Computer Science Association, BITS Pilani

February 23, 2010

BUZZ Off.. !!

Filed under: Geeky — csa2010 @ 4:53 pm

Google Buzz is the newest kid in the flourishing town of social networking. For those who don’t know, Google Buzz is a social networking and messaging tool from Google, designed to integrate into the company’s web-based email program, Gmail. Users can share links, photos, videos, status messages and comments organized in conversations and visible in the user’s inbox.

But this venture of one of the world’s most appreciated innovator seems to have backfired. Many Google users are not as impressed by Buzz as expected. Buzz was certainly a good combination of Twitter and Gmail right in you inbox. Though many things about Buzz were quite cool and impressive, it failed to strike the right cord for many.

One of the primary reasons why Buzz has seen some detest from the users is Buzz forces its way into your mailing system. A Gmail user is left with little choice but to accept Google Buzz. So even though you may skip noticing  it a few times, finally you may say ‘what the heck’ and accept it anyway. Another eccentric drawback is that Google has defiantly interfered with the user’s personal privacy. When you agree to take Google Buzz in your life, remember one thing, you automatically follow some of them (without your knowledge) and they will follow you automatically as well. So in case, you do not want them to follow you, you have to go to each contact and put an ‘uncheck mark’ against them one by one. When you send a message on Google Buzz, you have an option to keep as public or private. But if someone replies or comments on it, your followers can see it. Google has quite a clean image on the web, but such tactics can very well tarnish it out.

A recent New York Times article stated that “Google is known for releasing new products before they are fully ready and then improving them over time.” Google has twice tried to address privacy concerns: first by making the option to disable public sharing of contact lists more prominent and later by changing one of Buzz’s features from “auto-follow” to “auto-suggest”. This allows users to choose whom they follow, and, therefore, who is revealed on their public list of contacts; the list is still public by default. These changes to the way that Google Buzz operates have, however, been criticized as inadequate and the company has been criticized for failing to take its users’ privacy concerns seriously.

Buzz has received a cold reception at the hands of the media as well as the general public. And the matter of fact is that there is nothing new and original in Buzz. PCWorld’s JR Raphael criticized Buzz for both its intrusive nature and privacy concerns, citing above all that it merely adds “more noise into an already buzzing area of my life”.

If you are a user who has no use for Google Buzz, login to your Gmail account and scroll down to the bottom of the page. In the footer links you will see a link which says “turn off buzz”. Just click on that link and Google Buzz will disappear from your Gmail account forever. If you want to turn on Google Buzz again(Why would you??), scroll down to the bottom and click on the “turn on buzz” link. But Google should quickly strip Gmail of this feature themselves rather than make the users do it. We just hope that Google soon realizes that even the best can make mistakes. After all, it is their ability to rectify and learn from these follies which sets them all apart.


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