Google has rolled out updates to Google Buzz in the wake of privacy concerns, including replacing auto-following with suggestions for people to follow. And although the change was actually made back in February, an update today will make this change apparent to anyone who signed up before February 13th.
Aside from the fact that there has been a sizeable user backlash on the privacy problems initially created by Google Buzz, and potentially the service has failed to take off, Google also has another major privacy issue. Google Buzz is under investigation by the U.S FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
One example of the reason is that White House Deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin, a former Google employee, recently found his Google Buzz account revealed many of his Gmail accounts publicly, including a number of Google lobbyists or lawyers. His account has now been deleted after a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.
There’s also a new Youtube channel for Google to share tips and tricks on using Google Buzz.
And new settings in your Googlemail preferences mean that you can now control which Buzz items arrive via email in future, to decide between comments on your posts, comments on posts after you’ve contributed, and comments on posts after you’ve been @replied on them. The promised ‘mute’ button hasn’t quite arrived yet, but the problem with Buzz is that it needs to keep changing incredibly quickly to adapt, and it needs to work across 50+ Gmail languages from the start without causing problems with latency or downtime.
Every other social network started small and then grew exponentially – Twitter, Facebook, Myspace etc. In the case of Google Buzz, it attempted to get a headstart by launching to millions and then adapting – something which might prove akin to trying to change natural evolution.