Beware the buzz about Google+

Beware the buzz about Google+

Summary: Google Buzz came, was heralded, and died quietly in a corner. Will Google+ be the same? I don't know, and the rest of the world doesn't, either.

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TOPICS: CXO
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When you're in this business long enough, you get a little jaded about "the next great thing." Because the fact of the matter is, most folks who write about the tech industry are foremost fans -- and fans, as we all know, can be irrationally positive about something they're excited about.

It was only February 2010 when Google announced Buzz, it's Facebook-Twitter-social killer. And by jove, did a lot of people think it was the next coming of you-know-who.

A taste:

  • "Facebook just lost half its value. [Google] Buzz is better. Hands down." (Jason Calacanis)
  • "[With Buzz,] Google has finally created the definition of a game-changer." (Ben Parr)
  • "If Google Wave is the future, Google Buzz is the present." (MG Siegler)
  • "Google Buzz looks quite useful." (Liz Gannes)

(To be fair, Siegler offered a healthy dose of skepticism in his post. But he careened from "it could be perfect" to "it could be a misstep" in a single sentence. That's called hedging your bets.)

My point is not to hang these folks for poor judgment, but to use them to illustrate one simple point: take things you read with a grain of salt.

All of the folks above made judgments on the day Google announced its social service. Think about that -- how can you possibly consider a social service before people are using it? And moreover, how can you assume that how it's intended to be used will actually be the reality?

(As an early user of Facebook, I can attest that profile pages used to be the most interesting part of its early life. Now, they're mostly afterthoughts, and the feed is where all the action is. And now, family and colleagues are on it, too, changing the dynamic of how people use the site.)

Today, a lot of folks are talking about Google Plus (alternately, Google+), which is in limited preview. It's been dabbled with by a bunch of tech writers (not me, I hasten to add), and today, you're reading their thoughts on it.

It's a bit like reviewing a car by driving it across a dealer's parking lot.

So far:

  • "Google+ is by far the best effort in social that Google has put out there yet." (That MG loves to hedge his bets, doesn't he?)
  • "Only time will tell if Google has finally found its magical arrow." (Mr. Parr gets wise to his missteps.)
  • "Will [certain services] be enough to get traction with hundreds of millions of people? Doubtful." (Om Malik weighs in.)
  • (Jason Calacanis has yet to speak on the issue.)

So when it comes out, give it a shot. Decide for yourself. Then ask yourself why you'd need to read a review about a social networking service in the first place.

Topic: CXO

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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50 comments
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  • Isn't that always the way it is?

    Apple puts out something - "everyone else is toast." Microsoft puts out something - "everyone else is toast". Google puts out something - "everyone else is toast"

    In the end they all live together to varying degrees.
    To be fair to the writers, Google [b]was[/b] on a roll back then, and they would have likely been right.

    But with the discontinuation of so many things like Gears, Buzz, Wave, Healthcare, Utility dashboards, ect. (they all "spelled the doom of some competing product") writers got burned enough to sit back and let the market speak to how good it is.
    Will Pharaoh
    • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

      @Will Pharaoh
      Buzz hasn't been discontinued. I use it daily.

      Nice try, though.
      Droid101
      • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

        @Droid101

        Must be lonely...
        reklissrick
      • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

        @rekliss
        Nope, just the people I want on there are on there. If you're the king of your group, your group goes where you go.

        Facebook sucks. Once they allow me to export MY OWN CONTACTS, then we'll talk.
        Droid101
      • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

        @Droid101 [i]If you're the king of your group, your group goes where you go.[/i]

        Is the door that you fit your head through, large enough for all bulldozer?
        Badgered
      • You have a single friend?

        @Droid101

        Really?
        Bruizer
      • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

        @Badgered
        I have to squeeze. :)
        Droid101
      • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

        @Droid101
        "Once they allow me to export MY OWN CONTACTS, then we'll talk."

        Agreed. Facebook needs to open this up. Infact the internet is based on interoperability and Facebook is a closed shop.

        Most people have enough accounts and manage enough social networks already (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Friends-Reunited, many other national social networks, Mail contacts). I am not sure there is room/appetite enough for another one - no matter how good it is; unless/until Facebook royally screws up... they'll stay top of the pile.
        richard.e.morton@...
      • Google + is very interesting

        @Droid101
        I think that Google + will be a 'valuable resource for Google, a social service that will help many people. I thank you for the information and the professionalism demonstrated in these articles very illustrative.
        <a href="http://www.donnecercauomo.com">donna cerca uomo</a> .
        SirMio
    • Actually, you have one thing wrong: bloggers usually think Apple's products

      @Will Pharaoh: ... will not succeed, and it almost always turns out that they were wrong.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

        @DeRSSS

        Because the Apple faithful will buy Apple products no matter if they need them or not.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Apple 'faithful' only capable of buying like 700 thousand goods per quarter

        @Cylon Centurion: ... as sales in "dot bubble burst" of 2000 year showed. Now Apple have almost sixty times more buyers -- obviously, they could not be 'faithful', except for that tiny portion from the past.<br><br>But bloggers always went in runt how Apple's products will not succeed -- remember all these "iPhone does not have physical keyboard" or "iPad is just big iPod touch" thing?
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

        @DeRSSS

        The iPad IS a big iPod Touch. I've always said that... However I've always thought that some people would WANT a big iPod touch. I also don't think it's the device for me...
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

        @ snoop0x7b
        It is NOT a big iPod touch. It has additional capabilities, hardware, and platform-only apps. WTF are you talking about?
        DeusXMachina
    • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

      @Will Pharaoh

      That's a great observation... Although the word they always use with Apple is "Game Changer" or "Magical".
      snoop0x7b
    • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

      @Will Pharaoh

      In my opinion, Google Buzz is Facebook for adults, or a not so serious version of LinkedIn. The friend's status updates on it I enjoy reading much more. Facebook is full of trivial junk. The only drawback is I have some of my interesting friends aren't on Buzz yet.
      colinnwn
  • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

    <I>"Google Buzz came, was heralded..."</I>

    Google Buzz was heralded? Really? I remember it being quite the opposite, actually...
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Agreed

      @Cylon Centurion
      It was the bloggers who killed Google Buzz. The service itself was not bad, but everybody seemed to think it was their duty to tell everyone is was a bad and evil service.
      FanaticGeek
    • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

      @Cylon Centurion I'm actually using the beta right now. It is working great on <a href="http://www.ipadizate.es">iPad 1</a>. Definitely a clean interface and the group circles let's you share who you want to share with from the start. Also, automatically uploads your photos from your phone. Another plus is if you have a droid phone and beside that you can win <a href="http://www.motorspain.com">nissan juke</a>.
      dejan001
  • RE: Beware the buzz about Google

    Tired of this Google this project, Google that project news... Google is simply barking with no bite with all these useless stuff... Stop copying and do something that is innovative and do it well.
    owlnet