Google to kill Buzz, focus social efforts on Plus

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? Google is getting ready to press the mute button on its much-maligned Buzz service.

Buzz will be shut down within the next few weeks. Google Inc. disclosed that in a Friday blog post. The 20-month-old service is destined to be remembered as Google’s botched attempt to build a social networking service to rival Facebook’s online hangout.

Google now is focusing its social networking efforts on Plus, a 3 1/2 month-old service that has been catching on quickly.

Buzz got into trouble because of the way Google tied it to its email service. After it was activated, Buzz automatically created social circles that exposed users’ most frequent Gmail contacts for everyone to see.

That triggered an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which reprimanded Google for violating its own privacy policies.