Update: Google has made these changes and more. It’s still not perfect, but this is a huge improvement.
Earlier: Google (GOOG) is rolling out two more privacy tweaks for Google Buzz in response to a post by an outraged blogger who claimed that Google Buzz had given her abusive ex-husband and his friends access to personal information.
Google told Harriet that her report helped it “discover one bug and one product issue”. The company says it is now working on the following:
1) People you block in Buzz still appear as following you in Reader. The spokesperson says, “This is a bug, and we’re working to fix it. Provided that your shared items are protected, only the people you’ve explicitly allowed to see them can do so — regardless of who appears to be following you in Reader.”
2) No ability to block people from Reader. The spokesperson says, “Until now, there has not been functionality to block people from following you in Google Reader. We’re adding this to the Reader interface.”
Two further security concerns from her post were found to be simple misunderstandings. Harriet had worried that people — including her ex-husband — had been given access to her protected Google Reader shares. According to Google, while these people were able to nominally start following her on Reader, they wouldn’t be able to see any of her shares as she had made them all private.
Her further concern that she couldn’t alter privacy settings without creating a profile — which she was uncomfortable doing — was addressed by the changes made last night.
With these fixes, the situation will be much better. But Google has not announced any plans to fix the deeper problem we have addressed here — that this is an opt-out service, rather than the opt-in service it should be.
Update: Google gave us an official statement, basically repeating what they said in the email to Harriet. Here’s the statement:
We reached out to blogger in question this morning and addressed her concerns with Google Buzz and Google Reader. Some of the concerns were due to confusion the product experience created. Her report also helped us discover one bug and one product issue in Google Reader:
1) If you block people in Buzz, they still show up as following you in Reader. This is a bug, and we’re working to fix it. Provided that your Google Reader shared items are protected, only the people you’ve explicitly allowed to see them can do so — regardless of who appears to be following you in Reader.
2) Until now, there has not been functionality to block people from following you in Google Reader. We’re adding this to the Reader interface.
We are making these two changes as fast as possible and we’ll get them live in the next few days.