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Posts Tagged ‘privacy issues’

If you’ve read earlier posts on this blog, you know that I’m not a huge fan of Google Buzz. I really, really like Google, and their search engine is fantastic, but I never “got” Google Buzz. I think it’s because I’m not a big GMail user. Since Buzz is based off the GMail platform, your Buzz contacts are in your GMail address book.

I have six email accounts. GMail is the least used – and I have a whopping 17 contacts in my GMail address book. So, I’m not a great targeted user for Buzz.

Regardless of my personal thoughts about Buzz, I’ve noticed that the crescendo of applause that accompanied the launch of Google Buzz, lead by the guys at Mashable, seems to have become a whisper. This is exacerbated by the negative press that Buzz seems to attract, er, like a bee to honey.

Wendy Davis, writing in the Daily Online Examiner, reported today that regulators from 10 countries have complained that Google “betrayed a disappointing disregard for fundamental privacy norms” with the launch of Buzz. This was stated in a letter sent to Google by authorities from Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.

As quoted in the Daily Online Examiner, the letter states: “The privacy problems associated with your initial global rollout of Google Buzz on February 9, 2010 were serious and ought to have been readily apparent to you. In essence, you took Google Mail (Gmail), a private, one-to-one web-based email service, and converted it into a social networking service, raising concern among users that their personal information was being disclosed.”

You may recall that at launch, Buzz’s default settings disclosed the names of any Buzz user’s email contacts. Google soon changed the default settings to correct this and issued an apology.

As long as they have Google’s attention, the privacy police from the 10 countries also expressed their displeasure with Google’s Street View, claiming that it also violates the privacy threshold. Freedom of speech issues in the US negate most of this argument regarding Street View.

Oh, and Facebook. looks like you’re next up on the regulators’ agenda.

Beside the legal whoop-de-doo, Google should be more concerned that Buzz seems to have lost its own buzz. Am I wrong, or has it just not gained traction as a major social media app?

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