As Mashable predicted, Google Buzz issued a “privacy reset” to all users yesterday. As Mashable mentioned, Google Buzz has worked hard to make its privacy settings more
legal user-friendly—but many of their changes were implemented after early adopters opted in. Present users didn’t have to go through the extended sign up process that safeguarded users’ privacy and preferences.
But now Google is changing that, for that exact reason:
But many of you started using Google Buzz before we made these changes, and we want to help you ensure that Buzz is set up the way you want. Offering everyone who uses our products transparency and control is very important to us, so if you started using Google Buzz before we changed the start-up experience, you’ll see the following confirmation page the next time you click into the Buzz tab:
Which happens to be the exact screenshot Mashable predicted. It’s the Buzz settings screen, but obviously many users haven’t customized their settings—or may not even know where to find it. By forcing users to look at the page, Google makes sure users have the chance to
- “view and edit the people you’re following and the people following you”
- “elect whether you want those lists appearing on your public Google profile”
- “modify any of the sites you have connected to Google Buzz, like Picasa, Google Reader, or Twitter”
Google also promises YouTube videos on how to update settings, in the new Google Buzz channel.
Naturally, these privacy changes aren’t enough for some privacy advocates, as MediaPost reports. For example, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Marc Rotenberg, “calls Google’s latest move ‘helpful,’ but says it doesn’t solve the problems created by Buzz. ‘Google initially disclosed a lot of personal information when it tried to turn Gmail users into Buzz converts,’ he says. ‘As is often the case with privacy, there’s no way to undo a disclosure once it occurs.’”
What do you think? Will you be making privacy changes? Are Google’s efforts enough?