Wake Up, Google: The World Is Really Pissed Off About Buzz

Jonathan Rosenberg

Photo: Google

Google (GOOG) is finally making some changes to its new Buzz product in response to outrage about the product’s glaring privacy flaws.But these changes don’t include the most obvious and important one: Making the whole thing opt-in and private by default.

As of now, Google’s algorithm just picks people out of your email box for you to follow and be followed by, regardless of whether they are friends, spouses, mistresses, stalkers, or enemies. 

Worse, the list of your followers and followees is made public by default, so anyone can see it.

Put simply, Google just let the whole world peek into your email Inbox, without ever asking you if you wanted it to do that.

That Google has had two days to understand these issues and still fails to see how outrageous they are speaks volumes about the company’s engineering-focused mentality and arrogance.

It works, says Google.  It’s better.  We know because we’ve tested it.

And Google has tested it. At Google.  Among folks who can answer all the clever questions on Google’s interview tests and who eat, sleep, and breathe Google’s algorithmic thinking. 

But people who don’t work at Google are furious about the privacy violation that Google has just forced down their throats, as well as the company’s refusal to acknowledge it.

Time to wake up, Google.  This is about people, not technology.  And people are pissed.

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