Originally Posted by Stazy
That's a good point. Google's soft launch is a huge benefit to FB.
Don't forget though...facebook's success grew out of a slow launch.
They dominated the elite universities first--focused their efforts and were accommodating to the early adopters until everyone at those schools became heavy users. Then when it became the cool thing that kids at elite schools can use and have told all their jealous friends at state schools, they started to roll it out to other schools...drawing enough people in before expanding.
Then they started letting high school kids join if invited by a college student from their high school...then they had people graduating and still using facebook out in the real world so they started adding some "business" networks until they finally made it open to anyone with an email address.
Trying to launch to everybody at once (like buzz) in a market where every potential user is a switcher from a competitor (as opposed to say...twitter's launch where they were something new) has a risk of everyone ignoring it at once...or of any misteps turning off people right away. Buzz had a few big privacy issues and annoyances that turned casual users off to the whol concept. If this new thing has a bunch of people in on the beta who love it and tell their friends (but know what being in a beta means and don't get too hung up on initial weirdness that can be fixed), the hype will let them spread it out slowly. People would rather be invited to "this awesome new platform by their tech savvy friend who totally got the invite hookup" than have something show up in the corner of their gmail window.