Monday, February 22

My First Google Buzz App: Who gives a frak?

Subhead: My impression of Google Buzz/the Google Buzz "API."



As most are probably aware, Google Buzz recently launched, while with much less fanfare than the anti-climactic and rather disappointingly immature, but retaining potential, Google Wave, still plenty of hype, noise and clamor.

OK, Google Buzz itself is decent. Nothing super special, but it has potential. Aggregation can make my life easier in various projects. I'm not wowed by it, but, without having had anything in the way of expectations, I'm not disappointed, either.

Now, on the API side ... WHAT API!? There's really not a whole lot of programming to do against Google Buzz yet. Users can associate various accounts for aggregation from other well-known social media services, and Google Buzz provides some XFN markup for non-standard content or services to enable custom associations:

<link rel="me" type="text/html" href="http://www.google.com/profiles/your.username"/>

As far as I can tell, though I'll grant you my weekend was spent on the output side of Buzz and not so much the input, the only way to get content into Google Buzz right now is by an associated service or feed -- which can include your own RSS or ATOM feed, but you can't directly post an update to Google Buzz via API.

On the consumer side, you can pull a user's Buzz updates as ATOM using:

http://buzz.googleapis.com/feeds/{33-digit profile ID}/public/posted "ugly URL"

(You are supposed to be able to use your username, i.e. andrew.badera, instead of that 33-digit profile ID but apparently those so-called "friendly URLs" aren't pushing updates as properly or completely to the hub as the ugly URL-based subscriptions.)

You can subscribe to push notifications of a user's feed via pubsubhubbub.appspot.com. I didn't spend a ton of time digging, but in what time I did spend, I didn't find a .NET PubSubHubbub client subscriber or push notification callback handler floating around the internets. I've written a C# subscriber utility and an ASP.NET .ASHX handler for subscription verification and push callback receipt and handling which I'll be posting later today after hosting it somewhere like Google Code.

So far, Google Buzz and its API seem like Just Another Aggregator. Yes, the PubSubHubbub protocol is pretty freakin' cool, and, at least for now, seems highly responsive when it comes to subscription requests and push deliveries. I'm not yet sure however what's going to entice mainstream social network users to make the leap to Buzz. I'm compelled for business purposes, not personal, and social networking apps don't make the leap without personal engagement and enthusiasm.

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