Recently, more attentive Gmail users will have noticed a discreet message at the top of their inboxes, declaring the demise of Google’s short-lived social networking system “Google Buzz.” Never heard of Google Buzz? Fair enough.
What the execs at the Mountain View “Googleplex” had hoped would grow to rival Facebook never really got off the ground. For myself (someone who spends a great deal of time using Google products every day), I can honestly say that I never understood what Buzz really was. I knew it was some kind of social networking service, allowing me to share information with my friends and colleagues by way of different “circles” (friends, family, work, etc.). But, beyond the basic premise, I never really understood how it was supposed to work, let alone become an integral part of my social experience. So, far from competing with Facebook (whose recently updated interface wasn’t well-received either at first), Google’s VP announced earlier this month that Buzz would be shuttered in short order.
Did anyone care? Not as far as I can discern, which is more telling than anything. Turns out, competing with Facebook is no easy task, even for the incredible hive-mind at Google.