Google kills Buzz, hedges bets on Google+

Google has announced that it will kill its social networking tool Buzz as it seeks to put its energy into the young, but fast growing Google+ community.

“We aspire to build great products that really change people’s lives, products they use two or three times a day,” Google product vice president Bradley Horowitz said echoing a sentiment frequently expressed by chief executive Larry Page.

“To succeed you need real focus and thought — thought about what you work on and, just as important, what you don’t work on,” Horowitz continued.

“It’s why we recently decided to shut down some products, and turn others into features of existing products.”

The social networking tool joins a host of other products which have been consigned to the Google graveyard.

The return of co-founder Larry Page as CEO of the internet giant has seen a spike in the number of products eliminated as he attempts to concentrate resources on promising projects.

“In a few weeks we’ll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+. 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,” Horowitz said.

Google Buzz launched in February 2010 to a slew of privacy complaints and an in investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The company openly apologised for the shortfalls of Buzz, which was intended as Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter.

The FTC alleged that the Mountain View, California-based Google used deceptive tactics and violated its privacy promises to consumers when it launched Buzz through its popular email service Gmail.

In a move separate from the FTC action, Google agreed to pay US$8.5-million to settle a class action privacy lawsuit over Google Buzz.

Buzz is not, however, the only product being killed in the latest round of shut downs.

Other products facing the axe include:

  • Code Search, which was designed to help people search for open source code all over the web.
  • Jaiku, a product that Google acquired in 2007 that let users send updates to friends.
  • iGoogle’s social features will be removed as part of the increased focus on Google+. All other iGoogle apps will remain functional.
  • The University Research Program for Google Search, which provides API access to our search results for a small number of approved academic researchers.

Horrowitz reflected on the lessons Google has learned from its abandoned products:

Changing the world takes focus on the future, and honesty about the past. We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google+. Our users expect great things from us; today’s announcements let us focus even more on giving them something truly awesome.

Page recently announced that Google+ had passed the 40-million user mark and that social networking features would spread throughout the internet giant’s offerings.

“People are flocking to Google+ at an incredible rate and we are just getting started,” he said, adding that billions of digital photos had already been shared at Google+.



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