As you may have heard, Google announced that it will be shutting down Google Buzz. The truth is, many of us have been waiting for Google to make the move.
Even when Google gave webmasters the +1 button to add to their sites, we quickly saw it substituted for many Google Buzz buttons. In July, Google was already shutting down some of its own Buzz accounts in favor of Google+ accounts.
Google VP, Product Bradley Horowtiz said Buzz and the Buzz API will be shut down in a few weeks, and that while people won't be able to create new posts, they'll be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it with Google Takeout.
What did we learn from Buzz? Plenty. We learned privacy is not a feature... it is foundational to the product. And this awareness gave us the resolve to design privacy in from the very beginning, which led to Circles for sharing the right information with the right people, as well as transparency around which parts of your profile can be seen by whom. We also learned how compelling it is to have meaningful conversations with interesting people, which we're happy to see happening all the time in Google+.
But probably the best lesson we learned is about how to introduce a product. We started very slowly with Google+ -- in a limited Field Trial - in order to listen and learn and gather plenty of real-world feedback. Your participation in the process is helping create what Google+ is today.
So why retire Buzz now? Well, we think the time has come for us to focus our energy on projects that will have the most impact to the most users. And creating these great products requires great focus. With the majority of Buzz users now here on Google+, it became obvious that all of our attention should be focused on this community.
It seems as though Google has put a lot more time and energy into Google+ in the short time it's been around than it has in Google Buzz's entire time of existence (which is isn't really all that long itself). As Larry Page talked up Google+ in the company's earnings call the other day, he referenced "100 features in 90 days".
Buzz may have been the butt of more than a few jokes, but it is clear that it will be missed by some. That much is evident from perusing the comments on Horowitz's post. A few examples:
Florian Rohrweck: Buzz was a great product... I loved it from day one and I will miss it
Brian Wisti: I'll miss Buzz. It had a strong enough API that there was a useful third party iPhone app for it: Buzzooka. I also miss other stuff: the looser handling of things like user names, the integration into GMail and Reader.
Brian Johnson: 2 things I miss a lot from Buzz -- Buzz/Maps integration and the ability to share from Reader directly to Buzz. I loved the ability to go into Maps and see the public Buzzes from around the area -- it was fun and allowed you a way to find new people to interact with. And, well, the Reader integration speaks for itself.
Most, however, seem to acknowledge that they expected Buzz to end sooner or later, and look forward to Google+ growing and getting better. Of course, these are the people that are already using Google+. Google+ has its fair share of skeptics as well.
Will you miss Google Buzz?