Google Revisits Privacy Controls On Buzz, Again
The latest round of changes based on feedback from people using the tool provides better privacy controls, and makes the setting more visible. Google spokesperson Victoria Katsarou says Google engineers have been working overtime to get the features implemented quickly. "The changes should go live within the next couple of days," Katsarou told MediaPost Sunday afternoon. "This is important. Our entire team has been working nonstop to respond as quickly as possible. We want to respond to their complaints and have been listening closely to their feedback."
Katsarou says Google wants to improve the product and remains open to receiving feedback from people using Buzz.
Replacing the auto-follow with an auto-suggest feature is one of three updates in this group. Google decided to make the change after people complained that the feature revealed names of people on private email lists. Todd Jackson explains in a blog post that instead of Buzz automatically setting the follows to the people the person emails and chats with most, the tool makes suggestions and asks the user to click on "Follow selected people and start using Buzz."
Aside from changing auto-follow to auto-request, Buzz will no longer connect a user's public Picasa Web album and Google Research shared items automatically. The change, also based on feedback shared with Google by users, replaces an auto-connect feature that shared already public content. Jackson explains that "if you had previously shared photos in an unlisted album or set the Google Reader shared items as 'Protected,' no one except the people you'd explicitly allowed to see your stuff has been able to see it."
Google also will add a Buzz tab to Gmail settings. In the tab, users can hide Buzz from Gmail or disable it completely. A link to these settings will become available from the initial start-up page to easily decide from the start to turn it off if you don't want to use Buzz.
Katsarou says the addition of Buzz tab under "Settings" not only makes it easier to hide Buzz from Gmail or disable it completely, but it gives people another easy way to decide if you want your followers -- the people you follow -- to remain public or private. "Another way to change this is by editing your profile," she adds.
Aside from privacy concerns, a host of posts on the Buzz social network describe requests for upgrade and improvements. Buzz user wish lists include everything from increasing search options to translating foreign languages within the network and rebuzz tools similar to the retweet tool in Twitter.
Google Buzz users have also begun to develop tricks, such as a "@" before the person's name or Gmail address helps to locate all the posts from the person (For instance, @Janek Mann or @Laurie Sullivan). Searching in the "Search Buzz" tool allows people to find user-posted tips on everything from sending direct messages, to saving searches.