Google to kill Buzz, focus social efforts on Plus

October 14, 2011

Google is getting ready to press the mute button on Buzz, an online social networking service that turned into a massive faux pas.

Buzz will be shut down within the next few weeks, according to a Friday post on Google Inc.'s blog.

The 20-month-old service probably won't be missed. If anything, Buzz is destined to be remembered as Google's botched attempt to build a social network to rival Facebook's online hangout.

Google now is focusing its social networking efforts on Plus, a 3 1/2 month-old service that has been catching on quickly. Plus already has more than 40 million users, and Google CEO Larry Page seems confident that it will become an effective weapon for fighting the threat posed by Facebook and its audience of 800 million users.

In a conference call Thursday to discuss Google's third-quarter earnings, Page promised the company will be weaving more of the company's products into Plus to ensure that users get an "automagical" experience.

Many of Buzz's early adopters felt betrayed.

Buzz got into trouble because of the way Google tied it to its email service. After it was activated, Buzz automatically created social circles that exposed users' most frequent Gmail contacts for everyone to see. That kind of transparency didn't go over well with people whose contact lists included secret lovers, ex-spouses, doctors and prospective employers.

Google overhauled Buzz to give people more control over their information, but the changes came too late to placate outrage users and privacy watchdogs.

The uproar triggered an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which reprimanded Google for violating its own privacy policies. Google apologized for its lapse and entered into a settlement requiring Google to submit its privacy program to independent audits every other year for the next two decades. The company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., also agreed to give $8.5 million to Internet privacy and policy organizations to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by Gmail users.

"Changing the world takes focus on the future, and honesty about the past," Bradley Horowitz, a Google vice president, wrote in Friday's blog post. "We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google Plus."

Buzz will join more than 20 other products and services that Page has closed since he replaced Eric Schmidt as CEO in April. Page says he wants to "put more wood behind fewer arrows" as Google tries to maintain its dominance of Internet search and advertising while it duels with Apple Inc. for supremacy in the increasingly important smartphone market.

The strategy seems to be paying off so far. Google third-quarter earnings rose 26 percent to $2.7 billion to blow past analyst estimates. The performance lifted Google's stock price by $32.69, or nearly 6 percent, to close Friday at $591.68.

Explore further: Privacy group files FTC complaint on Google Buzz

0 shares

Related Stories

Privacy group files FTC complaint on Google Buzz

February 16, 2010

(AP) -- A privacy watchdog group complained to federal regulators on Tuesday about Google's new Buzz social networking service, saying it violates federal consumer protection law.

Google agrees to settle Buzz class action for $8M

November 3, 2010

(AP) -- Google Inc., the top Web search provider, will allocate about $8.5 million to Internet privacy and policy organizations as part of a class action settlement involving its Buzz social hub.

Google reaches privacy settlement with FTC

March 31, 2011

(AP) -- Google has agreed to adopt a comprehensive privacy program to settle federal charges that it deceived users and violated its own privacy policy when it launched a social networking service called Buzz last year.

Recommended for you

A not-quite-random walk demystifies the algorithm

December 15, 2017

The algorithm is having a cultural moment. Originally a math and computer science term, algorithms are now used to account for everything from military drone strikes and financial market forecasts to Google search results.

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ThanderMAX
not rated yet Oct 15, 2011
Good riddance

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.