Hey Google, We’re Not Whiners: Buzz and Privacy

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*Image borrowed from SearchViews

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Google Buzz backlash from the context of an overload of information, potentially useless information. Since then I’ve been doing some reading and realize there is a more important issue. Privacy. I’m not referring to the “advertisers are trying to sell me things I’m interested in” kind of privacy issue, but rather the “Google just tricked me into giving my location to the man who is trying to hurt me” kind.

While researching (which is the fancy word bloggers get to use for wasting time on the internet) I came across a woman’s post, “Fuck you, Google”, pointing out that when Google Buzz automatically connected her with her most frequent contacts, one of them was her abusive x-husband and many others were likely equally as abusive men who like to troll her blog.

I get the sense that her post has gotten around, especially since it was referred to on Techcrunch. It appears that she has since made her blog private and I can’t blame her. I’m sure she was the victim of harsh criticism that is truly unfounded. Even as Techcrunch attempts to point out that privacy on the internet is a very real issue that affects personal safety for some, there are folks commenting on the article claiming that she has nothing to worry about, that she just doesn’t understand how Buzz works.

Well golly, call me simple, but neither do I. There is an elitism online that seems to scream, “because I’m smart, I win at the internet”. Well guess what? Just because you are smarter at the internet does not make your privacy more important. If someone opts in to a social network they should take the time to figure out how it works, assuming it works the way it claims and it doesn’t change how it works mid-stream (ahem, Facebook), but who opted in to Google Buzz?

Check out Jono’s blog if you’d like to turn off Google Buzz….maybe.

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3 thoughts on “Hey Google, We’re Not Whiners: Buzz and Privacy

  1. Speak for yourself, but I whine about Google all the time! 😛

    I am amazed they made such a huge mistake by not simply asking users to confirm their list of suggestions first. I still think Buzz is vastly superior to the disgusting Twitter, and possibly even Facebook if it becomes sufficiently “open”, but we’ll see.

  2. I really loved Buzz the day it was released. I love the integration with email, how seemlesssly my network grew and how much relevant it was over twitter. But the last week or so, I’ve been having this feeling, best summarized by the great George Costanza, “My worlds are colliding”.

    I realized that the people I email are very different from the people I connect with on Facebook, who are different from the people on Twitter, who are different from the people on Linked-In. I sense that we have all these different worlds created by context, time and personal fancy. By including Buzz within an email context and with uncontrolled “following” ability, we have an uncomfortable collision of worlds.

    I’m going to turn off Buzz this week until I can figure out how to use it right (as you say). Too bad, I really love how the feature flows..

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