May 27, 2010

Google Buzz Adds Ability to Reshare Items in the Stream

When you find interesting content in your social streams, it's very common for you to want to share that content to your own social graph - letting more people be exposed to what you found interesting. This need to reshare has led to Twitter's integrated Retweet functionality, and the ability to reshare items on FriendFeed and Facebook. Today, Google Buzz joins the resharing party, letting users of the nascent social network share content from any Buzz user to their own followers, while still providing attribution to the original source. The feature enhancement is said to be among the most popular user requests, and meets the team's objective of adding a new feature a week to Buzz.

Now, Buzz users, myself included, will have four options to spread the love for any individual item. You can still comment on the item and like it, or send it via e-mail, but a new "Reshare" button is included.

The new Reshare feature in Buzz

Unlike Twitter's new Retweet functionality, which does not allow for any modification on forwarding updates, Buzz opted for a "two-click" process, where you can click reshare, add a comment to say why you found the content interesting ,and then hit post to add it to your stream. And yes, the Google team thought ahead, so if a bunch of your friends reshare the same content, similar posts will be collapsed, so you only see each item once. Similarly, downstream reshares of reshares give attribution to the first poster.

A Reshared item in Buzz With Attribution to the Original

The official blog post introducing the feature talks about how resharing the post "forks" the conversation, essentially setting up two places in two different social graphs, to discuss the same content. This distributed comments debate has been fodder for much of its own discussion for a few years, but looks to finally be closing down, especially with the rollout of public comments on Google Reader announced just this Monday.

The downstream benefit of the Reshare feature will depend on the diversity of one's network, and if you cross multiple sharing circles. If your network is closed, it will simply add noise, but if you have a network of connections that extends beyond a small group, the feature could increase eyeballs to interesting content from all sources.

You can reshare anything I post to