Google Buzz was a social networking and microblogging tool which replaced the real-time collaborative editing tool Google Wave. Google Buzz was integrated into Gmail and allowed users to share publicly or privately to a group of friends content from platforms like Google Reader, Picasa, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, and others.
Buzz is the search engine giant’s first direct attempt to compete with Facebook and Twitter. Buzz’s heavy integration with Gmail and the “no setup needed” policy was likely an attempted to leverage Gmail’s extreme popularity to skyrocket the adoption of Buzz, but this strategy backfired:
Buzz was heavily criticized right from its inception for severe privacy problems. CBC reported that "One user blogged about how Buzz automatically added her abusive ex-boyfriend as a follower and exposed her communications with a current partner to him. Other bloggers commented that repressive governments in countries such as China or Iran could use Buzz to expose dissidents".
These problems were made infinitely worse by the “no setup needed” policy, which meant that a lot of people that never intentionally signed up for Buzz had these issues.
The privacy controversy led to a lawsuit that cost the search engine giant $8.5 million. More importantly, however, it damaged heavily the goodwill of the Buzz brand.
Google Buzz was officially shut down less than two years after its inception, and users were told that a read-only version of their Buzz data would migrate to Google Drive.
Buzz was replaced by Google’s biggest swing at the social media market – Google+, which turned into one of Google’s most legendary failures itself.