Buzz

Richard Waters

No great surprise here. Google is killing off Buzz, the ill-fated social updates service it launched early last year.

With Google+ now passing 40m members and all the company’s focus directed towards promoting that service, it’s time to throw Buzz onto a scrapheap that already includes notable casualties like Wave and Google Health. 

Joseph Menn

Yahoo is planning to kill off a handful of enduring and quirky services, including the pioneering bookmarking service Delicious, as it continues to streamline operations.

Shortly after the company confirmed that it would be firing more than 500 staffers, mainly in its products group, a disgruntled employee leaked a slide from a meeting this week that listed Delicious and story-spotting function Buzz as among the offerings facing “sunset”. 

David Gelles

Calls to regulate social networks in the US are growing louder as Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY) has called on the Federal Trade Commission to set guidelines for how companies including Facebook and Twitter handle user data.

In a letter to the FTC, Sen Schumer said he was concerned that users were unwittingly sharing data they assumed was private with the entire internet, and that the sites made it too difficult for users to opt out of new settings that make information public by default. “The opt-out procedure is unclear, confusing, and you might even say hidden,” he said during a press conference. 

David Gelles

As anticipated, location-sharing services were the talk of the town in Austin as engineers and entrepreneurs convened for the South by Southwest Interactive festival.

“Location, location location,” Playfish chief operating officer Sebastien de Halleux told me when I caught up with him. “It’s a big theme for the web at this stage.”

That may be true. But despite the genuine promise of location-based services, and all the hype around the budding rivalry between Foursquare and Gowalla — rival applications that let users “check-in” and share their location with friends — this stuff is still a long way from being mainstream. 

Richard Waters

According to Rebecca McKinnon, an expert on Chinese internet censorship, China is already getting to grips with Google Buzz, filtering out parts of the new social networking service as they pass through its Great Firewall.

But this is one service that China’s overworked internet censors may actually have a reason to welcome. 

Chris Nuttall

Google Buzz, announced today, aims to bring together a slew of Google services and a stew of social networking ideas.

The challenge for Google is to make its Swiss-army-knife complexity appealing to a public that might prefer the separate simplicity of 140-character tweets and the close social connections enabled by Facebook.