They say that the worst part of a dying relationship has nothing to do with love or hate. It's the indifference that can be excruciating. When the other party does not care.
That may be the sad lesson we are seeing with Google Buzz. Services that are soaring in popularity will get oodles of attention for every feature that is added. Services that are fading get almost no buzz at all.
Google Apps, GMail and Google Maps garner excitement for new features. We write about them here on the pages of ReadWriteWeb as do other blogs and news organizations. Google Buzz is getting no attention at all. No one cares when it launches a new feature for developers.
Google Buzz Track is a case in point.
Last week, Google Buzz introduced Track in a blog post by Ivaylo Popov of the Google Buzz team. Track is offered through the Google Buzz API. It provides a way for developers to add a search feature that gives the user the ability to find Google Buzz updates on a particular topic such as coffee or tea. The updates come in real-time. It uses Pubsubhubbub.
The post goes on to explain the feature and its use. You can give it a test run in Google Reader to see how it works:
For example, if you'd like to receive all the new public Google Buzz posts about coffee or tea, simply open Google Reader, click "Add a subscription," and paste in the following URL:
This seems kind of interesting but nothing truly super fantastic. But the interest in Google Buzz is so low that not one major technology blog or news organization picked up the story. That says a lot about the degree of interest in Google Buzz, a service that had one of the rockiest starts of any app we have seen in the past year.
Google launched as part of GMail to get more users. It auto-followed people based on who users most often communicated with in Gmail. It ended up revealing all kinds of private information such as email and chat habits.
Google desperately wanted Google Buzz to match the deep swell in popularity that Twitter had enjoyed. It did not work. Instead, it lead to distrust.
Can cloud developers learn something from Google Buzz? It seems so.
Google tried to engineer interest in Google Buzz. It did not beta test the service. It made trade offs that created major privacy issues. Google Buzz became a symbol of what can happen when a service crosses the line.
Google wanted success too bad. It tried to leverage GMail like Microsoft used its operating system to garner interest in its online services. That practice haunted Microsoft.
And the practices Google used to launch Google Buzz is now coming back to haunt as well.
Cloud providers walk a thin line. The goal is to develop a great service that excites developers. But it's also important to make it compelling. Users hang in the balance. Cross that line and you will see the results. The issues may not appear immediately but over time the results will be clear.