JACK OF ALL TRADES Google has announced that it will shut down its Buzz micro-blogging service as it concentrates more on its Facebook rival Google+.
The change comes as Google's CEO Larry Page continues efforts to streamline the business by axing under-performing products.
Google has not announced a date for closing Buzz, but said that it will be within a few weeks. It also said that existing Buzz posts will still be viewable on users' Google Profiles, while Google Takeout will allow users to download their posts to their computer. Users can also delete their Buzz accounts altogether.
Several other Google products will be closed on 15 January, 2012, including: Code Search and the Code Search API, designed to help programmers find open source code on the web; friend updater service Jaiku, which Google bought in 2007; the University Research Program for Google Search, designed to give academic researchers API access to search results; and the Igoogle social features, which will be replaced by features of Google+.
These join a list of other products that Google shut down recently, including the Google Labs web site as well as Boutiques.com and Like.com, both of which will be replaced by Google Product Search. In early September the company announced that it would shelve 10 more products, but most of them were low key experiments that never really took off.
In comparison, Buzz was a high profile Google product that it launched as a potential Twitter competitor in early 2010, but an automatic opt-in and poor privacy features led to significant negative publicity that it failed to recover from, despite Google having swiftly addressed it.
Buzz' integration with Google+, with its own tab beside the +1 tab, was an effort to breathe in new life to the product, but it has largely failed to do so. While posts can still be viewed from a Google Profile, the Buzz tab on Google+ will disappear. It's unlikely that Google will try to replace this feature any time soon, as users can simply make normal status updates on Google+ with far more detail than what was possible on Buzz.
"We aspire to build great products that really change people's lives, products they use two or three times a day," said Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product at Google. "To succeed you need real focus and thought - thought about what you work on and, just as important, what you don't work on. It's why we recently decided to shut down some products, and turn others into features of existing products. ... We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google+." µ
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