I gave it another try today, and there have been real improvements. You can almost achieve, with significant pain, the equivalent of separating Buzz posts from your public google profile. (Google has not implemented the obvious fix -- an option to exclude all Buzz activity from the public profile.)
The main fix so far is that each of the routes to a Buzz post can be configured so the default post is restricted to a set of contacts with associated email addresses that belong to one or more Gmail (Google) Contact Groups.
This includes Buzz posts from Gmail's Buzz UI, from the iPhone Buzz web app, and from each of the "Connected Sites"you can define in Gmail Settings (Buzz).
Configuring these Buzz posts routes, however, is complex and tedious. Each has its own independent settings. So you have to enter the same sets of Groups in Gmail as in iPhone as in Connected Sites. For Connected Sites you must first click "Add", then click "Edit" then apply the settings.
Of course if you later create a new Contacts Group for limited (Private) Buzz sharing, you'll need to revisit all previous settings.
Google still needs to:
- Have a single Buzz configuration that's shared among all clients.
- Allow users to separate their user profile from their Buzz stream.
- Ask the guy they hired away from Palm to fix Google Contacts. Puh-lease.
There's certainly progress, but we're still a long way from where we need to be.