Google Buzz is a new Twitter/FriendFeed-esque social network which was released last week for all Gmail users. Buzz allows you to share messages, photos, and links with your friends that use Gmail and is built right into your Gmail inbox so you’ll never miss a message.
Google Buzz has had several privacy concerns since its launch last Tuesday, causing many users to try deactivating their Google Buzz accounts (which had been automatically added to Gmail). Buzz could apparently be disable via the “turn off buzz” link at the bottom of Gmail – but many people quickly realized that this only removed Buzz from Gmail and everything they had done on Buzz was still available via their public Google Profile.
Since the “turn off buzz” button didn’t actually remove any of your content, users were forced to manually delete every Buzz they sent, then systematically unfollow their friends and block their followers to effectively disable Buzz.
Responding to heavy criticism, Google quickly announced they were making changes based on users’ feedback which will include the ability to fully disable your Google Buzz account. Sometime soon, Google will be adding a Buzz tab to Gmail’s settings which will include option to completely disable Buzz, deleting all of your Buzz posts as well as your Google profile. You can see this upcoming feature in the screenshot below.
Google announced several other important changes to their Buzz service, with the most important being that the auto-follow feature will be changed to auto-suggest. The auto-follow feature was a good idea because it made Buzz useful for novice users immediately, but it caused a lot of concern when people were being automatically followed by people they didn’t know (or people they didn’t want following them).
The new auto-suggest feature will instead show a list of recommended users to follow on Buzz – but the following will be left up to the user. This doesn’t mean someone you don’t like won’t follow you, but it will certainly slow your influx of followers down considerably.
Have you been using Buzz? Do you think it will take your attention off sites like Twitter and Facebook? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.