Google revamps Buzz settings on automatic following after last week's heavy criticisms

News by Dan Raywood

Google has revamped its Buzz social networking site after criticisms were made over the personal security for users.

Google has revamped its Buzz social networking site after criticisms were made over the personal security for users.

Todd Jackson, product manager for Gmail and Google Buzz, said that Google had been ‘around the clock to address the concerns you've raised'. He acknowledged the automatic following feature of Google Buzz, and that those people who wanted to try it out and see if it would be useful to them were not happy that they were already set up to follow people.

Jackson said: “This created a great deal of concern and led people to think that Buzz had automatically displayed the people they were following to the world before they created a profile.

“On Thursday, after hearing that people thought the checkbox for choosing not to display this information publicly was too hard to find, we made this option more prominent. But that was clearly not enough.”

So starting from this week, instead of an auto-follow model in which Buzz automatically sets you up to follow the people you email and chat with most, it is moving users to an auto-suggest model.

“You won't be set up to follow anyone until you have reviewed the suggestions and clicked ‘Follow selected people and start using Buzz',” said Jackson.

This will also be applied for those who are already using Buzz. Jackson said that over the next couple of weeks Google will be showing users a similar version of the new start-up experience to give them a second chance to review and confirm the people that they are following.

Also, Buzz will no longer connect a user's public Picasa web albums and Google Reader shared items automatically, and a Buzz tab will be added to Gmail settings so users will be able to hide Buzz from Gmail or disable it completely.

Jackson said: “It's been an exciting and challenging week for the Buzz team. We've been getting feedback via the Gmail help forums and emails from friends and family, and we've also been able to do something new: read the buzz about Buzz itself.

“We quickly realised 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.”


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