A Google Buzz Turn-Off

google buzz iconThe most annoying thing about Google Buzz was logging into G-mail and finding  I was automatically following all my Google contacts and no other options were provided.  Then the rest sunk in.  Yikes! The people I follow and the people that follow me have been made public to anyone who looks at my Google  profile. Yes, it was yet another privacy issue!

Well, the reaction was  swift and negative. In no time at all we had the instructions for turning Google Buzz off.

So I quickly logged into G-mail scrolled to the very bottom of the page. In the tiny text way down there I found  ‘turn off buzz’ and clicked. The colorful Google Buzz Button that was on the top left hand sidebar disappeared.

Yesterday I read this:

Google is switching to an “auto-suggest” feature as opposed to the “auto follow” feature, which has created much of the criticism. Now instead of Google making users automatically follow people from their Google contacts, it will simply offer some suggestions for people to follow, not unlike Facebook or Twitter.

Google’s latest round of Buzz adjustments includes a way to turn Buzz off in Gmail. They’re adding a Buzz tab in Gmail settings, where users can hide Buzz from Gmail or disable it completely.  Google Continues to Adjust Buzz to Ease Concerns

Now we can now hide the lists of followers and those we follow and we can block specific contacts from following Buzz updates. So are you using Google Buzz or are you turned off?

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21 thoughts on “A Google Buzz Turn-Off

  1. I’m curious. Why is it a “privacy issue” if anyone visiting your profile can see who you are “following” and who is “following” you?

    1. Hi JP,
      The decision making was unilateral. Previous to the introduction of Buzz that information was private. When Buzz was implemented it became public, without any prior notice, or optional arrangements being offered.

  2. Hi timethief,

    I don’t have gmail, so I’m sitting on the sidelines watching this unfold. I do have a Google account and reader so if someone sends me a Buzz I can view it there.

    I’m not impressed with how Google introduced the product into mainstream use. I’m surprised they didn’t use the “invite” system like they did with Wave, but then again Wave hasn’t caught on too well.

    I’m wondering if WordPress.com might introduce a Buzz sidebar widget? Probably not because I think all of the Buzz is going to die down soon now that people can turn it off.

    Thanks for the update.
    @Ileane

    1. Hello Ileane,
      I hope you have been keeping well. I too am surprised that there was no “invite” system or at least one that we are aware of. When a company as large as Google brings forward a new product one assumes that they have had a beta test group that included Staff. This situation is very disturbing given the Facebook history of privacy issues, and the fact that Facebook is driving more traffic than Google does.

      Have you read Matthew Ingram’s post? Sorry Google — Buzz Just Isn’t Working for Me http://gigaom.com/2010/02/18/sorry-google-buzz-just-isnt-working-for-me/

  3. Your policy noted. OK if I lift the wording of your copyright policy. I studied a bit about copyright when I worked as an archivist with a well-known literary collection and had to deal with authors and their representatives. Then is it also true that what I say here is mine to reproduce or is it yours?

    Your point is well taken about duplication of MY thoughts. As I wrote my reply above I realized that the core of your argument was that I had reproduced my comment here almost word for word. I will make it a practice of not giving so much away at any site and after writing in response, cut and pasting what I think is good out of it. It is late at night so I am not making much sense. I can do good research and etc. but in the middle of the night can’t think or write! Good to meet a law librarian. I discovered a latent love of law when working as an info scientist at a major pharmaceutical company. I took a few law courses at Temple U and LOVED them. It is a great field. I envy you. With a Lit major you had a lot of fun but in the real world you are just interesting at cocktail parties.

    1. @samhenry
      You have said: “Your policy noted. OK if I lift the wording of your copyright policy.”

      No you do not have my permission to lift the wording of my copyright policy.

  4. Hi

    Sorry about that but I blog on huge blogs like Legalinsurrection and have been featured as the blog of the day there 3 times in the past 3 months. I aways get my stuff linked on HotAir. I am a member of the group of bloggers at VotingFemale.

    I have not been at this long but it has been our experience that the more you mention a site, the better. Now I did not realize I had tapped your entire blog. I had thought there was more of it including a quote. I am sorry for this. I have an MA in English; MLS (library and info science) and am very careful about quoting and attribution. In fact I am subscribed to the Financial Times. Their policy is not to quote the entire article and I don’t.

    I did give people your entire url at the start and mentioned that you were an expert in managing wordpress sites or something to that effect. So I hope the plus side of being on my post of the day will far outnumber the negatives. I don’t always link a post on publication. I often wait until there is something that is a perfect match. However, my pal at Frugal cafe lets me link to just about anything and vice versa. I am in her blogroll. Ditto Sistertoldjah. I got several hits on the post – put up late in the evening and with no links so I hope all of the above helps. I plan to take your advice in future and will visit often for tips. I just found out about your site today. Often my reaction to another blogpost is the basis of a post on my site. It gets me thinking and yours did.

    I hear Bill Maher that so-called comic on Larry King Live say the American people were dumb and didn’t know about the issues among other insults the other night. He also said the country had elected Obama to bring about the public part of health care. WRONG. He styled himself a middle of the road candidate and I cannot remember a time when he mentioned it. His lies are beautifully illustrated today by a post at dancingczars.wordpress.com. Read the comment on the post of mine you have linked – he talks about his encounters with scrubbing on the internet. We live in very treacherous times. We may as well be living in Saudi Arabia.

  5. I just ditched G-Mail. It was becoming a portal to another universe. People are so damn dumb. You give them the ability to move seamlessly from one online social network to another and they think it is so swell and fun.

    They don’t think this is not just for their benefit. Facebook gave all kinds of concessions re privacy. Well, you’d have to be more than entry level computer literate to handle some of the features that would protect your privacy.

    But hold – after all the fuss, they add on this IM service that you can’t get rid of. That’s right. It’s there and they will not make it optional until the next rollout. The software lords giveth and they taketh away on their terms.

    If a normal person just sat down and thought about it they would see there is nowhere to hide in the social network world. You can’t just dip your toe in. OK so I have all my privacy setting set on Facebook and only my friends can see my pictures and my profile info etc. But hold. My friends have my name on their friends list and stuff we chatter about on their blog and so my niche on their page is an inroad into mine for data mining. When we get privacy in a social network application, it is between end-users. The developers have all that neat data no matter what. AND here’s how long they keep it: FOREVER!

    Do I hear the sound of keyboards crafting some regulatory devices to keep these conglomerates honest? A movie about all of this would have anti-trust, politicization of social networks through Administration hiring of Google staff, and of course privacy issues. I love action adventure – I think we’re starved for it just about now. With Obama, it seems as if musing is the modus operendi.

  6. Timethief,
    Thanks for the alert, I have switched off Buzz. There is no need to be in other’s public profile, as I don’t even know exactly what is offered by Buzz! It’s high time for big companies to sit and understand what is really meant by data protection and respecting other’s privacy.

    Thanks again for the warning!

    1. Agreed and so I’m wondering what’s the point? Not only that but what’s with the violation of privacy bit? After the multiple privacy issues with Facebook , Google didn’t learn anything … DUH!

      Posted: 02/16/2010 06:32:32 PM PST
      Updated: 02/16/2010 06:32:32 PM PST
      “On Tuesday, the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that Buzz “is a significant breach of consumers’ expectations of privacy.”

      The center, according to a press release on its Web site, wants the FTC “to require Google to make the Buzz service fully opt-in, to stop using Gmail users’ private address book contacts to compile social networking lists, and to give Google users meaningful control over their personal data.” http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_14413716

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