After a number of Google Buzz users complained that the service was exposing their email and GTalk contacts to the outside world without making it clear it would do that, the company has made changes to make privacy and other settings more obvious.

Amid the hubbub over the launch of Google Buzz, one aspect of the new Gmail social platform has grown more and more contentious: the fact that many people wound up exposing their email and GTalk contacts to the outside world without realizing this would happen (see here for one example — warning: strong language). Some users said they had turned Buzz off as a result, while others said they had avoided following friends because they didn’t want to expose their profiles or emails in this way. Others complained that they couldn’t block users who didn’t already have a public profile, and that it wasn’t clear who would be shown on their public following list and who wouldn’t.

So what did Google do? It listened, and even though the feature has only been available for two days, it has made changes to respond to these criticisms and more. As the company explained in a blog post, it has made the “public or non-public” setting in Buzz more obvious so that users make that decision explicitly, and it has also made it possible for users to block those they don’t want following them regardless of whether that user has a public profile or not, and to see who will be on their public list.

Even though some have argued that the privacy concerns were overblown, it’s nice to see Google responding to its users and making changes so quickly. The company also said in its blog post that in just two days since the launch of Buzz, it has seen more than 9 million posts and comments from users, and that it has been getting over 200 posts per minute from mobile phones around the world.

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  1. whats Gigaom’s google buzz ID?

    1. I don’t think we have one for GigaOm as a whole, Chitra — but I’m “mathewingram” if you want to follow.

  2. Good Droid :) Bad Droid :( » Blog Archive » Google “Buzz”kill Thursday, February 11, 2010

    [...] did fix some of these problems today so maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I should have waited a week or so [...]

  3. Online Money Blog Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Google Buzz might be facing criticism regarding the privacy but I think it is good thing as it provides you a lot of details about the user at other end. Most of us had to face problems using social media websites where people come with fake identities and deceive us. Google Buzz will reduce that. I hope you do agree with me Mr. Ingram.

  4. Look, google has a long history of Beta testing things first.. yet this one seems to just get launched. I get that you need a mass of users to make it work so it’s not well suited for beta…

    I can’t cross post Buzz postings (share). I can’t reply to people within Buzz (private message AKA an email).

    The interface is difficult for me to use, there is two much information that is too hard to find. Information gets hidden but i am not sure how / why and how I can adjust that.

    They are doing all of this within the Rubic for Gmail which is limited, and say, facebook is much better because it follows a rubic fitting of the purpose of facebook.

    If I could auto post to Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, then I would be happy and if I could use Buzz to filter those I might be interested.

    The only feature I like is the Search, which is sorta hidden at the top of the page which lets me search the Buzz of those whom I am NOT following..

  5. L’Observatoire des médias » links for 2010-02-12 Friday, February 12, 2010

    [...] Google Listens to Critics and Tweaks Buzz – GigaOM Devant la déferlante de critiques sur Google Buzz, notamment sur la confidentialité, Google a déjà fait quelques modifications. Une manière marketing de paraître comme une firme qui "écoute" ses utilisateurs? [...]

  6. Google Makes Improvements To Buzz | TechRaves Friday, February 12, 2010

    [...] We’ve had plenty of feature requests, and some direct feedback. Source: Official Gmail Blog Google Listens to Critics and Tweaks Buzz Amid the hubbub over the launch of Google Buzz, one aspect of the new Gmail social platform grew [...]

  7. Great post here. Google’s Buzz is going to be a major player in social media marketing, and it’s quietly doing so overnight.

  8. Google Listens to Critics and Tweaks Buzz from @gigaom – Viewsflow Friday, February 12, 2010

    [...] Google Listens to Critics and Tweaks Buzz from @gigaomClose [...]

  9. Google Buzz Privacy Settings Updated | Geek-Gaming Friday, February 12, 2010

    [...] sit down and actually see what I was sharing and with whome so these tweaks were needed. Check out the Giga Om article on what google changed to make your random updates on your socks a little more [...]

  10. I think the changes of not showing whom are you following are significant. Google really got used to know everything about everyone, and it’s so easy, and they sometimes forgot about some public privacy. :)

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