Before Google Launches Buzz, It Needs Better Contact Management

Like many around the world, I just watched Google’s announcement of their initial rollout of the Google Buzz service, Google’s new product which aims to aggregate and organize all of your friend’s social content. Miss the announcement? Check out the short version here-

Sounds pretty neat huh? What’s not to love about a service that takes the best of what Google has to offer, along with the best features of Twitter and Foursquare, and puts them all in one place?

In my view, there’s a serious problem lurking, and it centers around what Google seems to think they are doing a great job of- contact management.

If you are a regular Gmail user, you know that everyone you email with, even once, be it to a company or even an unsubscribe address, is saved into your contact list under ‘All Contacts’. (This has served useful on an occasion or two, but for the most part just adds ‘clean out contact list’ to the weekly ‘to do’ list.)

It is from this contact list that Google populates all your other contact lists, such as your Google Voice contacts, your Google Reader friends, and so on. Not having to re-create your contact list across every service can be nice. But what if you don’t want the same contacts on every service?

Google looks at you and gives you the finger.

As far as I can tell, there is no way to separate out your Google contacts from one service to the next. See those ‘unnamed contact’ entries in the picture? They have no information other than the address to Google profiles. No names, no photos, no identifying information whatsoever. They are people that I follow on Google Reader because they have interesting shares. Yet as you can see, if I try to delete them from my Google Voice account where they are not useful and just clutter things up, they will be removed from my Google Reader list.

Do I really need my Google Reader friends in my Voice account?

As much as I love integrated contact lists, with the sheer amount of services Google provides, some method of managing and deleting contacts from one service without losing them in another needs to be provided, or people will very quickly find themselves sharing information with those they might not want to be sharing with.

Why Should I Censor Myself Because You Suck as a Parent?

I received a message on a social media site recently asking that I tone down the language on my blog. Seems she feels what I write is not fit for young eyes.

Hey please watch the profanity i have young kids in my family that are on facebook and are on my page and i dislike being chewed out by there mothers and fathers for profanity on my page.

thanks for understanding,

First I started to laugh. I have NEVER claimed what I write is child-friendly. Given the number of times a day I use the word ‘fuck’ on Twitter alone, I think it’s pretty clear I will never hit less than an ‘R’ rating. My humor is for adults, not children, clearly.

As the laughter died down, it occurred to me to ask her what age are we talking about here? I fired back a message asking what age these kids on Facebook are exactly.

“7 and younger” is what she tells me.

Say whaaaaaaaattt?

Last I checked, Facebook quite clearly states in their terms of service that no one under the age of 13 may use Facebook. (When I asked why these 7 year old children were allowed on the site against the TOS, she promptly removed me from her friends list.) Now she wasn’t overly clear on whether these kids were being allowed to register and participate on Facebook, or whether they are just looking over other people’s shoulders, but either way, I’m not seeing where this is my problem exactly.

Keep in mind, I am a parent myself. I have three kids, the oldest of which is a daughter, now 11. A daughter who is not allowed on any social networking sites. A daughter who has never been allowed to hang over my shoulder and read the sites that I am on, because she is a child.

As a parent, it is your job to keep your children from reading adult content on the internet.

As a parent, it is your job to not visit sites containing said adult content if you cannot keep those children from hanging over your shoulder and reading.

As a writer, it is not my job to censor myself so you don’t have to do your job (see above).

Seriously people..grow the fuck up and parent your kids, and quit expecting everyone on the internet to change their way of doing things just so you don’t have to.