February 09, 2010

Taco Town: Buzz's Code Name Focused on Layers

Internal code names for tech projects in Silicon Valley and beyond are a celebrated pastime - ranging from the predictable alphabetically-ordered release numbers to fanciful references to family members, vacation spots, animals or practically anything that doesn't actually describe the product itself. (See Apple code names or Microsoft code names for examples)

The code name for Google's new Buzz product? Taco Town. Not a grandiose reference to composers long since passed on, or beautiful vacation spots around the world, as other companies have done, but instead, an ode to good-tasting greasy food.

While Google obviously thought "Buzz" was a better name for their new aggregation play than Taco Town, despite archrival Yahoo! having used the name first, you can see tacos as part of today's launch, with a delicious-looking taco gracing the "Just the good stuff" description on the main Google Buzz page, and, throughout the many screenshots and demo video, the individual's name read as "Ted Taco".
If It's A Taco, It Must Be Good Stuff

The Notorious Ted Taco from Google Buzz

So where does Taco Town come from? Assuming Google didn't name it after one of the restaurants that dot the US, including establishments in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and Carthage, Missouri, the Taco Town name hearkens back to a satirical commercial from Saturday Night Live, called "Taco Town", where Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg go out for Mexican food, only to find their delicious dish to be a challenge, with layer upon salivating later being added to the entree.

The announcer, introducing the new taco at Taco Town, teases with his description:
"We take a crunchy, all-beef taco, smother it in nacho cheese, lettuce, tomato and our special southwestern sauce. Then we wrap it in a soft, flour tortilla with a layer of refried beans in-between..." adding on... "Then we wrap that in a savory corn tortilla with a middle layer of Monterey Jack cheese..." and later... "And it gets even awesomer, when we take a deep-fried gordita shell, smear on a little of our special "guacamolito" sauce and wrap that around the outside...", "But it gets even bigger! Because we bake it in a corn husk filled with pico de gallo, then then wrap that in an authentic Parisian crepe, filled with egg, gruyere, merguez sausage and Portobello mushroom...." followed by more layers including a Chicago style deep dish meat lovers pizza, rolled in a blueberry pancake, fried golden brown, and served with "spicy vegetarian chili".
As the faux commercial says, " It's 15 great tastes all rolled into one." You can see it embedded below, provided Hulu supports your country.

With one's social graph and social activity fractured asunder all over the Web, you can see why Google would want to roll all these great tastes together into one product, Buzz. The company also likely sees the difficulty in taking our many diverse activities, social graphs, and privacy concerns as different layers that must be combined to deliver a compelling offering.

Regardless of what Yahoo! and Microsoft might think about the new service, or its name, I think we can all agree it looks a lot better than "Google Taco Town".