Google plans to shut down its Google Buzz service and the Buzz API within the span of "a few weeks." The announcement was made by Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product at Google in a blog post on the official Google blog. Titled "A fall sweep," Horowitz also announced the impending closure of various Google products such as Jaiku, Code Search and Google Labs, as well as the social networking features on its iGoogle site.
The move is part of a continuing effort by Google CEO Larry Page to streamline the company's business by killing underperforming products. Page had separately revealed that Google+ has passed the 40 million user mark the day before as part of the company's release of its third quarter financial results. Taken together, it is clear that Google is intent on maintaining the momentum behind Google+.
Users will no longer be able to create new posts once Buzz shuts down, though they can view their existing posts from their Google Profiles in future, says Horowitz. They can also be downloaded to a local computer using Google Takeout.
On his Google+ account, Horowitz elaborated more on the decision to retire Buzz in a post a day later. He wrote: "We think the time has come for us to focus our energy on projects that will have the most impact to the most users. With the majority of Buzz users now here on Google+, it became obvious that all of our attention should be focused on this community."
Dismissing the notion that Buzz was a waste of time, Horowitz credited the service with teaching Google the importance of privacy, the realization of which led the team to design privacy in "from the very beginning." In a candid reference to the furor over privacy when Google Buzz was first launched in February 2010, he wrote: "We learned privacy is not a feature… it is foundational to the product."
As a result, the decision was made to start slowly with Google+ in order to obtain real-world feedback that was used to tweak Google+. Horowitz says the feedback helped create what Google+ is today.
However, one aspect of the Buzz closure not addressed by Horowitz appears to be the age restriction (18+) that is currently imposed by Google+. As voiced by some concerned readers, existing Google Buzz users aged below 18 may well be forced to cross out Google from their list of social networking options if this is not changed.