I’ve always been willing to give Google more than their fairshare of credit. After all, I really believe they have bestowed me with the best email and search experience ever. I also appreciate efforts to integrate their core-competence – search – into everything they do.
But lately they’ve lost the plot with Google Buzz. It is at best, an annoyance. I tried hard to give it a chance but it seems pointless. Four reasons why:
1. Adding Twitter to an aggregator is an EPIC FAIL move: Twitter is fast. The very nature of its interface: light, uncluttered, 140 characters and exchanges happening in real-time implies the need to barter information quickly. What an aggregator like Buzz tries to do is reign in networking sites that run at different “speeds” into one box. I detest opening Gmail and reading tweets from five hours ago appearing in the Buzz timeline. It’s gone, dude. Five hours ago is a lifetime on Twitter! By the time I read a comment from one of my friends on a Buzz tweet, I’m like “Yeah…we kinda went through that whole thing earlier in the day”. It’s just not relevant anymore.
2. The experience: Every social media site has a user-experience tailored to its USP: Realtime interaction on Twitter, Rich-media and unlimited writing space on Facebook because chances are you’ll go back repeatedly for the same pictures, to the same status updates, etc. (Orkut and Myspace? Let’s never bring them into a social-media conversation again). Buzz is anchored in Gmail, which is a nifty interface but really not the best-looking. It’s like dumping hundreds of handwritten notes, priceless antiques and pieces of art into one ramshackle cabin and then asking us to appreciate the richness in our lives. :|
3. No theme: I use different social media for different reasons. Mashing information into one aggregator negates that purpose. Why would I want to read a litany of my friend’s Gtalk status messages and then follow it up with an irrelevant tweet on Nithyananda?
4.Frequency of Use: Kinda similar to point one but this time from my perspective (the user) and not the software. I don’t check Gmail continuously. Maybe because Gmails gets pushed onto my phone or because it is banned at work and so is never open all the time. Hence, I’m not obtaining topical information, nor am I enjoying the experience of connecting with friends the way I do occasionally on Facebook.
I’m aware they got slammed for privacy issues when Wave launched and here is a classic example of a knee-jerk reaction. I just turned-off Google Buzz and got a popup asking me if I was sure. Everything was written in big letters except that little check-box saying “Also unfollow everyone in Buzz, Reader, etc”. What? Why would I want to unfollow everyone in Reader? So now I’ve got to hunt for them and follow them again. Idiotic.
I’ve tried to like it. Didnt work, guys. Please think through your next innovation. Take some time, don’t try to do everything at once.
I Google Wave good-bye.