Google+ has taken the social network world by storm and created significant demand in a relatively short period of time--and that is just for the invitation-only beta version. While clicking around my Google-verse, though, I stumbled upon something which seems to indicate that Google+ is just Google Buzz with a fresh coat of paint.
Do you remember Google Buzz? You should. It was only last year that Google launched the attempt at social networking.
When Google Buzz was unveiled, it received a similar shower of praise and accolades. Google Buzz was going to take over the world and show Facebook and Twitter what a real social network is capable of...until it didn't.
When the world rushed to Google Buzz--or rather when Google dumped Google Buzz on the world--reality quickly set in and the honeymoon was over. It turns out, Google Buzz had some significant privacy issues, and didn't quite live up to the expectations set by the initial fawning reviews.
Fast forward to now, and it's hard not to draw comparisons between the way Google Buzz was initially received and the current wave of Google+ mania. This recent Between The Lines blog post by Andrew Nusca illustrates the point quite well.
Google+ isn't Google Buzz, though. Or, is it? Certainly, Google+ is different from Google Buzz. It has that snazzy Circles concept that lets you drag and drop picture of your contacts to assign them to different groups--Buzz didn't have that. But, beneath the hood, it seems that Google+ is essentially Google Buzz 2.0--Google Buzz with a cool user interface and a fresh bag of tricks.
Before you tell me I am wrong, or crazy, or both--go try to disable your Buzz account. If you ever joined the Buzz world, it should still there lurking around in your Gmail somewhere. I saw Buzz in the left pane while I was using Gmail and clicked on it just to see what is even there now. I decided that since I don't use it, and I have Google+ now, I don't really need Buzz, so I clicked on the link that says "Turn off Buzz".
That is where the fun begins. That click brought me to the account settings page for Buzz. At the bottom of those settings is a section called Disable Buzz, with a similarly named link--"Disable Google Buzz". Beneath that link is a description that reads, "This will disable Google Buzz in Gmail and delete your Google Profile and Buzz posts. It will also disconnect any connected sites and unfollow you from anyone you are following."
That seemed like a reasonable description of what I was trying to do, so I clicked "Disable Google Buzz". That's where things got sticky. The next window that appeared was titled "Delete Google+ content and your entire Google Profile." What? Hold on. I want to disable or delete Google Buzz. I didn't click on anything indicating that I want to delete Google+.
It seems a bit suspicious that "Disable Google Buzz" would lead to "Delete Google+ content" unless the two are really one and the same. You can try this experiment with your Buzz account, but your mileage may vary. Google+ continues to quickly assimilate the Google-verse, and things behind the scenes seem to be changing rapidly.
Google is melding Google+ with the rest of the Google tools, and in the process it may have also tied up loose ends and removed evidence of the direct relation between Google Buzz and Google+. I confirmed the experience on multiple accounts, though, and captured it using Problem Steps Recorder in Windows 7, so I can at least tell you how it worked a week ago.
Is Google+ just a revamped Google Buzz 2.0? It really doesn't matter as long as Google has learned some lessons from the Google Buzz experience, and applied those lessons to come back from the ashes with a better social network. It's only an issue if Google+ is really just Google Buzz with some lipstick on.