Twitter & Linked-in have taken the professional social circles of the masses by storm leaving Buzz a poor and almost still-born orphan . If you don't believe me just take a look at who has followed you (either through GReader or Buzz as they are joined at the hip) over the past little while and you'll get the idea: marketers and spammers from the backside of the Internet. Not that I've actually used Buzz to any effect, but it's still sad to have watched Google go nowhere with their social networking attempts. However I'm still gonna take full advantage of the great conversation layer it has brought to us niche Google Reader users!
I would kill my Buzz feed right now if I had another option for bringing a conversation layer to my twitter posts. As it stands I post from Buzz to Twitter, so if someone from Twitter wants a threaded conversation about one of my tweets then we can do it within Buzz. Well, that was the intention, but I bet in the 8 months that I've been doing this I can probably count on one hand how many times it has actually happened. The conversation has always occured on the cross-posts to Twitter, Linked-in or Facebook. Even though it's like pulling teeth, Tweeps comment on Tweets within Twitter. Since I'm a big user of GReader I've even got to the point where Twitter has enough interesting and unique content for me that GReader has become my Twitter reader interface.
I'm almost certain that the visionaries within Google have conceded defeat (or are in total denial) in building their own connected demographic for the masses. However they are a smart company and must recognize where they can still make an entrance. They have made some incredible gains in penetration with their individual apps and therefore adding a unified social layer to connect users of these apps may provide a sort of social "sharepoint" type of collaborative opportunity for apps users. If this is where they are going I look forward to seeing the result.
The connected demographic and communities may have been snagged by Facebook, Linked-in and Twitter, however google still have lots of opportunity to plug into these feeds with their apps; we've seen this with the Twitter integration into Google News. In my opinion this is a brilliant move that has all kinds of potential.