New Google's service raises privacy concerns
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Deutsch: Neuer Google-Dienst erweckt Datenschutzbedenken
The new networking service issued by Google company called Google Buzz has met criticism and confusion from its users who complained that a list of people they frequently email or chat with has appeared on their profile.
The problem occurred due to the default options when creating one's profile which automatically post the respective list from Gmail and Google chat. In order to avoid posting the respective list on the profile, the user has to use the opt-out variant or edit the list himself.
"Google attempted to jump start Buzz with lists drawn from its successful Gmail and Gchat services. While this may help Buzz grow and save users the time to type in all their contacts, it also has an inherent danger of inadvertent disclosure of private information," has commented EFF lawyer Kurt Opsah.
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt reacted to the users' criticism by stating that the issue had been caused by confusion and miscommunication. "I would say that we did not understand how to communicate Google Buzz and its privacy. There was a lot of confusion when it came out on Tuesday, and people thought that somehow we were publishing their email addresses and private information, which was not true (...) I think it was our fault that we did not communicate that fact very well, but the important thing is that no really bad stuff happens in the sense that nobody's personal information was disclosed."
This statement is contradicted not only by users but even by Buzz product manager Todd Jackson's statement on 16 February who told BBC that the company was "very, very sorry" and that users were "rightfully upset".
Schmidt admitted however that the company made some changes in order to cope with the situation. "Since Tuesday we have made a series of changes to the product which make some very fundamental changes in the way that you initially experience it, in particular instead of automatically following everybody it now gives you a list of who you want to follow and it makes it incredibly explicit that it has not been giving them information without you giving it to them."
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Google boss says 'nobody was harmed' by Buzz debacle (17.02.2010)