Google to address concerns about Buzz

According to Mashable, which first learned of the news, users logging in to Buzz on Tuesday will have to confirm their current privacy settings, including their current list of feed subscribers.

In a release announcing that effort, Google is also expected to admit it
“didn’t get everything right” with Buzz’s launch, which has been overshadowed by concerns that it invades users’ privacy.

{mosads}Google’s latest gesture arrives in response to increasing criticisms from industry experts and members of Congress, who argue that Google’s decision to add users’ Gmail contacts to their Buzz lists without first asking their permission constitutes a gross privacy violation.

“Due to the high number of individuals whose online privacy is affected by tools like this — either directly or indirectly — we feel that these claims warrant the commission’s review of Google’s public disclosure of personal information of consumers through Google Buzz,” Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) and 10 other lawmakers wrote to the Federal Trade Commission last month, clamoring for an investigation. The FTC has not yet decided whether it will hear complaints on the matter.

Google has tried to address these flaws systematically. A spokesman told The Hill last week that the company’s “door is always open to discuss additional ways to improve our products and services moving forward.”

“User transparency and control are very important to us, and we review
all products carefully before we roll them out,” the spokesman continued. “When we realized that we’d unintentionally made many of
our users unhappy, we moved quickly to make significant product
improvements to address their concerns.”

Monday’s announcement could signal the company’s early damage control strategy has so far proven insufficient, perhaps threatening Buzz’s ability to compete with other social networking giants in the short term.

Tags John Barrow

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