Update – Google just reached out to us and explained that they meant that they are considering a version of Buzz apart from Gmail, not divorcing the two. Their statement: No, we’re not planning to remove Buzz from Gmail. Among some of the features we’re considering is building a standalone Buzz experience in addition to the one in Gmail at some point in the future.
According to Google’s VP of Product Marketing Bradley Horowitz, Google is considering pulling Buzz and Gmail apart. The linking of the two has caused numerous privacy scares in the last few days, and has ruffled the feathers of some Gmail users who found the introduction of social streams into their inbox downright annoying.
Our friend Danny Sullivan got to and him, and pried the following information out of him:
Horowitz said Google is considering separating Buzz from Gmail, so that people can participate independently from email. The company might also allow people on Buzz to claim new names and redirect anyone seeking them at their old profiles to the new locations. Horowitz says Google also continues to look at ensuring search is a good way for people to locate the “right” people, as well.
If Google does this, it will change Buzz in one action from becoming the next big thing in social interactions, to a complete Knol. By integrating Buzz tightly into Gmail, Google has made some users angry, but has also breathed full life into a new product.
Would you ever go to Google.com/Buzz just to use Buzz? Of course not. Do you use Buzz because it is tied into your inbox existence? Probably.
Buzz and Gmail are two products now joined at the hip, and to attempt to separate these twins is going to leave one of them dead, and one mostly unscathed. Sure, at the moment there is a nearly Facebook userbase level of discontented hubbub around Buzzes intrusion into email, but that will pass.
The people who are the most annoyed will hide it. Everyone else will either ignore the product or use it. But to pull it and make it walk on its own when before its two legs were gm and ail, is suicide.