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Google gives Buzz the buzzsaw

Many could see it coming, or even thought it had already happened, but Google made it official Friday: Buzz, the social network that generated a lot of buzz over privacy issues after it launched in February 2010, is getting the heave-ho.

No tears, please: No one much cared for Buzz, an attempt to draw in the Facebook and Twitter crowd. Google learned some lessons since then. Witness the Google+ social network, which has turned out to be pretty successful since its start in July.

"In a few weeks we’ll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+," said Google product vice president Bradley Horowitz in a blog posting. "While people obviously won't be able to create new posts after that, they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it using Google Takeout."

A February 2010 screenshot from Google's blog, which told Gmail users how to configure Buzz.

Buzz was a costly effort for Google, in more ways than one. A class-action lawsuit was filed against the search giant for alleged privacy violations created by Buzz, including complaints that the program exposed users' private and potentially sensitive Gmail contacts. In the fall of 2010, Google settled the lawsuit by agreeing to establish and $8.5 million fund, mainly to go to Internet privacy and policy organizations.

"Changing the world takes focus on the future, and honesty about the past," Horowitz wrote. "We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google+."

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