It’s been speculated for sometime that Google will do SOMETHING to compete with the massive social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. After some attempts like Friend Feed and Wave, Google’s attempting it again with their new product – Buzz.
Buzz is actually pretty invasive and is causing serious concerns about privacy. It is a part of Gmail, a link below your Inbox on the left-hand side. It is updated with status updates (done manually), RSS entries, shared RSS posts, Tweets and more from your friends.
So, by default, you get a huge load of information from pretty much anyone you’ve ever connected with using a Google or Gmail account. See the privacy concern yet? Okay, let’s flip it around. You may not realize this, but everyone YOU’VE ever connected with using your Google or Gmail account is now watching your every move. What you’re looking at and sharing in Google reading. Any updates from social networks you have listed in your Google profile.
Like many Google products, they’re using all this data they’ve been collecting and putting it into something that is to “enhance the user experience” but can get scary and dangerous really fast if you’re not paying attention to what’s happening with your account.
You can absolutely deactivate this feature. There is a teeny tiny link at the bottom of Gmail that says “Turn of Buzz”. If you don’t want to turn it off, you can limit what information you’re sharing by controlling your Google Profile and Buzz settings. But there’s not a lot of flexibility with choosing who sees what. In the week that it’s been live, Google has already had to tweak it several times based on user feedback.
Me personally? I turned it off. It was just too much. Most of what was in my Buzz stream was info I was already getting from Twitter and Facebook on their own. I don’t need an aggregate from Google that I can’t control.
I don’t anticipate that Buzz will be any more successful than Google’s earlier attempts at becoming a social media giant. Sometimes I wish they’d stick with what they’re good at – search