Is Google Going to Kill Buzz Next?

Will I Ever Make Explore? (75 / 365)
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“But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We dont plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.”

Google killed Google Wave today.

Personally I could care less. I tried Wave, found it way too difficult to understand, and gave up on it just like that. I tried it a couple of times after that, but I just never saw the point. People would explain to me all of the great ways that *others* were using it for collaboration, and I could grasp that theoretically… but then none of those things really applied to me.

Google Buzz on the other hand is a *huge* part of my online life today. In fact I’d say it’s my primary social network. I get Buzz. I really get Buzz. It’s the best interactive social platform I think I’ve ever used. It’s so much better than Facebook. But now I worry that buzz is next on the chopping block.

Buzz has not innovated as fast as I would have liked it to. There are stupid little things that still feel broken to me after months of use — cosmetic sorts of things. Like why do my Flickr photos show a headline for my most recently uploaded photo, for instance, but then show thumbnails that don’t go with that headline?

Why is it still so hard for me to find anything with the search functionality? And why does Google seem to index Twitter posts in their main search engine but not Buzz posts? Why doesn’t it do a better job at suggesting people I should follow? Why can’t I easily filter it by certain content (show me only flickr posts from my contacts, for example, or only flickr posts from my contacts with 5 likes or more). Some of the sort of stuff that FriendFeed already built before they were abandoned by Facebook.

Then there has been some of the negative PR about Buzz. The initial privacy backlash when some contact information was made public. The confusion that tying it to gmail has created for some users.

In some ways maybe Buzz is a chicken or an egg problem. It’s hard to pull people away from Facebook and Twitter when all of their friends are, well, already on Facebook and Twitter.

Where are the Google cheerleaders for Google Buzz? I mean the Google employees in leadership that were out pumping us all up when it launched. It would be nice to hear some voices from Google tell us that Google is committed to Buzz for the long haul that it’s here to stay and that if anything it will be integrated into future plans for Google’s social plans.

Vic Gundotra apparently has been put in charge of all things social at Google TechCrunch tells us today, a General in their war with Facebook. But best I can tell Gundotra doesn’t even have a Buzz account. Will Gundotra or one of his Colonels be penning a new blog post a month from now about how Google is also abandoning Buzz because, “Buzz has not seen the user adoption we would have liked”?

Is it time to move on to the next thing? And what is the next thing anyways? Back to Twitter? Is it finally time to try to embrace the spammy beast that is Facebook?

Google needs their Mark Twain to step up and tell us that the “rumors of Buzz’s demise are greatly exaggerated.” If they are going to publicly execute Wave for the crime of poor user adoption, then they should reassure us that Buzz is not next. Unless Buzz really is next in which case their silence will be telling.

Update: An interesting comment from Google CEO Eric Schmidt yesterday via CNET:

“Schmidt boiled it down to a mathematical formula. A new product gets announced and gets a certain amount of traction. At some point, growth falls off the first wave of people finishes trying things out. Then, it begins to grow again. “The first derivative of that second growth is a high and accurate predictor of what will happen.”

Schmidt said that Buzz, by contrast is doing well with tens of millions of users, basically Gmail users that also use the short-status product.
“Today Buzz is really an extension of Gmail,” he said.”

This is the first time I’ve seen Buzz referenced as having tens of millions of users.

8 Replies to “Is Google Going to Kill Buzz Next?”

  1. I think I predicted Buzz would be a failure after about an hour using it when it launched. It was tied into Gmail – so count out everyone using Hotmail or Yahoo. They’re just not going to go for it. That was a huge error in my opinion….didn’t they learn anything from their instant messaging service built into Gmail?

    Then, despite having a few nice touches, there was the lack of customisation built into Buzz. Filtering et al. A lack of features. Buzz went live with great fanfare but felt like a pre Alpha stripped down, half arsed product. That’s a huge mistake. All the fanfare brings in the audience they’re aiming at, only to show them a really sparse product. The audience wandered off. First impressions count, and they killed off a huge chunk of the market in a single stroke.

    Google doesn’t do niche, it does mass market. And Buzz, just like Wave, has stalled in the niche category. That, I reckon, is the death sentence for Buzz.

    Google are perhaps the most appalling company when it comes to launching new products. Fail after fail. Other than YouTube and Blogger, most of their acquisitions seem to fail as well. You have to wonder what goes on inside Google HQ.

    Another thing that amazes me about Google – their search page is clean, aesthetic and successful. Almost everything else they do is ugly and messy. And fails. Will no one in Google see the link?

    I don’t like ugly, and I’ve been moving the opposite direction to you lately. I’ve even gone so far as to abandon Gmail and go back to Hotmail, which feels vibrant, fresh and updated. Rather than just toyed with.

  2. Well, I still prefer Friendfeed to Buzz from a functionality stand point. It would be interesting to see if Buzz does get the axe, if Frinedfeed gains many of the orphaned Buzzers. Buzz and Friendfeed are really the only usable aggregater/social networks around.

  3. I have absolutely no interest in Buzz. It blundered right out of the gate and I simply don’t trust it, or Google. I have a GMail account, but that’s mostly to use to authenticate to other Google services, like Reader. That probably makes me one of those “tens of millions” of Buzz users who has never even tried it.

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