14 March 2010

Lists for Google Buzz

The ability to group friends and to filter the stream are highly popular feature requests for Google Buzz. Buzz lets you send your buzzes to a selected group of people only, of course. But unlike FriendFeed they don’t provide an explicit way to manage your incoming stream. It’s Google after all, they want to solve problems algorithmically.

Here is a technique, which lets you create filtered lists right now. It’s actually quite simple:

(1) you need to build a search query for each group you want to create.

You can include people via the from:username or the author:username search operator. Make sure to put quotes around the username and to use OR between each person.

e.g.:

from:“saurier duval” OR from:“google buzz team”

will find all public buzzes from me and the Buzz team.

(2) you can refine the search by including or excluding various sources via the source:sourcename search operator.

e.g.:

source:buzz OR source:“google reader”

will find only buzzes and shared items from Google Reader.

-source:twitter -source:“google reader”

will find all public buzzes except shared Tweets and shared items from Google Reader.

from:“saurier duval” OR from:“google buzz team” source:buzz OR source:“google reader”

will find all buzzes or shared items form Google Reader from me and the Buzz team.

(3) save the combined search as a Quick Link.

One lesser known feature in Gmail (and hence in Google Buzz) is the ability to save searches. It’s called Quick Links and you have to enable it in Gmail Labs (Settings -> Labs). Once Quck Links is enabled you’ll see a box in the left column that gives you 1-click access to any search you save.

To save a search for Google Buzz you enter the query in the search field, click “Search Buzz” and then click “Add Quick Link” in the Quick Links box. You can assign a descriptive name for your group and then you’re done.

Since the process is tedious this technique is best suited for smallish lists or to highlight peope who are really important to you. But it’s also great for generating a filtered stream for oversharers.