Is Google Buzz A Flop?

    May 5, 2010

Earlier this year Google added a new product to the already overflowing social-space. Its name was Buzz and it instantly found itself in the same category (mainly for the built-in Gmail userbase) alongside both Twitter and Facebook. Based on all the hype surrounding Buzz, it seemed we were getting ready for the fight of social-space supremacy.

Fast-forward a few months

After the initial hype-fest died down, and the dust settled, most of the positive buzz has dissipated. What we’re left with are privacy concerns, a rampant spam problem and copyright issues from users. In an effort not to be totally negative in regards to Buzz, it should be noted that Google has been very quick addressing / fixing certain aspects of the service.

Do you think Google Buzz is a flop? Tell us what you think. 

This past week we asked the question, “Would you consider Google Buzz to be a flop?” on our WebProNews Facebook page. We were surprised by some of the answers left by our fans. My personal favorite comes from Steve Blaze; he states that Google Buzz is the biggest flop since the Edsel. (For those of unfamiliar with the Edsel, it was a brand of car from the Ford Motor Company with a disastrous history so therefore “Edsel” has become synonymous with failure).

One has to ask, why is Google having such a hard with social media? In many ways Google was a pioneer of social media, with their Orkut service (which is still immensely popular in both India and Brasil – but now the US where it counts).

Recently Chitika, an online advertising network, did some research within their network and found some interesting data pertaining to Buzz.

Chitika Research: Google Buzz vs. Twitter

The report goes on to say… ”February 9th, 2010 – the day Buzz was launched – the search engines lit up with queries.  The Chitika network saw about 1,500 searches that day for the term “Google Buzz,” approximately 15 times the number of searches for “Twitter.”

However, those searches dropped off quickly – on February 10th, there were 580 searches; on the 11th, 147.  From the 12th on – only three days removed from Buzz’s much-hyped launch – searches for Google Buzz failed to break three digits, and in most cases elicited less than 10 searches per day.  During the same time, searches for Twitter remained fairly stable, averaging about 87 searches per day.”

What are some possible fixes for Google Buzz?

Social media users want services that make there experience easier… not just another service that brings nothing new to the table. There are numerous things that Google could add / tweak to make Buzz more user friendly, specifically here are 5 things that I would like to see…

1.) Lists – Twitter has them and so should Buzz.
2.) Groups – Again, Twitter has them so should Buzz.
3.) Hide all comments – until I want to see comments" option.
4.) Comment moderation – block directly from the comments (like on FriendFeed).
5.) Content filter – Don’t show me any photos from Picasa or posts from a specific user.

Do you have any ideas to improve Google Buzz? Let us know what you got.

Something else that would’ve made this list is Buzz not pulling tweets in real-time. It appears as though this issue maybe getting fixed, a recent message from Josh Wills, an engineer on the Buzz team, explained…

"Okay, change is out everywhere. Here’s the scoop: we’re doing an experiment where we’re going to trust the timestamps on tweets (and by "experiment," I mean rolling it out to everyone, everywhere, all at once.) The net effect of this should be to do away with "tweet dumping", where you’re buzzing along and a whole bunch of tweets show up all at once because we just crawled them and push your page all around. Now, if a tweet shows up at the top of the stream, it will be because it just happened, or because a buzzer commented on it.

Personally, I really like Twitter, and I want better integration between Twitter and Buzz. My hope is that this is a temporary change until we work out a way to play nicely together that is beneficial to everyone."

So Google Buzz might not be exactly what we expected when it first launched earlier this year… but only time will tell if it becomes a major player in the social-space.

Do you see Google Buzz becoming a major player? Or will it just fizzle out? Tell us what you think.