Google Hopes Changes To Buzz Will Ease Privacy Worries

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"We've heard your feedback loud and clear, and since we launched Google Buzz four days ago, we've been working around the clock to address the concerns you've raised," Todd Jackson, product manager for Gmail and Google Buzz, in a blog Saturday. "Today, we wanted to let you know about a number of changes we'll be making over the next few days based on all the feedback we've received."

With Google Buzz, unveiled last week, the Internet search giant aimed to offer users a social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. However, the service drew criticism over privacy protection, particularly over the auto-follow feature which follows users' friends and makes that list public.

Google said it adjusted the auto-follow feature to allay concerns.

"After hearing that people thought the checkbox for choosing not to display this information publicly was too hard to find, we made this option more prominent," Jackson wrote. "But that was clearly not enough. So starting this week, instead of an auto-follow model in which Buzz automatically sets you up to follow the people you email and chat with most, we're moving to an auto-suggest model. You won't be set up to follow anyone until you have reviewed the suggestions and clicked "Follow selected people and start using Buzz."

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Jackson said Google will continue to make changes with Buzz.

However, the Electronic Privacy Information Center still plans to file a compIaint against Google with the Federal Trade Commission, The Los Angeles Times reported. "The bottom line is that self-regulation is not working," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information center, according to The Times.

Google's Jackson asked for patience from users.

"It's been an exciting and challenging week for the Buzz team. We've been getting feedback via the Gmail help forums and emails from friends and family, and we've also been able to do something new: read the buzz about Buzz itself," Jackson wrote. "We quickly realized that we didn't get everything quite right. We're very sorry for the concern we've caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback. We'll continue to do so."