Google Buzz essentials

Protect your privacy and your sanity while using Google Buzz in Gmail.

Tom Merritt Former CNET executive editor
3 min read

Watch this: Google Buzz essentials

Google Buzz took the world by storm with its Twitter meets FriendFeed meets your e-mail inbox sort of behavior. It also caused a storm of concern over how it behaves and what information it reveals to the world.

Here's how to protect your privacy, remove Buzz notes from your Gmail inbox, and turn Buzz off altogether.

If you've never had a Google Profile before, you're in the best position to protect yourself. You can say no to Buzz altogether. Of course, you can also say yes to Buzz, but make sure your profile is private.

But let's say you previously created a Google Profile, or you were so enthusiastic about Google Buzz that you just willy-nilly said yes to everything. What do you do?

First let's anonymize that Google Profile. You can choose to hide your followers, if they're currently public.

Go to your Google Profile at google.com/profiles/me. If you're not signed in, do so.

Look under the number of people following you. If it says this data is public or if it doesn't say anything at all as it doesn't here, and you'd like to make it private.

Click Edit Profile.

Uncheck the box "Display the list of people I'm following and people following me."

Scroll down and click "Save Changes."

Another issue is your profile name may be your e-mail address. It usually is by default. So, again go to the edit profile screen.

Scroll down to the area called Profile URL.

Click see other options.

Select the address with the weird long number.

And click save changes.

Now people can still find you, but your URL won't give away your e-mail nickname.

So now maybe you're using Google Buzz and feeling good about it. But some Buzz messages show up in the Gmail inbox. Here's how to keep them in the Google Buzz Folder.

Go log-in to Gmail.

Click Settings.

Click Filters.

Click Create a new filter.

Next to the box marked "Has the words" type label:buzz.

Say OK to the warning box.

Click Next Step.

Now check Skip the inbox.

And click Create Filter. Now you're Buzz stays in your Buzz area and doesn't intrude in your inbox.

Finally, let's say after experimenting you just don't like this service and want to turn it off.

While logged into Gmail, scroll down to the bottom and look for the tiny words, turn off buzz, and click on them. Be sure you want to turn it off, because there's no confirmation. Once you click it, it's off.

Of course, you can just click it again to turn it back on.

And if you linked any sites to your profile, they may still feed to buzz even if you turned them off. So go back to your profile.

Click edit profile.

Scroll down to your links.

And click edit.

Click Remove link.

And save changes.

Of course, there are lots of other Google Buzz tricks you can do, and Google is continuing to change options to give you more privacy. But these are the essentials you need to know to empower yourself to make good Google Buzz decisions.