Google Buzz has been a magnet for skepticism, controversy, and criticism since it launched earlier this month. The skepticism is a result of past Google social media efforts not having the greatest track record. Much of the controversy and criticism has been the result of privacy, and more recently copyright concerns from users.
Google Buzz launched with auto-following, and among countless other complaints, that led to one woman complaining about being re-connected with her abusive ex-husband, just because they had previous correspondence through Gmail. Google addressed this, and has made various changes to Buzz since launch based on user feedback.
This week, blogger Jesse Stay raised the issue of content being shared on Buzz without the ads that go with it, while Google shows its own ads. Google quickly responded to this as well, saying that they expected to have the issue fixed by next week.
For all the criticism, there are still plenty of people out there that view Buzz as a good tool, and a step in the right direction from Google, with regards to social media. Some even think the extensive criticism has gone a bit further than Google deserves.
"As a big company, Google has an incredible microscope focused on their every activity," Silicon Valley blogger Louis Gray tells WebProNews. "Those people who are naturally distrusting of large companies with high market share are aggressively looking for ways to highlight weakness or issues with Google Buzz. While Google no doubt made some early missteps, and has apologized for them, the reaction has far outweighed the potential issues."
A common sentiment seen throughout the Blogosphere is that Google simply rushed Google Buzz out a little quicker than it should have. Even many of Buzz's critics have no problem admitting that Buzz has a great deal of potential to thrive. I discussed this potential at length upon the launch of the service.
Right out of the box, it seemed clear that Google was onto something with Buzz that it had not been able to tap into before - a way of taking its existing services and building its own social network in and around those - a strategy some of us have been expecting for quite some time. Buzz quickly drew in users (some didn't have much of a choice if they were Gmail users).
It's important to consider that Buzz hasn't even been around for an entire month yet. It's already gotten tons of publicity (even though some has been negative, Google has been pretty good about turning much of that around). Publishers and bloggers have been quick to jump on the Buzz bandwagon and promote their Buzz profiles. How long did it take people to "get" Twitter? Some people still haven't gotten there.
Google will be integrating Buzz into more of its products, and will no doubt be adding more useful features as time goes on, most likely making it more appealing to users. It's just in Google's nature to crank out new features for its products. The biggest advantage Google has with Buzz is that Google already has so many users among all of its products, and ultimately, it can put Buzz wherever it wants. I have a feeling Buzz has barely scratched the surface of what it will be. But we'll see.