Friday, April 16, 2010

Pro tip: Send to Buzz and QR from Reader

By default, Google Buzz offers to let users automatically send their shared items from Google Reader to Buzz. So anything you share in Reader gets posted to Buzz for all your Buzz followers to read. Most people I follow have this turned on, and it works for them.

But I tend to share a lot on Reader, and by having it all go straight to Buzz feels a bit like I'm spamming my followers' Buzz streams with shared items. Plus, if my Buzz followers use Reader themselves, then they are already receiving my shared items within Reader. So I turned turned off Reader-to-Buzz posting and it feels a lot cleaner, less spammy, and more controlled.

But every so often, I come across a link that I really want to share with my Buzz followers. Up until now, the only easy way was to copy and paste the link to post it manually. Google Reader has a nice Send To option, but Buzz isn't a choice in there, either because the Reader team hasn't incorporated it yet, or because they expect you to use the auto-posting setting.

However, with a bit of simple hackery, you can make it work. Here's how:
From Google Reader, click Settings at the top right, then Reader Settings. Click the Send To tab. At the very bottom, click Add a custom link. Enter the following into the boxes:

Name: Buzz
Icon URL:

And there you have it! Your Send To drop down will now have the ability to send a link straight to Buzz to share with your followers. Obviously, these instructions are irrelevant to those who use auto Reader-to-Buzz posting, but it's useful for people like me who have disabled the auto-posting.

Additionally, if you want to be able to use the Send To feature to create a QR code, click Add a custom link again, and enter the following:

Name: QR Code
Icon URL: