Google tweaks Buzz

Google has rolled out a privacy
reset for its controversial social network Buzz.

The search giant is asking all its
users to confirm or change their privacy settings.

The firm was forced to make a
series of changes to Buzz just days after launch, following a backlash from
users worried about privacy intrusions.

Last month, US Congress members
urged regulators to investigate the service and the private information it
exposed.

The latest tweaks will also show
every aspect of a user’s profile, from public settings to the websites users
are connected to, and who they are following or being followed by.

“Shortly after launching
Google Buzz, we quickly realised we didn’t get everything right and moved as
fast as possible to improve the Buzz experience,” said Buzz product
manager Todd Jackson in a blog post.

“Offering everyone who uses
our products transparency and control is very important to us.”

Google launched Buzz at the
beginning of February and integrated it with the company’s e-mail product
Gmail, which is said to have over 170 million account holders.

The service allows users to post
status updates, share content and read and comment on posts in much the same
way as those who have signed on to Facebook and Twitter do.

Amid concern over how much personal
information was being made public, Google made changes to Buzz to make it more
clear how information was being shared as well as simplifying the process for
blocking or following other users.

Those early fixes did not go far
enough for some critics.

Last month, nearly a dozen members
of Congress signed a letter asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate
privacy concerns associated with Google’s social networking tool.

The service is also the subject of
a class action lawsuit, and a leading privacy group has called for action from
the FTC.

The Electronic Privacy Information
Centre has alleged that Buzz is “deceptive” and breaks consumer
protection law.

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