back to article Google coughs to PR gaffe with privacy-lite Buzz

Google has tweaked some settings in Gmail Buzz following a huge privacy backlash against Mountain View’s latest social networking effort. The company’s decision to automatically opt every Gmail account into Buzz once those users accepted a very simple invite to the Twitter-Facebook-like service when logging into their web mail …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the new facebook in more ways than one

    This cavalier attitude to privacy being adopted by more and more organisations is more than a little worrying and (along with NSA "partnership") the reason I don't have a google account at all.

  2. Pandy06269

    Yet another good reason...

    ... why I don't use Google Mail or Google Apps.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Olympics

    I notice Google have a splash page showing the 5 rings of the Winter Olympics. I seem to recall that you can't use that logo without being a sponsor, and I don't see them on the sponsors list.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Stupid Google

    Read your own corporate mantra - breaching privacy is EVIL!

    As least it's easy to turn off (which is what I have just done).

  5. John Tserkezis

    It was just an oversight, really.

    “We heard from people that the checkbox for choosing not to display this information was too hard to find..."

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Did we say "followers", I think we meant people in your personal contact list and people you've emailed too. Feel free to opt-into privacy at any time by stopping to use Google.

    Maybe in the time that they blew everyone's privacy shield away the NSA hopped in, indexed, and mapped out the contacts of everyone in the Google World! Oh noooooo!

  7. Tim Wolfe-Barry

    I seem to have been opted-in...

    Despite choosing NO when prompted to try Buzz yesterday.

    Apparently I am now following 9 people, and 2 are following me. If only any of us knew where we're going...!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Now, this will...

    ...ensure that Buzz will be yet another useless product from MV. Given the not really enthusiastic response by the average punter, we can safely add Buzz to the Google Graveyard (TM) where we will find also Froogle, Base, Blogger, Google Video, and all the other products everyone has already forgotten about.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just in case

    Nice easy link to show your friends on how to turn it off:

  10. M68H

    For your tech unaware friends

    Nice little link in the Metro to show you how to turn Buzz off:

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turn it off

    It took awhile to find the link, but there is a 'Turn Off Buzz' URL at the bottom of the Buzz screen.

  12. AndyS


    I've one big question.

    Why? Why would I want this? What's it meant to do? Why would I want to see the photos that guy I bought a car from 3 years ago has uploaded? Why would I want my old boss to be notified every time I fart?

    Luckily, it's pretty easy to kill. And no doubt they'll be taking notes on how many people kill it.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. M Gale

      Size is unimportant.

      Let's clue you in here:

      I don't do the whole Google Dashboard thing. Set and forget, that's me. Last time I even logged into the thing was months ago. I do Google Talk via Pidgin for one person who's paranoid enough to use OTR, but not paranoid enough to give Google a wide berth. So, I don't get the dashboard notifications.. I just get a buddy list.

      So I log in yesterday, and what a surprise, Google have got a big splash up saying "TRY BUZZ! (go on, please)". So I tell it to GTFO, go to look up some email that someone insisted on sending to a Googlemail account that I hardly use and only got because people were telling me how lolwonderful it is.

      Today, I log in again after checking this story. Now, I'm on dial-up Internet here, so most of the time I use the Basic HTML version of Google Mail. Under Basic HTML, you don't get the "buzz" option on the left-side menu. For some reason though - maybe I was feeling masochistic - I decided to let the horrific, bloated "standard" version load. What do I find?

      That's right. Despite clearly opting out once already, I AM A PART OF THE BUZZ PHENOMENON! So, I've found the "turn off buzz" link and clicked that. Time will only tell if opt out really means "opt out until some other way of exposing my details to the public becomes available".

      Oh well, offense is the best defense so they say. My profile will soon be laced with so much profanity and political incorrectness it'll make a fisherman's wife blush. Fuck you, Google.


    Buzz Off

    I usually end up defending Google to some extent, especially here it seems after a ridiculously biased Orlowski article, but I'm so pissed off with wheat seems like a breach of trust with Buzz, that I may forever have my view of Google tarnished, and leave them to be the pinyata to a bunch of Orlowski-ites from now on.

    I have a Twitter account and only a very few people know that I am the person whose pseudonym relates to that account. I judged the implications and limits of the possible affect it could have on my privacy and decided that I was OK with it and use it in a controlled manner.

    I have a few seperate email accounts, one I have for people who know me in person, one as a more general pseudonym and others for spamtraps and more-restricted privacy. I knew when I first discovered the internet that the potential for abuse and privacy invasion was implicit, and took steps to control my privacy exposure; not perfect ones of course, but since I'm not engaged in anything illegal (other than the occasional torrenting of LOST or House) that privacy doesn't have to be iron-clad, just workable, and fairly robust enough for my purposes.

    I like Gmail. I moved my accounts from Yahoo some time ago now and did so because I felt I understood the risks involved in using Google for both my emails and my searches.

    Over time my concern about what Google is not telling us about all the information that it is holding on us (that it doesn't mention in Google Dashboard, like searches from logged-in users and non-logged in persons that come from the same IP address and whether it ties them together) have grown, but as of just recently I still felt generally positively toward the company.

    And then: Buzz, which broke, or attempted to break down the walls of privacy that Gmail seemed to have around it.

    It did what Facebook has made part of its core identitly - and why i don't have an account there - rearranging the walls of it's house so that one minute you think you're taking a private dump and the next thing you know, you're sitting on the shitter and where there was previously a wall, there's now a shop window and a group of highly amused passers-by.

    It's not, if I can be blunt, a reason I ever felt would come up in getting a fucking email account.

    And that's why I feel like Google's betrayed me with Buzz. and why I may never feel positively toward them again, regardless of what they do to open-source this or use open protocols with that.

    What they did, with Gmail and Buzz, feels like a very personal attack - a switcheroo with no asking, borne out of their desire for a Twitter clone and using us Gmail users for that entirely self-serving purpose.

    Yeah ... nice way to treat people, that.

  15. nichomach
    Thumb Down

    "very quickly responded to an avalanche of criticism"?

    Bullshit. The reason they "very quickly responded" was that they'd activated the most that they thought they might get away with, with some pre-prepared fallback positions to distract people from the gross violation of privacy that they'd just effected. The "quick response" was canned, pre-prepared and still leaves users opted in by default, which is what Sergey and Larry really care about. They'll reactivate the deactivated features gradually over the next few months, banking on the "frog-boiling" effect to keep people from protesting too loudly. Where are our evil Sergey and Larry icons, please?

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