Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is now working full-force to counteract the privacy backlash that has followed the release of Buzz. Over the weekend the company made even more tweaks to the social networking service. Google says it has turned off an “auto-follow” feature, so that users will now have to manually approve the people whose updates they follow. Previously, Google automatically assigned followers based in part on the people who Buzz users contacted the most through Gmail. That elicited fierce criticism from privacy advocates because private information was made public on users’ Google profiles by default. The company now says “we’ve heard your feedback loud and clear” and “we’re very sorry for the concern we’ve caused.”
Google says “millions” are already using it; remains to be seen whether the changes will be enough to convince users that the service takes their privacy into account.