Did Google botch Buzz launch?

16 February 2010

I haven’t been using Google Buzz, since I haven’t really figured out how to use it. However, there is a wide-spread impression, that Google has botched the launch of this service. Many people are complaining about Google’s cavalier treatment of their privacy, and rightly so.

The problem lay in the way people were more or less automatically following and followed by other Gmail users. This has now been fixed, however, damage is done. I hadn’t mentioned this in my previous article (see Google Buzz: initial reactions) since the first thing I did was to restrict these settings. There are things I would share with certain people and not others. But I can see why it should be an opt-in system, rather than an opt-out scheme.

Did Google rush it out? There were many minor bugs and unclear UI when it was released, but that’s to be expected in any launch, however, Google may have misread the way in which people use Gmail. Not everyone wants to follow or be followed by everyone on the e-mail address book. Other social networking sites presume their users want to share things openly, but e-mail contacts are different.