple.

Twitter doesn't quite have that issue, it's a different issue altogether. at least on that people who are drowned with followers can live in the @replies tab.
I am seriously having to sort out echoes of duplicate tweets, etc.. I think I will be keeping twitter off buzz for now, having only imported Greader shares and my blog(s) post into buzz. Twitter itself I will sort out over the next week or two...

If you are on twitter and want to follow me on buzz, I'd be happy to hear that... and hope it either adds to what we already do, or enriches one side or other, twitter, buzz.

I think facebook, twitter friendfeed have all different uses, aims, communities, so I don't think buzz will be much different, once they start building up.

So far I like it, but it could be more, then again, there is something else, it can be a time suck, just like any of the others, or a tool to utilise, or simply another social space for community building, that is it adds to what you do if that's what you do. (IE a photographer building a fan base)

So, the question is finding out how you will use it, where does it fit into what you do, rather than just get stuck in and play, waste time, get distracted.

For me, I am yet to realise how I will use it but I do think as a blogger user it looks like a good addition to our armoury, something we can utilise with blogger and such.

There lies something important, that is, it's OUR space that really matters, our blogs, sites, forums, etc, whatever it is you "own" and that is where the bulk of the efforts should go, if not then at least the direction your efforts should lead to it, that is these tools should be helping in getting them from these places to your space, if not it's just a case of spent time... a toy!

I think it's to early to say what buzz means for me, what I will utilise it for and how.

Is it worth looking into?

Yes, I think so, at least if only to see how you can use it to benefit you, if possible, if not, drop it.

You should sort out and format your google profile page, set the privacy settings you want, add your links and sites, blogs to it, use it as a profile.
Then in buzz set up your "connected sites" and add the ones you want, see how it fares.

Also, maybe follow me on there!

How do you find it?

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Google accounts and why you should have one

I have had a google account since they started, being a blogger user before google started GMail and then buying blogger itself, GMail is still in beta strangely although it is getting better all the time I think it's time they brought it out of beta really, it's the best email out there with a spam system second to non.

There are plenty of reasons why it's worth having a google account, of which GMail is really the central to all the rest of the great things you get with a Google account.

Gmail is just so useful. :o) 

To start if you haven't already got one get an account to use and give it a real try out then see if it's not worth using.

Now you have a Google account to use with the great features of the Google range of products and services, and free too. ;o)

One account log on for everything.

Everything is accessible from within your GMail page which is why mine is my home page and so easy to start from. 

On the top left of you Gmail inbox page you will see links to other things you now already have!

These are all accessible without logging in again as long as you stay in your browser you are logged into GMail with. 

One reason the "tabs" are so handy now on browsers.

Before you do anything else, while in GMail, go to the "settings" link at the top right, on the next page with settings, scroll down to the bottom and click the "always use https" as shown below.

This means your GMail is safer to open being a secure connection.

On the end of the link list up there on the left is a "more" button which from the drop down menu if you the click "even more" leads you a page with all Googles stuff on one handy page.

Taking advantage of the other great things I feel everyone should get to grips with are the Google reader and docs, the reader is a great time saver when used right,  yet many don't really use RSS on purpose, what I mean by this is the general Internet user uses RSS without knowing it, like on facebook etc.

Understanding the way it works and how to use and read them is very simple and all you need to know can take five min's to get to grips with.

Click the reader link and it opens in a new tab or window depending on your settings and browser choice, which should be either FireFox or chrome by now, ;o)

Click the "add subscriptions" box as seen above and below once clicked, in that box enter this blogs title, and it will "pull the feed" from my blog here and add it to your reader. Just so you know and understand, the feed URL is different to the blog URL...

My feed is the URL that shows in the bottom of your browser when you hover the mouse over that orange icon on the top right here on the blog. THAT is what RSS readers "pull."

Now you should have this blogs feed working and my blogs content in your reader ... looks like the blogs content without the sidebars. ;o)

You can add any other blog or RSS feed into your reader, wherever you see that orange icon or the letters RSS.

In the top of the reader when you have a feed readable you see the drop down menu, ensure it's the "sort by newest" that's ticked to only pull any new feeds since the last time you used the reader.

On the right of the reader page you will see the same as the image below.

While only having a feed or two you may want to keep it as "expanded" so the whole feed shows, after a while when you are getting to grips with it and adding new feeds etc you may prefer the "list" so you can just scan the titles to choose what to read.

On the right of you Gmail account you have the other main links to your account, IGoogle is something you may want to look at, the "account" link leads to your main account page.

Another great thing to use is the Google docs, makes a great alternative to word with the added bonus of being able to create PDF's, and presentations, spreadsheets etc.

All this is web-based so you can download and upload keeping whatever wherever, but being able to access your stuff anywhere you can get online and logged into GMail. 

Afer clicking the documents link you should see the same as below.
If you have used word before it will all feel similar but neater. :o)

In my opinion anyway!

You can share your stuff, and let others even work on things with you and all updated as its done, no need to send things etc, just refresh page and whatever changed they make show on yours etc and vice versa. A great collaboration tool for multiple users. 
You have a great PDF extraction too, so work on his then donload as a pdf to test in your adobe reader. Very handy for creating fast pdf's.

Googles Picassa is also a downloadable tool you can use on your pc as a photo organiser, then sync it with your photo storage you get in your google account.

You don't need to download it though if you rather not, just upload to the webspace you have here, you get links to use as well as embedible code to post on a blog or webpage, although when using blogger and you add a picture to your blogpost it uses this storage and does it all for you.

You now have this great photo storage with Picasa, you just click the photos at the top of your GMail account page and create an album, upload some pics and you are ready to use them, share them etc.

This is so easily usable with your blogger account with you have with Gmail.

Just a simple clicking of the photo icon when creating a post and choosing the picture to upload, publish the post.

Now it is also in your photo page.

Putting this altogether you realise that there is so much you can do for free and yet so easily using these great tools. All the while it's being improved and added to.

A great reason to have a Google account.

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"How do I start blogging"

This is something EVERY blogger has thought of at least ONCE. ;o)

For the obvious reason we all had to start...somewhere.

I still get asked this question and it is something you are going to HAVE to deal with if you want to blog, so ultimately the easiest way is to just start! ;o)

Ok...then the other questions start...

All natural to each of us, we all ask them and all the answers are there to find and easily enough it is too. ;o)

Spending a few hours getting these answers will do 2 things...

  1. Tell you if it is worth doing
  2. If so it will inspire you to DO.
If it is not 1, you will need to ask what else you could ask answers for, ie what else can I blog about that will be 1. ;o)

Ok, how?

There is a great thing on the web called Google...and it's ALL you need for everything really and yes I am serious.

Google is more than "Google"... an oxymoron but it's not JUST a search engine. ;o)

Ok, so you want to at least get some answers to..."how do I start blogging?"

An 8 step plan of ACTION, for now... ;o)

Have a Google account?

If not...Grab one here and choose a user name which remember you can use on everything else I tell you, choose wisely, you will have a Gmail account...this is the email centre of your Google account.

Now you are have a web centre to utilise and it's a huge free asset online to have but more on that another post. ;o)

This is simple yet will be a big benefit to your time and efforts as well as the learning curve.
Most links are at the top of your Google Gmail inbox, one is IGoogle... ;o)
On this IGoogle homepage you can add stuff...alot of this will be stuff you USE, more on that soon. ;o)

This will be your blog dashboard and using the Gmail account as a log in so you only ever need log into all Googles services with your Gmail account once. This will simplify everything.
You can create many blogs in this ONE account, that's why I say don't worry about the first dummy blog.

Now you have the perfect blog search engine to research for the answers to 1. above.
Lets say your "blog topic" will be around your favourite pastime of baking cakes...

Go search for "baking cakes" with " " and without ... baking cakes and see what comes up.
Note how many blogs, how many searches made or anything you see that you can take data from.
Bookmark the blogs, when you look at them really take note of what captures your eye and compels you to read more. Save everything, notes and blogs etc.

Take note of the top right hand side where it say how many sites there are, so it IS something people read. ;o) Look at a few of the websites that come up and see what captures your eye again and bookmark ones you like.

Now you can see that module you just added on your IGoogle homepage... this will be your online web centre bookmarks once you are rolling. ;o)
Add to that THIS blog you are reading.. ;o)

Now you have that reader, see that orange button at the top left of this that and add to your Google. ;o) If not sure, go to the bottom of this blog and click the add to Google button.
Add to the reader and this to your IGoogle homepage.

Simple and fast, effective. Go look at your IGoogle page now. See it all on there and yet you also have the option of creating new tabs... Even create a cake baking tab. ;o) Save things to it.

Now you have a nice Google center you can access anywhere.

I'll stop there for now because now I am sure you are going to have some play around etc.
Go ahead have a look at the set up and see how simple and streamlined it is.

After you have had a look around, have a good think about what you could blog about and read other blogs on whatever topic you have thought about. ;o)

Any questions or comments feel free to do so below.

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