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Social Media for the Sophisticated, Seasoned & Scared

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The buzz on Google Buzz, not yet the Biz

In less than a week since Google launched Google Buzz, their answer to Facebook and Twitter, they are already making adjustments based on the unfavorable feedback they've received. Now anyone that knows me, knows that I'm one of Google's biggest fans. I incorporate as many of their products into my personal and professional activities as possible. However, when testing out their latest creation, I, too, wasn't pleased with the "auto-follow" feature in Google Buzz.

The way it was originally set up, all of the fellow Gmail users contained within your address book instantly became your followers and vice versa. That function could instantly pose a problem if some of your contacts were private. Let's say you were, like many today, seeking a job and use your personal Gmail address as the main email contact. You also use your personal Gmail address to communicate with friends and family. Unbeknownst to you, you've made it to the top of a short list of potential employment candidates but were disqualified due to your association with either a competing employer or worse, several questionable Gmail users that contain body part references in their email address. Not cool, right?

Well, now Google has made the "auto-follow" feature an option that you can select, which is now more prominently displayed. They've also made the option to turn off Buzz, all together, more prominent. Before you had to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen to find it.

Google also announced that they will no longer connect your public Picasa web album and Google Reader automatically to Buzz. This feature will also be an option that you can enable if you choose.

They also have added a Buzz tab in Gmail, where you were able to adjust other Gmail settings. From the tab, you'll be able to show, hide or disable Buzz completely.

In a blog post from the weekend they stated, "...we've been able to read the buzz about Buzz itself. We quickly realized that we didn't get everything quite right. We're very sorry for the concern we've caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback. We'll continue to do so."

Click here to read the complete update on their blog about the new changes.