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Google tweaking Buzz to declutter Gmail in-box

Don't like Buzz spamming your Gmail in-box? Google is adding some knobs to let users dial down the notifications.

Google Buzz reminds me of what they say about the weather in a lot of places I've lived: if you don't like it, wait five minutes.

Those who wrote off Google's social networking tool as an annoying source of clutter should take note of some efforts to reform that aspect of Buzz.

"We've heard loud and clear that buzz in your inbox can get noisy--we feel it too," the Google Buzz team said in a Buzz on Thursday. Two changes, currently in testing to work with Gmail's 50 supported languages, are coming as a result.

First are settings that control what Buzz notifications are sent to the Gmail in-box with which the service is integrated. Right now, any comment left on your Buzz arrives as a notification sent to your in-box. But with the changes, people will be able to select whether to see comments on their own Buzz posts, comments after they've commented themselves on a Buzz post, and comments on posts on which people have been named in a reply.

Also coming in Gmail are explanations about exactly why a notification was sent, Google said.

The change reflects Google's release-early, iterate-often strategy of product development. It also indicates, though, that the link between Buzz and Gmail might well "keep the conversation going," as Google says, but isn't necessarily always a strong selling point.