Dec 23, 2010

Leo Laporte Dizzes Buzz Again... And Why He Might Be Right

I know it's a sensitive topic. I just listened to "This Week in Google 74" and Leo said that he doesn't check Buzz anymore because "nobody is on there" and recalled the incident where some Buzz-Users were outraged and tried to attack the chatroom and "mess everything up". It was a weak attack. Only a very few people did that. Leo was joking about "It was like three people".

Maybe Leo Laporte is right.
Now, please read this whole post, even there is a lot of text.
I mentioned before that there is a very active core-group of people on Buzz. And some of them are screwing it up, trying to install their own view of how Buzz should be. And that is the problem. It's perfectly normal that people want their place like they want it. If there are enough people, it regulate itself. If the core-group is too powerful, it's a place for them, and no one else.

Google Buzz is on the edge of becoming a small user-group. And that's sad. It has so much potential. I want Buzz to be widely adopted for everyone. But that seems to be less and less realistic.
When Leo said, that nobody is on there, he greatly exaggerated, but he isn't totally wrong. I can see only a few people are posting and actively participating in Buzz. This does not include people that only stream their photos and tweets and other stuff into Google Buzz. I got more requests from spammers than from real people. And that's sad again, in this early stage. Even identi.ca has more active users than Google Buzz at this time. I like the discussion feature. It's great. But there are only some dozens people that commenting at all, and I don't mean at my postings, but all what I can see, even at the most important users' posts.

What is the problem?
Well, it seems that Google misses one thing: Ads! Yes, you read it. Even Google can't just start a social network (is it?) and do no advertisement at all, while Twitter and Facebook has an overwhelming number of users. And not to forget the other dozens of services that offers parts or more than Google Buzz.

Can you blame someone?
No, I don't think so. All in all it should work. Great comments feature, shows up nice excerpts of postings, Google Reader integration. The only thing missing, a decent profile page where you can introduce yourself and give more information and connections to other sites. The Google profile is not what I think it should be. And it seems that I'm not alone with this view. The Google profile page has never accepted to be a "entry" for your online activities.

What should be done?
Promote it. No, not you, the users, but Google. Big time! Add more social features. The most social thing in the world e.g. Games. And other stuff like Places, Latitude, Maps (for showing locations inline in Buzzes), GTalk, better Mail2Buzz (I want complete formatted posts with multiple pictures via mail, like Blogger), and much more connection related stuff. Better filters and so on. The strange thing is, almost everything is already available from Google. But isn't integrated into Google Buzz. Sad.

Conclusion
I want Buzz to be successful. I love it. It could be even better. But there are not enough active people on Buzz. I hope this changes. But Google has to get a grip on it, now.
Leo doesn't have time to waste. I think he should helping to promote Google Buzz as he says himself, that it's great. But who can blame him for having enough of it, when he gets attacked for criticism by a bunch of outraged core-buzzers? It shows that Buzz is not there for prime-time. It's like a village right in front of a big metropolis, and if it doesn't grow quickly and being more than a place where a small user-group has so much influence, it's gonna get eaten.