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Google promises Buzz changes

Responds to buzzed off users
Fri Feb 12 2010, 09:00

JUST TWO DAYS after it launched the service Google has posted a blog post promising changes to Buzz, its social networking tool.

Today the firm said that, having listened to user reactions to the roll out of Buzz, particularly its implications for user privacy, it would make a number of alterations to the web service, starting now.

According to the blog post, 9 million posts and comments have already been made on the service, while some 200 posts per minute are being sent from mobile phones. Although Google explained that it had received some feature requests from these users, it appears that it was privacy that was higher on their list of concerns.

"In particular there's been concern from some people who thought their contacts were being made public without their knowledge (in particular the lists of people they follow, and the people following them)", wrote the firm. "In addition, others felt they had too little control over who could follow them and were upset that they lacked the ability to block people who didn't yet have public profiles from following them."

Now, the firm will make opt-out options easier to see. "That said, we heard from people that the checkbox for choosing not to display this information was too hard to find, and based on this feedback, we've changed the notice to make it very clear", it said. The company will roll out changes to this throughout the next twenty four hours.

The fact that followers are automatically shown online will automatically be changed, Google said. "If you don't want to share the lists of people who are following you and people you are following publicly on your profile, you can always opt out during the profile set-up when you first use Buzz or at any time from the edit profile page. We are making this option more prominent in the set up process, to ensure everyone who wanted to hide these lists can do so easily."

Google has also made it easier for users to block those that are following them, something that has confused many people. This is not the end of the potential changes for the fledgling application, either.

"We look forward to hearing more suggestions and will continue to improve the Buzz experience with user transparency and control top of mind," concludes the blog post.

So keep those cards and letters coming. µ



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