Google admitted to BBC News that they made some big mistakes with the new social service called Buzz. When Buzz released, it faced a sudden (and unexpected) backlash from several fronts, almost all concerned with privacy issues related to the service. Most of this was probably due to one simple mistake on Google’s part: lack of testing before launch.
Google now admits that they didn’t run the usual trials with external users (users outside of the Google intranet), as they normally do, and that mistake meant there were a lot of things that didn’t get checked “in the wild.” While Buzz was tested by 20,000 internal Google employees and others with access to the company’s intranet, it was not tested outside of that group, so they had no feedback from Internet users at large. Until launch, that is.
Now, amid controversy and backlash from users, Google is scrambling to make amends. Engineers and executives are gathered in a “war room” in the Mountain View, California headquarters of Google, reports the LA Times. Some changes have already been made and others are coming, all to appease privacy concerns and other user feedback.
Meanwhile, users continue to discuss Buzz and most often compare it to FriendFeed, which it most closely resembles. Most who make this comparison seem to think that Google copied all of the worst of FriendFeed‘s features and left the good stuff out.
If Google really wants to make Buzz better, they should probably listen to those concerns once they’ve completed dealing with the privacy issues. FriendFeed is a well-known service, but has become marginalized as users find it less and less useful.
Google Buzz was a good idea and could become something great in this space, but will need to incorporate some usability fixes first. The biggest are filters and changes for those with large lists of friends, whose Buzz box right now fills quickly with no way to control what is “on top” and most relevant.