Google Buzz turned one earlier this month, but it has seemingly languished in the doldrums of development since the summer, when upgrades flowed. Is this a quiet period for Google +1?
Google Buzz, the search
engine's social conversation service, turned one year old Feb. 9, 2011, but
most people wouldn't know it without the benefit of closely following the
Once the pinnacle of
Google's social software efforts, Buzz has been seemingly backburnered as the
company undertakes the difficult process of layering social functionality
across its swath of Web services.
Feb. 9 as a promising social service that lets users pubish status
updates, links, videos, photos and other content to their contacts on Gmail.
Within the first 24 hours
of using the product, several users discovered
that Buzz surfaced the e-mail and chat contacts Buzz users follow,
or who follow them, on Buzz users' Google profile pages.
Google made the service
auto-suggest instead of auto-follow but ultimately paid $8.5
million to settle a class-action lawsuit related to its privacy breaches.
Privacy snags aside, Buzz
was a hit early on. After the first week of use, tens of millions of Gmail
users created more than 9 million posts and comments. Buzz's viral nature had
many users comparing it to Facebook and Twitter. The company spent the next
several months furiously iterating and improving Buzz's usability.
Fast forward a year later.
Buzz isn't dead, but has the woeful smell of a service winding down. Track the
Google Buzz team profile
and you'll note that the group added richer photo support to the Buzz API back
But the last big flurry of
Buzz news dates to September, when the Buzz team began allowing users to share
their Picasa Web Albums in Buzz; mute sources by post; and edit posts and
comments on mobile Buzz.
EWEEK reached out to
Google to speak to a Buzz team member to learn whether Buzz had been shelved
for lack of interest. A spokesperson declined to make one available, but said
Buzz is very much alive, noting that the service has "millions of users
When eWEEK pointed out
that from launch through the summer there were a number of features rolled out,
but that innovation seemed to have slowed to a crawl, the spokesperson said:
"We're continuing to
add features that give people new ways to share and interact within our
products. As we develop these, we plan to make sure they are well-integrated
with our existing offerings, including Google Buzz."
That's an admission that some major social reshuffling is afoot at Google, which is
comforting considering the company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars
investing in Zynga, and buying social software makers
such as Slide, Angstro,
SocialDeck and Jambool, among others.
It involves deep technical
work to build bridges between Google's dozens of siloed Web services, from
Google Search and Google News, to Buzz, itself, which hovers atop Gmail like
the ghost of social software past.
What we're talking about,
in a most elliptical way that one can talk about the elephant in the room, is
, that social layer initiative
the search engine is planning.
What role will Buzz play,
if any, in Google's rethinking of social connections through social layers Google
CEO Eric Schmidt as alluded to when prompted? It's unclear, though Altimter
Group's Jeremiah Owyang has his own ideas.
Owyang noted that with
popular Facebook's partners such as Zynga starting to uncouple from Facebook,
and Twitter data being available to reuse and remix, this provides
opportunities for Google to aggregate and build interesting new use cases.
figured out the secret sauce to how they'll integrate social media into their
existing strategy, they've had a series of innovative attempts and a handful of
purchases, but haven't hit their 'home run' yet," Owyang said.
Stay tuned. Google Buzz
may be quiet, but the Google hive is still buzzing.