A buzz can be interesting or annoying at the same time, it depends on how it occurs. Take for instance a Buzz in the office about a possible pay hike or Bonus. Everybody’s is tuned to it and excited about it but on the other hand you are taking a peaceful noon siesta and a hyperactive fly creates a buzz around your ears, it certainly is annoying. The latter is just intruding your privacy and is a unwelcome guest.
I echoed similar feelings about Google when it launched its new social networking application the ‘Buzz’ recently. Like a fly buzzing around the ear it just intruded into my mailbox application without taking my application or consent. Little did i realize that signing up for Gmail unwittingly made me a user of a social networking service at a later date.
It may have made perfect business sense to Google by integrating Buzz directly into Gmail, it would give them a jump start over Twitter or Facebook by leveraging its large pool of Gmail users. But did it spare a thought to privacy & consent of its customers?
Not too long ago, Google followed a policy of membership to Gmail by invitation only. And then one had to necessarily go through a riot act kind of declaration & acceptance to opt for the mail service.
By simply thrusting this application onto its users Google simply made a mockery of such rules earlier. Worse was to follow, Google simply assumed that all my mail contacts are my buddies and that we should be mutually following each other. So I was automatically following a herd and vice-versa. It simply drove me crazy to see that i am following or being ‘auto’ followed by my mail box contacts who are simply business or casual contacts and who aren’t friends I dint want to follow.
This whole issue was neatly framed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in US , "is that your e-mail and chat contacts are not necessarily people you want to advertise as friends via a public social network.". But this is what Google unwittingly thrust upon its members!!
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission about Google Buzz and a late realization has made its product manager Todd Jackson apologize "We quickly realized that we didn't get everything quite right”.
Atleast not this time Messers Sergey Brin and Larry Page.