12 Undocumented Tricks for Google Buzz

written by aext on February 11, 2010 in Popular and Tools with 144 comments

So. Google just recently announced Google Buzz. I’m not sure about you, but I didn’t see this coming. Sure, Google was bound to start a social network of some sort at some time; but, I didn’t think it’d be this soon!

After spending a few hours on Google Buzz, we’re proud to present you with 12 simple tricks to help give you a better Buzz. Before you start drinking the Google juice, though, make sure you choose a designated driver! (Ya, I know. Bad joke.)

Enough talk. Here are your tricks:

Updated: More Google Buzz Tips, Resources, Extensions, and Icons to Keep You Buzzed.

1. Formatting

Buzz doesn’t have any WYSIWYG editor built in, but it does allow some basic formatting. Currently, we’ve discovered three different formatting options: bold, italic, and strike-through. If you find any more, please place them in the comments.

To make something bold, simply enclosing it with asterisks (*) Ex: “This is *bold*!” will become “This is bold!” In the same way, if you’d like to italicize something use the underscore (_). Ex: “This is _very important_” becomes “This is very important.” (Be careful, though, because on IRC chats, the underscore is reserved for underlining and italic is actually “/”.)

Edit: We mentioned strike-through, but didn’t say how to do it! Strike-through works in the same way, but with the dash (-). Ex: “I am really -sad- happy” becomes “I am really sad happy”. Thanks for pointing this out, Nathan!

Sometimes you want to display the asterisks without formatting, so how do we do that? Simply make sure you have the symbol surrounded by spaces. Ex: “This is _ not italic _ and this is * not bold * and now I am – still – happy.”

2. Post from SMS

Buzz allows you to submit posts by sending email to [email protected] (Your phone must be setup to send email from your Buzz-enabled Gmail account, though.) You can even send attachments like images. I’m not quite sure about other attachments though. If you find some hidden attachment functionality, please let us know in the comments!

Note that the email functionality only takes the subject and the attachments. The body of the email is completely ignored (Seriously Google, why?).

For more about posting via Email, check out How to Post Messages and Photos to Google Buzz via Email.

3. Hide/Remove Google Buzz Updates from your email.

Buzz is setup so you can easily notify someone of a status you think they should see using the @reply functionality. A buzz will show up in your inbox if someone “@replies” you. If you don’t want to receive any buzz in your Gmail inbox or the “Mute” button just isn’t doing enough for you, you can use Gmail’s filter functionality to direct the Buzz elsewhere. The Gmail query for this filter is label:buzz or is:buzz.

There’s two things you can do here: (1) have buzz alerts skip the inbox and you never have to see them again (seen in the screenshot above), or (2) direct all the buzz notifications into a special label (which is what I’m doing) so that you still get notified when your friends want to show you something, but it’s out of your inbox which, for some, is a “working” place.

Thanks LifeHackers for this trick.

4. Turn OFF Buzz:

Sometimes, you need to leave the world outside. Just look for the small “turn off buzz” link at the bottom of your Gmail window (right before the copyright line).

5. Indicate and notify the commenter you’re replying to

Let’s say you want to reply to a commenter in your buzz post. You probably want to accomplish two things: (1) identify the commenter and (2) notify them. The @reply function gives us this option, even when users are not in your contact list, but it can be tricky because you have to know their email address.

Here goes: Click the button to start writing your comment. Hover over the user’s name to see the link. You should see their username at the end of the URL, right before “#buzz” (If you see a bunch of numbers, this unfortunately won’t work because they’re hiding their username). Start typing out their username and follow it with “@gmail.com”. Type out your reply and post it. If you typed it correctly, the “@[email protected]” should morph into their name, linked to their profile. Ex: “@[email protected]” will change to “Nathan Brauer“. And the user will be notified of the new comment.

6. Access Buzz before it’s enabled for your account

If Google hasn’t enabled buzz for your account yet, you can get a sneak peak by turning on Multiple Inboxes in Gmail Labs and set is:buzz in one of the empty panes. Bam! Now you’re buzzed! Sorry this doesn’t work for Google Apps yet, but I’d assume that once they start to add it to Apps, you will be the first to know!

Thanks to Waglo for this trick.

(Also, Buzz on mobile devises is enabled for everyone, so you can spoof your user-agent so you can access it directly on the computer too.)

7. Retwee…err…Rebuzz?

While there is no “retweet” function for Buzz, you can simply copy the Public URL which is linked to in the time/date of the post and submit it in a new status update.

It’s worth noting that if the email method (mentioned above) accepted the body of the email as well, you’d be able to simply click the “Email” button at the bottom of the buzz post and email it to [email protected] It even includes its Public URL and all the current comments of the post.

8. Geolocation

If you post from your location-aware phone, your location will automatically be added to your Buzz post. Access Buzz on your mobile phone via http://buzz.google.com

Image courtesy of Google

9. Buzz Extension for Firefox

Buzz it! is an extension for Firefox that will make a buzz status update via Gmail with the link and title of the webpage you are viewing.

You can install this Firefox extension here.

10. Extensions for Google Chrome

There are currently two extensions available for Chrome and both have completely different functionality. Also, both of these extensions require that you set up Google Readerto make it work, and connect Reader to Buzz.


Buzzer is a Chrome Extension which allows you to make updates to Google Buzz from Chrome. For it to work, you need to set up Google Reader and connect Reader to Buzz. This is currently the only Chrome extension which allows you to post to Buzz.

Chrome Buzz

Using Chrome Buzz, you can read your buzz without opening a new tab. Unfortunately, though, you can’t post or comment on anything.

11. Search Buzz

Want to find posts you’ve commented on? Click the “Buzz” tab and type “commenter:[email protected]” into the search field and click “Search Buzz” (obviously, change “youremail” to …well, your email).

Want to see only pictures, videos, or links? Type has:image, has:video, or has:link in the same field.

12. Add a “Buzz it” widget to your blog

Have a blog? Increase your traffic by adding a simple Buzz widget. In your blog’s theme, simply use the following URL (replace the appropriate data):

<a href="http://www.google.com/reader/link?url=[YOUR POST'S URL HERE]&title=[YOUR POST'S TITLE HERE]&snippet=[YOUR POST'S DESCRIPTION HERE]&srcURL=[YOUR BLOG'S URL HERE]&srcTitle=[YOUR BLOG'S NAME HERE]"><img src="buzz-icon.png"/> Buzz it!</a>

Make sure to upload this image to your server as well:

Go on, try it out:
Buzz it!

After you post it, you’ll be redirected back to the post with the “close=1” anchor appended to the URL allowing you to direct the user right back to where they clicked the link!

Know any more?

Sharing is caring! Let us know in the comments!

This was a colaborative post by Nathan J. Brauer and Lam Nguyen