Saturday, 15 October 2011

RIP Google Buzz: Shutdown to Begin in ‘A Few Weeks’

Google is shutting down the last remnants of Google Buzz to focus on Google+, the company announced on Friday.

“In a few weeks we’ll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+,” Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of product, wrote on The Official Google Blog. “While people obviously won’t be able to create new posts after that, they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it using Google Takeout.”

In addition, Google is shuttering Code Search on Jan. 15 and other social media offerings, including the Twitter-like Jaiku — which will also be discontinued on that date — and iGoogle’s social features. As previously announced, Google Labs will also shut down.

Launched in February 2010, Google Buzz was initially seen as a threat to Twitter and Facebook, but never lived up to its promise, becoming one of the biggest flops of the year. It is likely that Buzz will be viewed as a forerunner to Google+, which had a stronger start, hitting 40 million users in its first three months, according to Google CEO Larry Page.
The reasons it died so quickly? Well for starters, at the time of its release privacy was a bigger concern than ever before. Facebook had a similar issue which as you may remember, caused the massive user exodus (well, that was the plan anyways). However in Google’s case, they managed to display user contacts publicly, without consent from the user. This was later fixed, but not before major damage was done.
Also, it never really had an identity of its own. Launched as an extension of sorts to the incredibly popular Gmail, it never seemed like it could stand on its own two legs as a social media platform. Getting all of your friends to setup ANOTHER new account also didn’t help. Sure, you could integrate your existing Google account with Buzz, but it still wasn’t easy enough for quick adoption.
In addition to this, major tech blogs have removed Buzz entirely from their social media efforts, receiving almost no complaints. The service has simply failed to find a footing in the already overcrowded ‘sharing’ market.
The one remaining light in the otherwise dark abyss that is Google Buzz (yikes, that sounds harsh…) is its integration with Google Maps on mobile devices. I found the interface to be very intuitive and couldn’t believe it when I saw others using it nearby. Used solely as a Google Maps and Google Latitude extension, I truly believe Buzz could catch on. But Google needs to figure out where it fits in their master plan.
We applaud Google for trying new things, and even if they fail, they manage to create something new or put their own unique spin on an existing idea. We saw it before with Wave, and now with Buzz. There are always elements of their new tools that can be implemented within other services, so I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

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