Friday, February 12, 2010

Google Creating More Negative Buzz Than Expected

On Tuesday Google introduced their new service, Buzz, in hopes of coming one step closer to taking over the Internet. Google seemed to fight back against Facebook and Twitter with Buzz, but unfortunately for Google according to a Twitter search, there are more negative comments about Buzz than positive.

In an attempt to make Buzz more user friendly, Google automatically set up their users with a network of connections that they have interacted with before through their email and chat services (Gmail and Gchat). These connections are displayed in one's Google public profile. This has raised concerns over privacy as many people did not want their contacts out in the open.

Michael Helft of the New York Times on Friday wrote about the concerns of privacy:

"E-mail, it turns out, can hold many secrets, from the names of personal physicians and illicit lovers to the identities of whistle-blowers and antigovernment activists. And Google, so recently a hero to many people for threatening to leave China after hacking attempts against the Gmail accounts of human rights activists, now finds itself being pilloried as a clumsy violator of privacy"

Google has responded to the criticism by creating an easier to find button to allow users to edit who they follow and who is able to follow them. When Buzz was first launched, users were only able to block followers if they had a public profile. Now, they will be able to block anyone from following them. Google is also making changes to allow users to control which connections appear in their public profile.

It seems that in the past week, with this new tool introduced many people are almost unwilling to try Buzz. It's not the identical twin of their Facebook and Twitter, so why bother to learn a new social media tool that has the potential to make one's life easier. I believe that if Google is able to fix the general Google public's concerns about Buzz in the next month, that with time more people will be willing to use the service.

I myself have yet to find time to play with the service. After attempting to become a Google Wave user with no success, I am not motivated to take on Buzz. Once all the kinks are out of the system I may revisit Buzz, but until then I shall stay in my Web 1.5 (Yes I know 1.5 doesn't exactly exist) stage where I am stuck between having mastered Facebook and still learning how to tweet.

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