I’ve missed the boat entirely with this as Google have addressed some of the ‘issues’ now, but anyway I started writing the post so I’ll finish it. There were basically three points I wanted to make:
Spamming of “trending topics” by a plethora of websites / news outlets. Everyone seemed to jump on the Google Buzz Bash Bandwagon at the launch. And although there were legitmate (but realistically minor issues) it was hard to sift these out from the noise.
Privacy is as much the end users responsibility as it is Google’s. Quite awhile ago now I moved to having a ‘formal’ gmail address, which I used for friends and family and job sites, job applications, etc. And also an ‘internet-persona’ address that I use everywhere else. I realised that, when I started signing up to sites like Twitter and Tumblr and it offers to “find people from your address book”, well, that also works in reverse as well! So perhaps I didn’t want a potential employer finding my Tumblr blog or Twitter feed and I had best not mix my real name and an internet persona. I can’t say I’ve been 100% infallible over the years, but as a general rule I have one address for one thing, and one for another.
So when Google Buzz launched I had no public profile (intentional) with my formal account, no automatic followers and only three people (one of them my missus) I was signed up to follow, none of which are using Buzz. No privacy worries there then.
Regarding mobile locations, I have to say Buzz mobile does look scarily accurate with locations like “28-43 Somewhere St”. But Buzz makes it plainly obvious that you are posting with location, allows you to pick alternative locations. Or turn off the location altogether. Or make the post private - which isn’t something you can selectively do on Twitter.
This issue seems like a legitimate one at first: How Buzz Exposes Private Email Addresses in Replies, but it isn’t Buzz’s fault. Anyone who knows you can expose your details if they happen to have them. You have to trust others not to be plonkers.
The EFF report on Google abusing their position. And as a rule I’d be inclined to believe and trust the EFF, in subjects they are far more qualified than me to speak about. Apart from the bit where they quote the Register as a source. What happened there? El Reg is a good read, but EFF, come on! So Google slightly abused their position. How unsuprising. They are a business afterall. You can’t trust any large corporation (think your employer). You should always safeguard yourself.