Google has stirred up some controversy with the rollout of its Buzz social networking offering.
Just 24 hours after it was launched Buzz has been criticised by users across the internet, with some suggesting it is breaching their privacy and others complaining that in a single swipe it has merged their two worlds, personal and professional. Which is rarely a good thing.
Google Buzz is supposed to list the people you follow and the people following you depending on who you contact the most. However, in our experience this is not always the case. In fact, it has proved difficult to block some followers, many of whom we have not contacted for a long time. This became particularly frustrating when it appeared that there was no obvious mechanism to do so.
The BusinessInsider site has gone all out on this, and published an article specifically designed to help users navigate their way back out of Buzz. It has done what Google has apparently failed to do - show users how to change their settings from what appear to be a series of unchangeable pre-sets.
Already our own contacts are already complaining about the service, suggesting that it is unneeded, particularly as it duplicates some Buzz notifications in the Gmail inbox.
As Google itself explained when launching the Twitter-like feeds, "Buzz integrates tightly with your existing Gmail inbox, so you're sure to see the stuff that matters most as it happens in real time." We just didn't think that it would show us this 'stuff' in more than one place.
We've already noticed the turn off Buzz link at the bottom of the whole Gmail page, in small writing. It's too early for a switch off here, but we can't help but wonder how many others will select the option once it becomes apparent.
11 Feb 2010