On the use of the @ syntax by Google Buzz

Just a quick note to archive the way Google Buzz is using the @ syntax. From “Google Buzz Tips“:

If you’d like to send a private message to someone, type @ and use Gmail’s autocomplete feature to find the email address of your contact.

In practice, you address other users by typing an @ symbol followed by their e-mail address, like @user@example.com. This is exactly what I proposed a while ago as an easy way to address any user on any Web application:

Afterthought question: can this microsyntax be expanded to @user@application so that we can finally address any user on any Web application easily. I’m thinking about that.

For now, you can only send messages to other Google Buzz users but I’d expect this syntax to be used to address users of other supported destinations (twitter et al).

Re: Twitter URLs: Are Microformats The Answer To A Real Problem?

Stowe Boyd writes about a possible approach to address different user profiles on different clients. After exposing a possible microformats based approach he talks about a microsyntax solution to the problem:

A microsyntax approach would be something visible in the stream, like including a prefix in front of an @mention or retweet to denote original or desired client:

dabr@pigsonthewing Nice profile!

Here, the implication is that I am referring to Andy’s profile on the Dabr client.

I disagree with the proposed syntax format and propose a new one: @user@client. Here’s my rationale behind it:

  1. It doesn’t break any functionality (just like the proposed syntax): user will still be able to see this tweet as a mention;
  2. It adds new functionality: if client is also a twitter user it will also be able to see this tweet as a mention and act upon it, if desired;
  3. It’s more meaningful than the proposed syntax: you can read it as “user at client”. In the original syntax, saying “client at user” just seems awkward.

Afterthought question: can this microsyntax be expanded to @user@application so that we can finally address any user on any Web application easily. I’m thinking about that.

Read the original post: Twitter URLs: Are Microformats The Answer To A Real Problem? on /Message.