On April 2nd, a social network with 400M active monthly users (and 2.2B profiles) will shut up shop. Why?
Remember the buzz about Google Buzz? Yeah, neither do I.
Except I vaguely recall something about it in the late 2000s, with Google mail users automatically being pushed into a social network, using information in those emails to link up with people. It was slapped with various law suits and shut down shortly afterwards.
Buzz was Google’s third attempt at a social network. It’s fourth (and probably) final will be shut down in a few weeks. The information will be deleted. Even this week, users won’t be able to create any new profiles or community pages or events. It is already in its death spiral.
Some of you (like me) would have received the ‘Dear John’ email earlier this week informing you of this.
Even the Good Die Young
How could Google (… Google!) mess something like this up, and how can something with 400M active monthly users be classed as a failure? How many of us would love just 1% of that traffic? Surely, there’d be a great business there.
Many of us would still have (dormant?) accounts. Launched in mid 2011, it seemed to be a breath of fresh air.
A nice, clean design, the concept of ‘Circles’ was clever, and many of us probably gave it a go, posted stuff on it for a while (maybe a year). For a while it trotted alongside LinkedIn, Facebook and the rest.
In many ways, Google+ was better than Facebook. You could post as much as you like (Facebook limited you to 500 characters at the time), and ‘follow’ people (as on Twitter) as opposed to having to ‘friend’ and ‘friend back’ people, as on the blue site.
But the traffic – though impressive enough – did not match the megagoths and within Google (as every organisation) there is always competition for resources.
Anyone remember ‘Google Real Estate’? They took any real estate listing and put it on their maps, for free, around 2009-2010.
It sent shock waves through the online real estate community. The large players were up in arms (Google was effectively competing against their own customers), although smaller players like me were delighted.
Within 18 months it was closed, and I remember talking to a former Yahoo! executive at the time. He told me how Google’s approach is capture and dominate, or kill. No half measures. And by any measure, Google+ never made it.
The final death knell was a major data breach, that was exposed last year, but had been happening for 3 years. Not only that, Google tried to keep it quiet. The cover up is often worse than the crime.
Coupled with the fact that users spend an average 5 seconds on the site per visit, the ‘powers that be’ concluded the gig was up.
Although enterprise users can use Google+ in their work places, the consumer site will close in 7 weeks. You can grab all your content here, or just leave it to be slowly deleted.