Tag Archives: buzz

Google Buzz is Dead, Long Live Google Plus

Today Google announced that they are discontinuing several products including Google Buzz, Jaiku, Code Search, iGoogle Social and the University Research Program for Google Search. I have to admit I am not familiar with either Code Search or the University Program for Google Search. I did however use and participate in both Jaiku and Buzz. Jaiku was a competitor to Twitter that never caught on with the masses. Google brought it in 2007. Google Buzz was seen by many people as Google’s first attempt to go social and compete directly against Facebook and Twitter. It allowed you to share photos, links, and videos with your friends and contacts. It was integrated right in Gmail, which many people found intrusive and rebelled against. Many of its features have been integrated into Google Plus, so having both seemed redundant. Once it shuts down in a few weeks you will not be able to make any further post. You will still be able to see your post under your Google Profile. You can also download the information using Google Takeout. It is an easy process.

  • First go to Google Takeout and sign into your Google account, if you are not already signed in
  • Create an archive
  • Choose Buzz under choose a service
  • You then have to sign into your google account again
  • Hit Download and you will get a zip file
  • Unzip the file
  • The outer folder will be named your gmail name -backup
  • Inner folder will be named buzz
  • The individual post are HTML

They are organized by date and may or may not have titles depending on how they were original post. Every time you try to open up one of the files, it will give you the this is a web application are you sure you want to open it warning, which gets a little tiring after a while. I wish there was someway to ok an entire folder. It is fun to go through some of the things that I posted to Google Buzz, it is a snapshot of what I thought was important or at least eye-catching at that time. The one thing I forgot about was how connected Google Buzz was with other services such as Tumblr, Posterous and Flickr to name a few. That has yet to happen with Google Plus and I have to admit I miss it. It is clear that Buzz’s integration into Google mail, which they saw as its strength was the one thing that people disliked the most. Clearly that is something that the team at Google learned when they created Google Plus. I don’t know if Google Plus is going to be successful over the long run (I hope it will be) but I see it as a step in a long road that included Google Buzz, Orkut, and even Google Wave. I suspect Google will continue to create projects like Google Buzz and Jaiku. They will keep what works and get rid of what doesn’t, much to both the delight and frustration of their users

Bye Buzz – Yahoo Buzz that is

Y Buzz
Y Buzz

Yahoo! continues to condense the Yahoo! Giant. This time, it’s Yahoo! Buzz – the Digg-like site that aggregates news articles. In a statement made on the website, it says:

Yahoo! Buzz will be discontinued as of April 21, 2011. As of this date, you will be unable to access the Yahoo! Buzz site. This was a hard decision. However this will help us focus on our core strengths and new innovations.

We appreciate your patronage.

The Yahoo! Buzz Team

In the last 6 months, Yahoo! has continued to close down properties. Yahoo! 360, MyBlogLog, AllTheWeb and more. All put in mothballs.

Some properties continue to thrive – for now. Delicious almost saw demise, but Yahoo! corrected by stating the bookmarking site is actually “For Sale” (unless it did get sold. Last time I heard, the sale was unofficial news). Other sites we saw for sale were Yahoo! HotJobs (sold to Monster) and it’s search engine (to Microsoft).

No word why Buzz isn’t getting sold. Maybe they tested the market waters and no one wanted it.

Do You have the Buzz Widget on your Website?

One thing to note – if you installed the Buzz widget on your site, you might want to take it off.

No, not the Google Buzz widget. That’s still around.

Yahoo! Buzz launched Feb 26, 2008 to tepid fanfare. They launched to counter Digg. Earlier this year when content farms got hit with a new Google algorithm, Digg had to restructure. I guess Yahoo just wanted to be done with it.


Google Family Safety Centre

Google FamilyGoogle has setup the Family Safety Centre to help parents and teachers keep their children safe online.  After spending a little time in the resource, it seems to be a good introduction to online safety for children from a parent’s point of view.  If you need to know more, you can then take it further through some of the links.

The Centre has four main sections:

i) Google Safety Tools – information on Safesearch, which stops inappropriate material being returned in searches, and YouTube Safety Mode, which similarly stops age-restricted videos from appearing.

ii) Advice from partners – information from children’s organisations on cyberbullying, privacy, talking to strangers online, adult content and malware.

iii) Reporting abuse – if you find inappropriate material on any of Google’s properties (YouTube, Buzz, Picasa, Blogger), here’s how to flag the material to Google.

iv) Video tips from Google parents – a set of videos on YouTube from parents to parents.  In this section there’s also six basic tips for on-line safety.  Frankly, I think these tips should be more prominent as they’re good.
Keep computers in a central place
– Know where your children go online
– Teach internet safety
– Help prevent viruses
– Teach your children to communicate responsibly
– View all content critically

Each country has its own slight variant, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, US and UK versions – there are probably others for non-English speakers. The main difference seems to be the list of partner organisations that Google has worked with (and spelling).

If you are a parent, you should spend a few minutes having a read of the information here.

Apple Ping: Apple’s Social Network that’s Not Very Social

Apple Ping
Apple Ping

I took the time to download iTunes 10 over the weekend. With it, the new service – Ping. A social network within a walled garden of iTunes.

But not really that much of a social network

The service is simple to activate. Apple – just like Google did with Buzz – placed an icon on the sidebar of iTunes. You select it and the service asks you to turn it on. You can turn the service off at any time, but you have to go hunting that option…

Once you set up your profile, you are ready to start. Just like Twitter, you find your friends and start following them. They can turn around and follow you – or maybe not.

Why it’s not a Social Network

It’s simple: you don’t get to be social at all unless an approved action or transaction takes place. You can friend someone, you can like and comment on something that happened, but you cannot really initiate a conversation. At least, I cannot seem to find a way to do that…

There is no “What are you doing now” type option. I have to wait for someone to purchase something to reply. It’s like sitting in class until a teacher says something – you can then raise your hand to comment or question.

Selective content to Ping

Since I don’t have cable in my house, I purchase the season pass for “Mad Men” through iTunes. I was surprised to not see that Ping did not post: Jeffrey Powers watched episode 405 of Mad Men. It didn’t post: Jeffrey Powers just subscribed to these podcasts or that I just downloaded the latest and greatest iPhone app.  I couldn’t even press a button to announce that I was doing stuff on iTunes.

However, I can download a song, choose to “Like” it and that information will show up in Ping.

What? I have to keep iTunes open now?

Some of us don’t think too much on this – you might have iTunes open all the time. However, I try to keep a minimum amount of programs open.

When iTunes is open, it also opens up Apple Mobile Device Helper, disnoted (for iPhone connection) and a series of other processes depending on what you have connected to your iTunes. The full list  of processes are on Apple’s website. Not all of those processes end when I close iTunes.


Apparently, spammers hit the page as quickly as they did with Buzz and Facebook. Apple has taken steps to resolve that one. Being behind that walled garden might help curb issues. Still, if people stop using this service, it could become a constant problem. Spammers seem to love any open door.

Will Ping replace Facebook?

Not at this current stage. I always said you would have to add Farmville and MafiaWars to have that happen. Apple doesn’t even let people know what apps you bought on your iPhone.

At most it’s a sounding board for musical artists. Instead of hearing about politics, technology or sports; you find out about what music is new and what people’s tastes are in music.

For instance, if you looked at my Ping profile, you will find out my musical tastes and what songs I just downloaded.

In summary, Ping is the social network that lets you talk when it’s your turn. You can only talk about the stuff posted on the board – which is limited. I cannot even find my Twitter friends easily, which might be a good thing. You must use iTunes to use it, so if you don’t use iTunes to purchase music, this service is completely useless.

One more thing: I tried to check out the privacy policy and all I got was this (it’s the only link on the page that fails):

Ping Privacy Policy
Ping Privacy Policy

What’s That Buzz?

By now, most of you have probably heard about the backlash against Google regarding some of the pre-sets on their new Buzz social networking push. What sounded like a little fun turned out to be a nightmare of privacy violations and sharing of information without permission.

What concerns me is that no one at Google had any idea that people might be upset by their information going public in such a broad and unfettered way. I had not even looked at Buzz, although there was a little icon on my left-hand links on gmail page. But on Friday I saw a forwarded post from a friend of mine on Facebook pointing out some pretty glaring privacy breaches with the new Buzz, and I immediately went over there and took a look at that icon.

I was completely appalled. I was automatically linked to the last six or seven people I had emailed from my gmail account. I have no idea what I was seeing, in honesty, it looked like twitter posts or bits of emails sent by several of my friends and from some colleagues. And while I could un-link from any of those people that I wanted, I did not have the option to just turn off Buzz completely. I was already enrolled, linked, hooked up, etc., without any sort of opt-in from me.

Over the weekend I heard even more horror stories, and finally a response from Google. They are apparently making a few changes to remove those automatic links and showings of your “circle of friends,” and making it possible to completely turn off Buzz from your settings. So far, those changes haven’t happened yet, but Google says they are rolling them out “over the next few days.” The minute it does, I’ll be shutting off Buzz.

Everyone uses their web-based email accounts differently. For me, gmail is not my first or preferred email; I don’t like how it threads emails so it is not useful for listserv mail for me, and I basically use it with only a few people and for emergency emails I have to send when I can’t get to my laptop. So the far-reaching implications of Google’s implementation of Buzz doesn’t affect me deeply. But for others who use gmail for everything, the lack of privacy in the Buzz rollout may have caused irreparable damage. I read at least two reports of people who had been exposed to ex-spouses and or abusers, and that alone is chilling.

What Google failed to consider, or ignored (I’m not sure which) is that not everyone I communicate with via an email account is someone I want in a social network. I talk to a lot of people via email. Not all of those people are in my Facebook, for example, nor do I want them to be. Google’s assumption that anyone I have contact with in email should be in my social circle and therefore able to see each other was misguided at best, and dangerous at worst.

I hope the changes are rolled out sooner rather than later, and that Google learns from this experience. I don’t ever want something like this shoved on me again. Makes me want to even further limit what I do in gmail, that’s for sure.