Over the past few months, you have hyped yourself through the roof on two tools that fell not short - but dwarf-sized of the expectations. You rolled out Google Wave after months of speculation and hype - you rolled it out slowly, over a long long period of time. You rolled it out so slowly that by the time everyone had access to Google Wave, they still wanted access to it - and couldn't understand why. You're that good.
But Google Wave failed. And it didn't just fail in a big resounding disapproval. It faded in a resounding "eh" from the masses, and it faded out just as slowly and painfully as it was introduced. The only thing I am happy about relating to Google Wave was the temporary SEO boost from posts about it.
Next, we have Google Buzz - which was announced just the other day, and already is being used primarily to bash itself. Um. Enough said. Really, what do you say to further put-down a service that is being used to bash itself?
Here's what's wrong with Buzz:
1. Threads you're in get sent to your inbox
When you type a comment to anyone, or post on your own - every single comment and post following it gets automatically posted in your Gmail inbox as a new message. Google - I might be - we are not all community managers. You need to let people who get 3 emails a day keep getting 3 emails a day. They do not need a constant RSS-like stream of information. And I don't always want to know when someone wrote "Cool" about a Mashable article.
2. Twitter Stream integration doesn't require OAuth
This is absolutely ridiculous. And during among the thousands of rants against Google Buzz that have flooded my inbox was a post by Tamar Weinberg that mentioned that instead of @tamar she entered @tanar and was streaming the wrong tweets! What kind of security faux-pas is that, Google? You're a multi-billion dollar company with probably 75 lawyers sitting in a room picking their noses. Get them to finding out what the legal implications are of anyone being able to share anyone elses tweets are!
3. Newly commented-on posts get bumped to the top of the stream
I never get to see new posts. They're always immediately bumped to the bottom of the stream by the last 5 posts by Mashable. I love Mashable - but I would need to unfollow them on buzz if I wanted to see anyone else's status but theirs! That's ridiculous! It renders the stream useless if you follow any power-poster!
4. Following people on Buzz automatically adds them to your Reader list
This is horrible. After "trying out" Buzz, I casually glanced back at my Google Reader to find it raped by thousands of shares from people who I've just followed on Buzz! I don't want to see all of their crap. I just want to see the select info I hand-picked out of the craziness. But no - 'integration' was taken way out of context and Google Buzz ruined my Reader.
5. Privacy Issues with Followers/Following
Youc an see other people's following/followers. This has been freaking everyone out for days. This isn't Twitter, Google! You represent people's private lives - their email use. People don't want you to say "oh, you've been emailing about XYZ, maybe you'd be interested in being friends with Joe the Plumber!" And that's where it looks like it's going. Watch out, Google - you're in for a wold of pushback!
Bottom line is - you're a multi billion dollar company. Invest in test groups. Run a thousand of them before releasing a product like this. You're not a darling startup anymore - and your 'beta' projects are not cute. Test something correctly the way companies test products. Find out whether people like it or not first. I'll bet anythign that a test group would have buried this thing before it's release. There's no way you'd have gotten a good response.
And finally, I'd like to exclaim:
Itamar is a Social Media expert with a passion for growing and developing his talent for Social Marketing and New Media.