Buzz was a great learning experience, says Google, but in a few weeks it will be shut down and all such efforts will be focused on Google Plus. The move will likely come as no surprise to Google-watchers, who noted that Buzz integration with Google+ was minimal. Additionally, the Google Labs page, as previously announced, will disappear after today.
“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,” Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product at Google, wrote in a blog post.
Buzz had a relatively short life span marked mostly by controversy and criticism. The product first drew ire at launch, when it automatically had people follow others based on their most frequent e-mail and chat contacts — Google failed to realize that users might not want their frequent correspondents’ identity made public. Later, that debacle led to an investigation and eventual settlement with the Federal Trade Commission under which Google agreed to undergo third-party privacy audits for the next 20 years.
Google said it would shut down Buzz in the next few weeks and reminded users they could extract their information via Google Takeout.
Labs, on the other hand, had been a fixture at Google for years. It’s well known as the place where many Google products were born. The Labs shutdown was a result of new CEO Larry Page’s efforts to streamline Google’s product portfolio and benefit from increased focus. Current projects in Labs are now listed with their status — but check soon because the page will disappear later today. Some projects were to be shut down and others incorporated into different areas of focus. Product-specific labs, such as Gmail Labs or Calendar Labs will continue.