Google just announced that it is preparing to shut down Google Buzz, its failed social network, in the coming weeks. Users will still be able to see their posts to Buzz in their Google Profiles, though, and be able to export them through Google Takeout. In addition, Google is also shutting down Jaiku, the micro-blogging platform it bought in 2007 and which never caught on, as well as Code Search, all of iGoogle’s social features and the University Research Program for Google Search. All of these products will close in January 2012.
As previously announced, Google Labs is also closing its doors today.
It really doesn’t come as a surprise that Google is shutting down Buzz. Given the success of Google+, keeping Buzz alive really didn’t make much sense for the company. Buzz’s legacy, one can surmise, will likely be that it was the failed experiment that finally got Google to dedicate enough time and manpower to building a successful social network. Few people, I would imagine, will miss Buzz.
The other closures, too, don’t really come as a surprise. Indeed, few users probably remember Jaiku today and Google itself already announced that it would stop developing the service in 2009.
At one point, the social features on iGoogle looked as if they could become the kernel of Google’s social initiatives, but like so many Google products, they remained relatively undeveloped and lingered in a kind of limbo that sadly isn’t unusual at Google.
All of these closures, of course, have to be seen within the wider contexts of Google’s recent drive to shut down underperforming products since Larry Page took over from Eric Schmidt as the company’s CEO. Just a month ago, Google closed 10 products, including Aardvark, Google Desktop, SideWiki, FastFlip and a number of APIs.