Google Buzz has Changed…and They Want You Back

by Matt Klassen on April 12, 2010

Google Buzz

Do you remember Google Buzz? Sure you do, it’s the search engine giant’s attempt at social networking that allowed all your stalkers and other creepy contacts to follow your every thought and update through Google’s shameful privacy oversights earlier this year. Even though Google tried to assuage the fears of the concerned public by quickly initiating several fixes for the social networking program attached to the widely popular Gmail service, still, for some reason, Buzz never really sustained any consistent level of popularity…and I just can’t figure out why.

Of course when it was first released people flocked to Buzz, indiscriminately sharing their most private information with, well, everyone as they explored the newest arrival in the social networking market. Since then, however, the popularity of Buzz has continually waned, and it has started to worry Google. That’s why last last week Google essentially relaunched Buzz with several significantly updated privacy features in hopes that you’ll forgive and forget how they screwed you over in the past and embrace Buzz as your social networking solution.

While it didn’t take long for Google to first realize their privacy blunder—their first fix came only two days after the initial Buzz launch—it did take them quite some time to officially recognize their mistakes, with Google Product Manager Todd Jackson finally admitting late last week that, “Shortly after launching Google Buzz, we quickly realized we didn’t get everything right and moved as fast as possible to improve the Buzz experience.”

So, for all those bitter and disappointed former Buzz users, I’m here to tell you that unlike all your former boyfriends and girlfriends, your favorite Google social networking site has changed…and they want you back.

In an effort to improve the user’s Buzz experience Google has employed several key changes; the most important of which is rather than automatically generating chat and follow lists, Buzz will now suggest people for you to follow instead. It is Google’s way of retaining the ease of use that the Buzz was founded upon, while giving you the peace of mind that that crazy stalker you have on your Gmail list won’t be able to read your regular Buzz updates.

While I certainly applaud Google for recognizing the mistakes its made and working hard to remedy them, it still doesn’t seem like Buzz is worth anyone’s time. Not only do I find it incredibly annoying to have Buzz updates clutter up my inbox, but with my Twitter account connected to just about everything else I do online, its just as easy for me to post my tweets then it is to buzz with Google.

In the end these improvements not only come too late to hush the numerous complaints filed to the FCC regarding Buzz, but too late to change my mind as well. While Google has tried to set Buzz apart from the rest of the market by including features that other social networking services have only in part or not at all, Buzz still fails to do any of them really well.

So what does the future hold for Buzz? I have no doubt that some will forget the hurts of the past and give Google another chance, but if Google slips up again, even if it’s not to the degree of Buzz’s privacy debacle, you can count them out of the social networking game.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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