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Google's privacy Buzz

Everyone knows by now all the buzz about Google's Buzz - the privacy concerns. But now, Google is getting out the word that they're listening to all the critics and working to revamp the site.

In today's paper, Bridget and I wrote about how everyone had responded to the new social network by freaking out about all the privacy concerns. Over the weekend, Google announced its second change to the service since it was launched the Tuesday before. In a blog post on Saturday entitled "A few start-up experience based on your feedback", Product Manager Todd Jackson said Google heard feedback "loud and clear'' from the "tens of millions of people'' using Buzz.

Google-Buzz Instead of pre-populating your follower list automatically, it has become a suggestion. Google also has changed its options that autoconnect to sites like public Picasa Web albums, and Google Reader, its handy Blog aggregator.

Spokeswoman Victoria Katsarou told me in an email that the Google team has been working at all hours, including all weekend, to address the concerns.

Jackson's also making making more media rounds to address the issues: in today's Wall Street Journal, he said the company's testing of Buzz with employees before the launch hadn't been sufficient. He told the Journal: "Getting feedback from 20,000 Googlers isn't quite the same as letting Gmail users play with Buzz in the wild. We needed to launch to the public and get feedback from users."

Even with the concession, we think it's a good reminder as networks further integrate to pay attention to how your information is being used. In the case of Google, many people probably had public profiles they forgot about, because it didn't matter -- until now.

The lesson here is that if you ever signed up for any service online, pay attention to what's public or not. It's in your best interests to stay informed about updates they're doing, because changes might draw further attention to your information.

In the meantime, Bridget and I are on the fence about the product itself. We like some of it - especially the video and picture features. While we think there is potential, we're feeling a bit, well, underwhelmed. What do you think?


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I don't like Buzz. They took several tools that already exist, put them under one roof and called it theirs. There's nothing new about it and I forget to even check it. In a world where apps are king, Buzz doesn't seem that exciting because (and I could be wrong, I don't know if they have a desktop app) I have to go to their website. All my Gmail messages come into Mac Mail so I never go onto the site, nor do I want to.

Also, I was skeptical about it at first because of their latest disappointment - Wave. I was hoping they'd bounce back from it with something spectacular, but I'm less than impressed.

Google buzz. Google wave. Google this. Google that. Show me something promising to accurately reflect the amount of hype google gets.

I’ve heard from most folks that they’re underwhelmed – we are too, as we said. But it’s still Google – we have created a verb based on their product, after all. So it’s hard to say the world’s largest search engine – and map locator, etc., etc., doesn’t deserve the attention when it releases its own social networking product.

I have been wary of using gmail or any other Google product that could identify me beyond my IP address, and Buzz has just deepened my distrust of Google.

The company set itself the goal of aggregating all the world's information--ALL THE WORLD'S INFORMATION! No matter how good their intentions ("Don't be evil"), it's inevitable that some bungler is going to misuse the information. Buzz did it. Google's management needs to pull its head out of its...information cloud and start listening closely to those of us who have real lives that they can screw up by misusing their information collection.


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