Is Google's +1 Button Killing Google Buzz Already?

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Google Buzz has never lived up to Google's hopes for the service. That seems pretty clear now. Much like the ill-fated Google Wave, it launched to much hype (not to mention privacy concerns), but for the most part fizzled out in terms of user interest.

Even Buzz users (I count myself among them, to some extent) aren't exactly radiating with enthusiasm for the service, and quite frankly, Google has done little in the way of enhancing the service since its launched.

Now here comes the Google +1 Button, Google's latest social sharing button, which has a direct impact on search rankings. Clearly webmasters and publishers have greater incentive to use this than they do Google Buzz, especially considering the ongoing challenges of SEO and ever-changing Google algorithm.

Today, Google launched the +1 button for websites, and sites all over the place are already ditching the Buzz button on their content in favor of the +1 button. Prior to the release, we wondered if site owners would find room for both, and it appears that many are not.

Plenty of industry publications have already made their decisions. TechCrunch, Mashable, and Search Engine Land, ReadWriteWeb, and we here at WebProNews have already switched out Buzz for +1 on article pages. I'm sure the list of sites goes on and on.

Google did address this somewhat when the +1 button was announced. “Buzz button[s] are used for starting conversations about interesting web content (‘Hey guys, what do you think about this news story?’),” the company said. “+1 buttons recommend web content to people in the context of search results (‘Peng +1′d this page’), and +1′s from social connections can help improve the relevance of the results you see in Google Search. Soon, you’ll be able to use the +1 button, or the Buzz button, or both—pick what’s right for your content.”

Apparently site owners are not too concerned about Buzz conversations around their content. I'd wager that Google will address this issue again in the near future.

Google Buzz still sits in the Gmail inbox. How often it actually gets checked, and by how many people is anybody's guess.

It's entirely possible that Google just effectively put a big nail in the coffin of its last major social attempt. Perhaps not the final nail, but I don't see any indication that Buzz is gaining any ground. I suppose one positive aspect of this for Buzz is that the +1 shares appear on the Google Profile in a tab next to a Google Buzz tab. Assuming that people actually visit these profiles to look at +1 shares (and that's a big assumption), they could be reminded of Buzz and see what these same people are "buzzing" about. Chances are that in most cases, they're simply syndicating updates from other networks like Twitter.

A privacy group did just win $500,000 from a Google Buzz settlement.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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