In my last post, I looked at the 5 things we can learn from Google Buzz and I promised to do a post on things we can learn not to do from Google Buzz. Here are the top 5 mistakes which Google made while introducing Buzz and as it goes, we can always learn from others’ mistakes. So here we go:
1. Control To User
This is the single-most important thing which applies to any software product. Make user feel that he is controlling the application, not the other way round. Place user in the cockpit, let him decide which stuff he wants to keep on, which things he want to keep to himself, what features he want play or not play with. Google Buzz didn’t provide user with the fine-grain control over the options (at least on the launch). There was no option to stop buzzes flowing into inbox, who can follow and who can not, which Google products to be integrated to the Buzz, which profile information to be made public and so on. Nobody likes to be taken for granted, especially users and that’s exactly what Buzz did.
2. Don’t Re-invent The Wheel
With Twitter already doing a great job as a micro-blogging product, Google added Buzz as just another social networking application. Of course, Google did this with its own vested interest to kill the competition and place its firm feet in micro-blogging world, but still it wasn’t worth. Instead of creating a replica of existing service, it would have been much better to see Google inventing something new, something different. With huge talent pool, a company like Google can devise products which can cater to the needs of new era, rather than duplicating current ones. Why just blame Microsoft for being a copycat?
3. Simple Yet Intuitive Design
Yes, Buzz followed the tradition of simplistic minimal design by Google, but the simplicity principle went just too far. For the starters like me, it was bit confusing to create a Google profile just to have Buzz working. Also, some pretty obvious things were missing like option to delete a private group, collapsing post comments or finding new buzz. The options which were That said I still feel it is way better than Google Wave which was plain confusing for non-technical users, but Google could have definitely done a better job.
4. Help! Help!! Help!!!
When Google Buzz was launched, there was zero official help from Google (or may be it wasn’t visible enough!) . I can remember searching web for hours just to find out how to search Buzz. I mean this is pretty stupid, isn’t it? If you are launching a new application, you got to provide at least a minimal technical support. Even the Google Buzz official page didn’t provide any link to help pages. It may be a part of Google’s business tactics to generate speculations and following for the new product like Buzz, but from user’s perspective it was just too annoying!
5. Release Only When Ready
When the Gmail was launched for many years it was in beta mode and it was available by invite only. That is the reason the product is so matured and so popular now. Alas, that was not the case with Buzz! Google just wanted the product to be out of its door as early as possible and that resulted in a haphazard product that Buzz was, missing basic options, basic help facility, creating privacy issues, confusing interface and so on. It would have been much better if Google would have released a beta version of the product to only a small segment of users, improve product based on their feedback and then release it to the larger audience. Incomplete and difficult to use products only create fears and doubts in the mind of readers.
Here is a disclaimer from my side about the points I mentioned above. These are my personal views and in no way influenced by anybody else than myself. You may be a die hard fan of Google Buzz or might be hugely popular on Buzz, I am cool with it. These points only describe what I felt using Buzz for the first time, nothing personal! Finally, I would like to hear your experiences (good or bad) so far about Google Buzz. Do share them below in the comments segment. Keep geeking!