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Google Buzz — First Reactions 310

Posted by kdawson
from the what-it-is dept.
Google announced Buzz today, as we anticipated this morning. CNET has a workmanlike description of the social-networking service, which is integrated into gmail. CNET identifies a central obstacle Buzz will have to overcome to gain traction: "The problem, however, will be the increasing backlash Google is seeing from the general public over how much data the company already controls on their online habits." Buzz is being rolled out over the next few days so some people will see a Buzz folder in their gmail, but most won't yet (this Twitter post explains how Safari users can get an early glimpse). A blog posting up at O'Reilly Answers points out some of the distinguishing characteristics of Google Buzz — one interesting one being its ability to post an update either publicly or privately, at the user's option. This design choice places it between the public-by-default Twitter and the private-by-default Facebook. Lauren Weinstein sounds a note of caution about the inherent privacy risks of Google's method of filling out initial friend profiles by automatic friending.
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Google Buzz — First Reactions

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  • Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by socceroos (1374367) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:23PM (#31081378)
    I went to buzz.google.com and signed up, but my Gmail account didn't change at all.

    I'm willing to give GBuzz a go, but I don't think I'll ever see myself getting caught up in social media networks - especially with Google's recent views on privacy.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:30PM (#31081426)

      "We're still rolling out Buzz to everyone, so if you don't see it in your Gmail account yet, check back soon."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by psithurism (1642461)

      I don't think I'll ever see myself getting caught up in social media networks - especially with Google's recent views on privacy.

      Well if you use social networks like me, you have your boss, your parents and your grandma all friended: so the "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," is already pre-enforced for you.

      I will be happily handing google pictures of myself well-dressed along with flattery of my great family and coworkers.

      • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:02AM (#31082210) Homepage Journal

        Well, I guess if you're going to use a social network, you might as well go with a company that has behaved fairly well compared to the others.

        Facebook has shown itself to be a little too aggressive with peoples' data, going so far as to make it difficult to control your privacy settings.

        It seems that the best we can do is trust a company until they have proven themselves untrustworthy. And, of course, it helps not to be stupid in the way you use these social networks.

        If Google's social network does NOT have "games" and virtual hugs, I might take a look. Otherwise, I'd just rather be left alone than have a bunch of people I didn't much like from high school petitioning me to be their "friend", as if I'd ever forget the way they treated me way back then. Especially the cute redhead who decided that the greasy guido would be a better homecoming date than me, ended up getting pregnant before graduation and marrying him and now he's a fat loser and she's a middle-aged divorcee and suddenly remembers how much she always liked me. WELL, YOU BLEW YOUR CHANCE SWEETIE, BECAUSE NOW I'D BE MORE INTERESTED IN YOUR 19 YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER THAN YOUR FLABBY COUGAR ASS!!@

        Excuse me, I got carried away there.

        No, I don't think I'll try any more social networks.

        • That's really entertaining....and sad.
        • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RobDude (1123541) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @11:13AM (#31086738) Homepage

          Except the 19 year old hottie of a daughter still won't choose the old loser over the attractive jerk guys in her community college.

          Sure - maybe after she gets knocked up and the guy runs - you can swoop in and land yourself a semi-hot 22 year old milf or something.

          But let's face it, the only reason you like the cute red-head was because she was cute. And there was probably even a fat ugly chick who had a crush on you - but you ignored her in exactly the same way the cute chick ignored you.

          And now? You say you wouldn't be interested in the former cute girl because she's a fatty with children.

          It's clear you aren't advocating any sort of meaningful change; you aren't saying, 'Hey - we should look at more important things than looks, because they are fleeting and these other traits are more likely to lead to a happy relationship'. You're just holding a grudge because you didn't end up on the good side of the genetic lotto that determines how physically attractive we are.

  • Public vs private (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tomhudson (43916)

    The problem, however, will be the increasing backlash Google is seeing from the general public over how much data the company already controls on their online habits ." Buzz is being rolled out over the next few days so some people will see a Buzz folder in their gmail, but most won't yet (this Twitter post explains how Safari users can get an early glimpse). A blog posting up at O'Reilly Answers points out some of the distinguishing characteristics of Google Buzz -- one interesting one being its ability to

    • And that's the problem when you give your data to the biggest data whore in the known universe.

      But you regularly suck on the teat of that giant whore, yes?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tomhudson (43916)

        And that's the problem when you give your data to the biggest data whore in the known universe.

        But you regularly suck on the teat of that giant whore, yes?

        One of my new years resolutions was to dump google. I removed them from the list of search engines in my browsers. I don't need gmail - I have 2 email accounts with my ISP and about a dozen others on my various domains, and I have a lot more storage space than google will ever give me. I've never used google docs. I don't want or need google gears. I

        • by chewthreetimes (1740020) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:45PM (#31081838)
          Wow, look at you. Roughin' it, all off the grid and shit.
          • by tomhudson (43916)
            No - but I want to see a future where "cloud computing" means everyone connected to everyone else, sharing what they want without some jerk in between trying to intrude on your and my civil rights.
        • Re:Public vs private (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MarkWatson (189759) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:56PM (#31081876) Homepage

          I have to disagree with you:

          Google performs statistical NLP on your data, and automatically finds good ads, etc.

          As per Google turning over your data to the government: we are probably close to total government access to everything we do, so I would chill out about stuff that we are helpless to do anything about (unless you are going to stop using the Internet).

          • by martin-boundary (547041) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @02:00AM (#31082682)
            We are NOT helpless. The government is I/O bound, just like every organization and company out there. When it comes to your data, each repository costs a separate amount of time and effort to read. So if you distribute your data widely, then you increase the I/O cost of collecting your data for reading and searching.

            Here's an example:

            If you use Google services for search, email, socializing, writing your letters, IM'ing, etc, then the government can open an I/O channel to Google and get access to all your browsing habits, email, social data, letters, IM logs etc.

            Now suppose you use Bing for search, your local ISP for email, Facebook for social, Open Office for letters, AIM for IM etc, then what? The government has to open an I/O channel to Microsoft for your search terms, then they have to open another I/O channel to read your mail with your ISP, then contact yet another company for I/O on your social links, etc. And on top of that, they have to send people to your home to get read access to your Open Office files. That's a lot more work, a lot more subpoenas, a lot more time, and a lot more cost, just to get the same amount of data about you.

            And with so many different companies and locations, each company has different policies about retention, backup, willingness to preserve privacy, etc. Compare that with Google, where the special government backdoor allows uniform guarantees of simplicity and ease of access to your data. All the government needs is a single judge to say the word, and Google will comply.

            • Re:Public vs private (Score:4, Informative)

              by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:14AM (#31085924)

              We are NOT helpless. The government is I/O bound, just like every organization and company out there.

              Wait what?!? Every single thing I've ever read has indicated the government has huge amounts of data and is restricted by its ability to process and intelligently make use of that data, not by getting data from disparate sources.

              Now suppose you use Bing for search, your local ISP for email, Facebook for social, Open Office for letters, AIM for IM etc, then what? The government has to open an I/O channel to Microsoft for your search terms, then they have to open another I/O channel to read your mail with your ISP, then contact yet another company for I/O on your social links, etc.

              The government is probably already sucking in massive quantities of information from all these major players en masse. The best hope of avoiding coming to their attention is to do business with small players they may not have bothered with and doing business with companies with competent security and strong ethics regarding sharing your data. That is to say, look for companies that actually tell the government "no" and require a warrant at least.

              And with so many different companies and locations, each company has different policies about retention, backup, willingness to preserve privacy, etc.

              Ummm, if the government is asking all of them for your data anyway, then maybe you should be focusing on the ones with the best data privacy policies.

              Compare that with Google, where the special government backdoor allows uniform guarantees of simplicity and ease of access to your data. All the government needs is a single judge to say the word, and Google will comply.

              Getting a judge to sign an order puts up a significant block to getting your data. Sure they can do it, but it takes time and leaves tracks. Requiring a judge to do that is actually a much larger stumbling block to invading your privacy than the majority of your listed companies require.

            • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:07PM (#31087442) Journal

              Your only mistake is assuming the government doesn't already know more about you than you probably would otherwise want.

              And this year, they are collecting even more information than before (Census), and you are REQUIRED by law to complete the entire census form, and then you are required to sign it under the laws of perjury and shit.

              You want to FUCK with the government, fine. Just be willing to accept the consequences. Most people don't, because they are SHEEPLE. baaa.

              And the problem is that people want all the services and *FREE* stuff the government provides, and then on the next breath complain about intrusion into every aspect of their life by government.

              Want to eat cake and have it too? You can't. Compromise is always like that. And people like me are called RADICAL (or Troll) for wanting as little government intrusion and power as possible.

              And next up is all your medical data. You left wingers complaining about privacy should realize that you're the ones promoting government intrusion into every aspect of our lives.

        • by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:09PM (#31081944)
        • Re:Public vs private (Score:5, Interesting)

          by D H NG (779318) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:38PM (#31082062)
          Google is the only search engine with the balls to refuse a government subpoena to turn over its search records [pbs.org]. Not Microsoft, not Yahoo!, not AOL.
          • by tomhudson (43916)
            Old news - for years, they don't even need a warrant, just a "reasonable expectation" that the requesting agency "could" get one if they had to. It's right there in their privacy policy. No mention of needing a warrant.
            • by D H NG (779318)
              If that's the case, how does this make Google worse than any of the other search engines out there? How many search engines you know tells you up front what it knows about you [google.com] and allows you to edit it?
            • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

              Not this again [slashdot.org]. There is nothing that backs up your claim. Yeah - Google being a central clearing house of personal information is a risk. And it's one people should take pause to consider. But let's have them thinking about the real issues, not phantoms.

    • by Weezul (52464)

      I don't give google very much information but I'd trust google over facebook any day. Facebook must be shelved.

    • by Idiomatick (976696) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:31PM (#31081784)
      "as their CEO puts it - you don't want someone to know about you doing something, don't do it."
      He said that while referring to people committing crimes. Having proof of it online. Then being shocked when police with warrants get it. Which btw is standard and LAW for all companies to comply with. Didn't even say anything about google itself. I could say that about computing generally and no one would disagree. Hell it applies beyond computing.

      'If you don't want to get busted by cops it is probably a good idea to not leave a traceable trail. BTW, cops can get warrants to search your shit.' -- pretty fucking obvious.
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Idiomatick (976696)
        Bad form to double reply but you do realize they are competing against Facebook here! They sure as fuck are worse about privacy than Google has ever been. And twitter is purely about announcing things publicly to the universe. Not reallllly an issue here. And if you needed a reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoWKGBloMsU [youtube.com] .. he basically says that privacy isn't what people want so we aren't giving it to them...
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tomhudson (43916)

          People don't care about privacy until they need it - then they care a LOT about it. I'm sure you have at least one piece of personal info you don't want posted all over the Internet. People want to be able to control their personal information that's why it's called "personal information" - it belongs to the person, not to google or whoever else is holding it "in trust", or more often, in violation of trust when there's a buck to be made.

          Facebook USED to claim people don't want privacy. They found oth

          • "We take privacy seriously"
            If you work for facebook, in the interest of full disclosure you should say so :/

            "They certainly have a right to expect me NEVER to share their personal information. "
            Good. And as it should be. But if you got a warrant thrown at you it could be an issue. I think there needs to be laws made protecting issues involving confidentiality. Perhaps model it after doctor/lawyer confidentiality. Change it to 'professional confidentiality' and be done with it. But it hurts abilities to tra
    • by pydev (1683904)

      And that's the problem when you give your data to the biggest data whore in the known universe.

      The biggest data whores in the known universe are governments; or do you seriously believe that they can't listen in to everything you say or do online?

      Your ISP, Google, Microsoft, your government--they are all likely getting most of your E-mails and appointments anyway, one way or another. You can't even escape it by switching ISPs, since your conversations go through their wires and onto their servers anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      you've still shared it with someone who believes that you have no right to privacy, and that if - as their CEO puts it - you don't want someone to know about you doing something, don't do it.

      In fairness, he didn't say you had no right to privacy, and the quote is often taken out of context. It was in the context of saying:

      If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines - including Google - do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.

      So he's not saying, "screw you, I don't value your privacy." He's giving a warning that your information is probably not as private as you'd hope regardless of what service providers you're using. Microsoft also keeps records of searches for some amount of time (I believe it's at least 6 months) and they *will* turn that information over to the government. You know what?

  • Now's the Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:29PM (#31081420)
    With Facebook, yet again, "updating" their layout in such a way that they've made their site (again) less useful and more cluttered, now is the time for a big player to make a serious push for a replacement social network. Facebook has consistently managed to make their site less and less and less friendly and useful so much of what drew people to it is being eroded so if someone were to enter the market with a streamlined, elegant social networking tool that allowed people to easily stay in touch with their friends without useless crap getting in the way, they'd stand a very good chance of taking a bite out of Facebook.

    And, for anyone (especially Facebook!) who thinks it's impossible to topple Facebook from their throne, just think back to MySpace. Everyone figured MySpace had the social networking website locked up and then this upstart came out with this streamlined and elegant tool for staying in touch with your friends and family. Now, Facebook is cluttered and bloated and becoming less and less useful - all traits that MySpace had shortly before the end began.

    What will it take to steal people away from Facebook? Simple, initially - integration with Twitter and Facebook. If a new network can link into both of those sites and do it better than they do it themselves, people will switch because it's zero risk - you're not turning your back on your contacts on Twitter or Facebook - you're just using a different tool. And then, over time, people will talk more about "Buzz" (or whatever the network is to step up and do it) and less about "tweets" or "Facebook".

    The time is now. I _really_ hope Google can do it with Buzz because I _REALLY_ loathe the new layout for Facebook. I hated the old new one but the new new one sucks hardcore.
    • by Again (1351325)
      I actually appreciate the new new one. In the old new one I was not able to read my most recent notifications because the notification box would be larger than my window. I'm on a netbook so I'm getting used to having to deal with that kind of thing but I can't exactly hold down alt and drag the window to where I would be able to read it.
    • Re:Now's the Time (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zigmeister (1281432) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:06PM (#31081628)

      I don't even mind the different layouts so much as opposed to one another. I just find it really annoying to have to relearn how to use a freaking website every three months when I've been on it for a couple years. Also, if slashdot nerds get annoyed with relearning the UI, how do you think Jane Smith feels? Extremely confused, especially given that they've been changing their privacy settings around too. Some people might just give up. I don't know.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People wouldn't be so excited over Buzz if Facebook wasn't turning their site/service into another Myspace mess that is just painful to use. Initial impression of Buzz is that it is very clean and pleasant to use compared to Facebook which just feels clunky for anything other than just casual status updates of friends.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by freemantoy (1741448)
        WTF Facebook definitely is irritatingly trying to monetize networking. Someone will come along that isn't the least bit interested in monetizing and attracting eyeshare. It won't be Goog either. Goog and Facebook should just get out of the way instead of sticking their face where they shouldn't. Like watching a DVD and someone sticks their butt on the side of the TV to get a few strokes. Look, I get more strokes so I win and can charge for it. Spare us.
        • Yeah I hate those companies that try to monetize their service to break even. It only took facebook to hit the 300 million mark to get into the black.
    • Seriously, more people play a crappy-assed, viral game on Facebook than use Twitter. Facebook could lose every single Twitter user on the planet not lose a tenth of its userbase.

      This is not to say that some new site might not be able to come along and dethrone Facebook from being the top of the heap. It's just that Twitter integration isn't going to do it. Some company needs to come along and supply a better, easier to use platform for serving up crappy-assed, viral games.

      • That example is not really representative, as the twitter user base is about being read, not about posting. I would argue that there are likely significantly more people who follow twitter users than have actual accounts. It's just not a viable comparison.
    • by Eryq (313869) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:27PM (#31081764) Homepage

      You should definitely ask Facebook for your money back.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MrCrassic (994046)

      I hear this claim made a lot, though I never see any warrants to back it up. Lots of people have expressed how Facebook is "so much harder to use," but never say where. Frankly, I think Facebook's layout is extremely clean for being as feature-rich as it is. Seriously, it takes me less than thirty seconds (not including any manual activity on my behalf) to post notes, pictures or (especially) status updates. On top of that, it's still incredibly fast and reliable, especially given its scale. (I've seen it h

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hagrin (896731)

        I hear this claim made a lot, though I never see any warrants to back it up. Lots of people have expressed how Facebook is "so much harder to use," but never say where.

        You've obviously never used Facebook then.

        First, they separated the feed into two - the News Feed and the Live Feed. No one could fully understand what the News Feed even was other than a bastardized version of the more complete Live Feed. Then, no matter how many times you selected Live Feed, after a certain period of time, your home page would default back to the News Feed. Then, they changed their privacy settings so that if you once had a locked down account, the default settings would share more

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hadlock (143607)

          I think they're trying to minimize database hits. Not really sure what criteria it uses to show what's "popular". You can bump the number of people the live feed shows up to 9999, which is what I have mine set to, so you still have full functionality of before.

    • Re:Now's the Time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by srothroc (733160) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:56PM (#31081878) Homepage
      People have been complaining about Facebook's layout changes ever since it started, but it hasn't put a dent in its popularity at all. Personally, I think the new layout is better than the old one, anyway.
    • Wait, are you trying to tell me that no one uses LiveJournal anymore?
    • You obviously have strong ideas about how to beat Facebook at its own game. Have you considered founding a startup to beat them? Paul Graham is looking for ideas [ycombinator.com], you still have time until the application deadline.

      Don't fart around on slashdot, go ahead and see if your ideas really hold water.

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:30PM (#31081430) Homepage

    Yahoo tells me when anyone I ever knew in Yahoo-land makes a comment on any Yahoo-affiliated website...and conversely rats me out to them too.

    When your sister-in-law gets notified about your post on "Who has the Biggest Flickr Rack"... you know web2.0 has problems.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by osu-neko (2604)

      When your sister-in-law gets notified about your post on "Who has the Biggest Flickr Rack"... you know web2.0 has problems.

      Some might argue your sister-in-law has a right to know you've singled her out for having a big rack. ;)

  • by Surt (22457)

    They may as well accept defeat, they have no chance to survive with buzz in the market. The coolest people are already moving, and they will drag their friends, etc. Facebook probably has less than two years left to it at this point. Hope the founders got their money out.

  • by Bob_Who (926234) <Bob@who.CHEETAHnet minus cat> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:33PM (#31081456) Homepage Journal
    The network is not to blame for the oxymoron.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Well and let's be honest, the Internet just isn't a private place at this point.

      When it comes to Internet communication, I don't think you get much more private than email, and yet I don't know a single person who bothers to encrypt their email as a matter of course. I don't. I have email sitting in multiple different accounts on servers owned by various companies. I know that there are employees at each company who are capable of reading my email if they choose to. I think they shouldn't and I hope th

  • by dancingmad (128588) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:37PM (#31081472)

    I actually got Buzzed this afternoon. When I was logging into Gmail the splash screen came up and asked me to try it out. I have been futzing around with it today, but will probably switch it off.

    Random thoughts on it;
    Google seems desperate to get this out; I thought I had been logged out of Gmail when the Buzz splash screen came up as I tried to get to my Inbox. Going a little hard to the hoop, I think.

    Along the same lines, it has a big colorful icon next it under Inbox on the left hand menu. Again, seems desperate.

    It autofriends some subset of people you know (I think it's people on your Gchat list), which is kind of weird. I logged in and already had one friend following me. It asks to follow your friends as well.

    The site ties into some other sites; Flickr, Picasa, and Twitter, I think (that was in the menu that automatically came up). It also lets you connect to Youtube, Google Reader, and Gchat statuses (it looks like when connected activity on those sites will show up on your "feed.")

    The status screen screams Twitter and Facebook. I guess there aren't many ways to do 140 character status updates, but it really resembles those sites.

    It took me a few minutes to figure how to switch it off; I thought it would be in settings or in Labs, but there's a small link near the bottom of its window and the inbox (where you can also shut off chat). Again, I am glad they have a shut off but hiding it down there seems a bit desperate.

    Otherwise there doesn't seem to be much to it yet. I was hoping for some settings or preferences to futz around with (why do I immediately go into a new program's settings or preferences, and why does it always make me so happy?). I am switching it off I think; while I love Gmail, connected sites makes me wonder about how much information Google already has about me and since my Gmail is my general e-mail, I don't need it mixing with facebook-style status updates or anything, and I am creeped out that it uses my name (from Gmail settings, I assume). I realize those can be changed and if I am careful my e-mail and Buzz will never meet, but I'd really rather just not have them together right now.

    • The whoring the new product thing will fade pretty quick after word gets out about it.
    • but will probably switch it off.

      I've tried it this afternoon too. Not really interested in sharing more with yet another invasive, free "service" that I don't own or control, but I can not find any way to "switch it off". It appears Buzz will be a new fixture in the gmail interface. After looking at the help links, it does not appear possible to remove it. If anyone has a way to remove it, disable it - please reply.

      • by SnowZero (92219)

        2-second method: drag the "buzz" link to the "more" link on the bottom of the left nav bar. In fact, that works for all of the folders and labels on the left nav bar.

        4-second method that doesn't require dragging: Settings/Labels/Buzz [hide]

        Do you actually use gmail much?

    • by carlzum (832868)
      I got it this afternoon too. It put a pie-chart icon to my gmail menu, added a few contacts to my "following" list, and connected me to Picasa and Google Reader, but not much else. I can post comments, links, and photos like Twitter, but I don't see Facebook features like polls, games, or quizzes. My initial impression is that it's simply a "me too" reaction to Twitter with nothing new to offer.
  • Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hitchhacker (122525) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:37PM (#31081474) Homepage

    The problem, however, will be the increasing backlash Google is seeing from the general public over how much data the company already controls on their online habits.

    Doesn't seem like a problem for them so far. I'm fairly sure only a tiny percent of the people using social networking services really care about privacy. Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out and said Privacy is no longer a social norm [slashdot.org]. The real hurdle for Google Buzz is going to be migrating the massive social graph that exists on Facebook. The usefulness of these sites is mainly due to who is participating. I'm guessing that's why they injected Buzz directly into gmail.. where they already have a sizable dominance.

    -metric

    • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dancingmad (128588) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:46PM (#31081532)

      I agree with you. As Facebook has been getting worse and worse about privacy (your data not being your own, Facebook staff having access to account, making it impossible to "hide" your account) I have pulled back. I had photos and I deleted them. I had information about me, that's gone. Basically right now all I have up on there is my name, cell phone number, and the schools I attended.

      It's still too much information on a site which sees me as a commodity, but the real irony of the situation is, you need an account to control what other people put up of you as well (as much as you can, anyway).

      The site itself has gotten worse too; this is the third big interface change I remember that happened today and it's even more confusing and obfuscated. The site regularly has errors when doing anything (for me anyway, under Safari), and it's chat is flakey as hell.

      I put up as little information as possible, have as few friends as possible, and hide my account as much as possible. Buzz is just another sieve for that information to get out, so I am hoping not to use it, but as you say, if everyone else starts using it I might have to have another skeleton account there to manage my information and to keep in contact with others.

  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:38PM (#31081484) Journal

    I don't use my Gmail account much. If this takes off I won't use it at all. I use Facebook occasionally, especially for playing Lexulous (scrabble clone) with my wife lately. I already find the regular changes to their interface and lack of actual content annoying. I don't need to know what animals in what pretend farm my acquaintances from highschool just "bought" in some pathetic online farming game. That is not the same as staying in touch. It has nothing to do with their real lives. Nor does keeping up with changes to Facebook's rules and interface. So I begrudgingly use one poor excuse for a social networking site. I do not need another 60 clones pretending they're the best thing since sliced bread. Every time I come off Facebook I'm convinced I can feel another part of my intellect melted away (and certainly another part of my life wasted).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by osu-neko (2604)

      I use Facebook occasionally, especially for playing Lexulous (scrabble clone) with my wife lately.

      I love Lexulous. However, I don't even have a Facebook account. It's not required.

    • Meh, it's what you make of it. I hate all those stupid app updates too, so I filter them out. My feed mostly consists of status updates, notes, photos and relationship changes - that is, things that I'm actually interested in. I only friend people that I want to keep track of. I don't join a hundred stupid groups. My Facebook feed is useful and not any more intellect-destroying than a blog-feed.
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      I don't need to know what animals in what pretend farm my acquaintances from highschool just "bought" in some pathetic online farming game.

      How come nobody seems to be able to figure out that if you just click the "Hide" button next to one of those updates you can opt to never hear anything about Farmville ever again, from anyone?

      • If only it were that simple. How do I hide all the "X is now friend with Y" posts? Or the "X likes Y" posts? It would be trivial to implement this function, but for some reason Facebook thinks I have to see them.

        Whatever, it just makes me use it less.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:45PM (#31081526)
    ...but it seems this is entirely optional:

    If you disable Buzz via the link, then you are not part of the "buzz network."

    In fact, even if you _don't_ disable Buzz, you're not part of the "buzz network" until you actually use it (e.g. add a comment, create a post).

    (original here [google.com])

    a lot of us aren't too terribly impressed with twitbook and whatever, and wouldn't really want anything like that to be integrated with our email accounts without our consent. it's good to know that google considered that.

  • The great thing about Gmail is that it is^H^Hwas a very usable email service that didn't try to tie you into a bajillion other parts of a website and other features you aren't really going to use. The more stuff they add, the more likely I am to complain loudly about the death of Unix. If they go far enough (and they're close) I'll do something about it by switching to a more Unixy mail provider, like postfix. The loss of flexibility (nice easy access from anywhere; easy to set up filtering) will be repaid
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Urza9814 (883915)

      Um, you know you can use POP or IMAP with gmail extremely easily, right? I don't personally, their web interface is far more convenient (one less program to always be running), but really, just use POP or IMAP and your client of choice if the interface bothers you that much. That way you get all the great benefits of Gmail storage, you get the ability to access your mail from anywhere, and you still get the interface you want.

      • IMAP works nicely for me. I also use Google calendar. And I use them within Thunderbird, although I suppose you could use them within whatever your favorite client is.

        No intrusiveness, no being tied into other serivces I don't want or need.

    • Re:Losing Appeal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by macshit (157376) <miles @ g n u . o rg> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:28PM (#31081772) Homepage

      The great thing about Gmail is that it is^H^Hwas a very usable email service that didn't try to tie you into a bajillion other parts of a website and other features you aren't really going to use.

      But one of the nice things about Google's approach has been that they haven't changed the basic gmail interface much at all. They've added various features (some of which are actually very nice), but if you don't use them, they have little or no impact on the email functionality and interface.

      Indeed, Gmail seems a bastion of stability and simplicity in a web where many sites seem completely out of control (FB, I'm looking at you...).

      The same appears to be true of buzz: unless you use it, you won't notice it, or be affected by it.

      The more stuff they add, the more likely I am to complain loudly about the death of Unix

      That says more about you than it does about gmail...

  • by valdean (819852) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:11PM (#31081658)
    The mobile version of Buzz is more interesting than the Gmail version. Check out the Gizmodo review [gizmodo.com].
  • facebook private? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elfprince13 (1521333) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:15PM (#31081688) Homepage
    Facebook, private by default? What is this nonsense!
    • by jibjibjib (889679)
      Private by default, as in "If you haven't changed any privacy settings then your updates aren't accessible to the public." Unlike twitter in which generally anyone can see your updates.
  • Backlash? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gudeldar (705128)
    Where is this backlash that CNET is talking about? I've never heard any express any worries about Google having too much information about them outside of Slashdot and certain technology blogs. That represents a tiny fraction of the Internet, most people are happily handing over the every detail of their lives to Facebook, their search queries to Google, etc.

    Most people just don't really care that much about Google, Facebook or Yahoo having information about them no matter how many +5 comments on Slashdo
    • Re:Backlash? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:34PM (#31081802) Homepage Journal

      It just occurred to me that if I create a google account from a normal computer I can use any name for myself that I choose. But a phone running android must use my real name (its in the contract for the phone) so android may be a way to associate made up identities with real identities.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by UrduBlake (1544847)
        That's just paranoid. Google's pledged to do no evil. Besides, they've provided so many free cloud services, Gmail, Gmaps, Gtalk etc. Does an evil corporation provide free stuff? Unlikely isn't it. :)
      • by adolf (21054)

        When I got my Droid, I paid for the whole thing ($539) in cash. I signed no contract and agreed to no terms.

        YMMV.

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated&ema,il> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:45PM (#31081832) Journal

    I feel that Buzz is a sign that the Google Mail team is losing touch. Most people, myself included, use Google Mail (or at least their web interface) to check and compose e-mail. That's it. With Buzz thrown in the mix, now people can check their email as well as follow the people they're emailing through pictures, videos, status updates, etc. All of these things are way outside the realm of emailing, which is, like regular mail, to simply correspond.. Thus, I don't really see this being a threat to Facebook at all because people go on Facebook precisely for these kinds of things. It's Facebook's walled garden paradigm that makes these interactions even feasible, since friends share this kind of information in real life as well.

    Additionally, whatever happened with Wave? Wasn't that platform supposed to be the springboard for this "revolutionized email?"

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      Wave is a conferencing/collaboration tool, not an e-mail replacement. Like Orkut, Gmail jabber support, and Google's IMVU clone, it's basically died on the vine.

      Each time they add something like this to Gmail, I get a little closer to just abandoning their web interface completely.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I feel that Buzz is a sign that the Google Mail team is losing touch. Most people, myself included, use Google Mail for.....

      Wow, you've queried other Gmail users? Please publish your findings!

      With Buzz thrown in the mix, now people can check their email as well as follow the people they're emailing through pictures, videos, status updates, etc. All of these things are way outside the realm of emailing, which is, like regular mail, to simply correspond..

      Get off your lawn, while we're at it, Mr. Annoying?

      TUR

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)

        I feel that Buzz is a sign that the Google Mail team is losing touch. Most people, myself included, use Google Mail for.....

        Wow, you've queried other Gmail users? Please publish your findings!

        Ironically, Google Buzz would be an ideal way to do that.

      • by MrCrassic (994046)

        I don't really like crying for trolls, honestly.

        I'm not stupid. I know that it can be turned off, and I know that it's an innovative approach to how people interact. I respect that. However --- and you might want to hold on; this might blow you away --- I can make opinions, and my opinion on Buzz stands: it is not what email was intended for and is a bit out-of-focus.

        Now, if you email others with the expectancy of receiving status updates on their lives, or more simply put, expect to have your email work li

  • by kriston (7886) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:46PM (#31081842) Homepage Journal

    All I can suggest is to watch "The Terminator" movies again.
    Google's explicit goal is to collect all data possible and index it for the benefit of humankind. This includes artificial intelligence--indeed a senior director of Google is an acknowledged AI scientist. The application of AI to the corpus of all data possible is profound. The digitization of books, the collection of browing habits, the analysis of web sites, and the analysis of all GMail users' email data, compounded with myriad other data sources could provide an interesting advanced intelligence. Even if it's just a Deep Blue style of brute-force thinking, the corpus upon which this "hive mind" will draw is profound.
    Google is the real Skynet.
    Nobody knows what will happen, but it's going to be profoundly amazing.

    • by scdeimos (632778)
      I expect we'll all be connected to the Google Hive mind and communicating with Google Talk long before we need to worry about the robots equipped with Google Buzz saws breaking out of the Google Labs.
    • Not even Google has Strong AI, moreover, there's scarcely anyone, anywhere even working on the basic fundamental underpinnings of it.

      The current crop of "AI" tech is best described as pattern recognition (which in turn can be described as function approximation). That's all there is to it. There's no cognition, no logical inference, no consciousness, none of that. No one has a foggiest clue how to do this at a sufficiently large scale to get something even remotely resembling a human brain.

    • Human decisions are removed from strategic advertising. Google begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, February 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

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  • So, Jason Donovan is reading my email now? Will the 2.0 version be Buzz Quiz World? Why doesn't my toupee fit properly?
  • Beyond lame (Score:3, Informative)

    by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:30PM (#31082026)

    I heard about it earlier today, and clicked it up on my iPhone to check it out. It asked me if it could use my current location, and I said OK, and immediately it brought up a location thousands of miles away from me, in another country. Since this wasn't right, i tapped it, scrolled down to the search function, and typed in my current location. Buzz had the audacity to tell me that the location I typed in didn't exist, because it was not near the location it had auto-detected. Well, no shit it was nowhere near what it detected...that's what I was trying to tell it! And it was trying to tell me that I didn't know what I was talking about. It's not like I am out in the middle of nowhere (my current location is near a medium-sized American city). Fail!

  • Eh, I wouldn't mind trying it out. At one point I did use Facebook a good bit to keep up with friends, but lately I haven't been using it much with all the ridiculously annoying apps and such. Those and the fact that all the old farts in my family won't leave me alone (let me off your lawn?); sorry to any of you folks having your aunt friending you is a little creepy to me. Maybe this will become popular with us college kids again and we'll get back our own space for a while.

    As far as privacy goes, s
  • obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by jDeepbeep (913892) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:24AM (#31085248)
    No pokes. Less privacy than FB. Lame.
  • by ffflala (793437) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:33PM (#31087830)

    I'm only willing to be part of a social network if I can have granular control over the personal information presented to it, and the members of that network. My compromise for fb has been to use a pseudonym; that plus a picture has been sufficient to obtain contacts of people I actually know. It's not foolproof, but it is for me an acceptable privacy buffer.

    Gmail is a different story. There is simply too much private info in the account that I am unwilling to subject to a social networking context. Using an anonymous gmail account for Buzz in the same way would defeat the purpose. Using Buzz seems little different than allowing fb comb my gmail account for contacts.

  • What backlash? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @02:14PM (#31089402)

    CNET identifies a central obstacle Buzz will have to overcome to gain traction: "The problem, however, will be the increasing backlash Google is seeing from the general public over how much data the company already controls on their online habits."

    While complaints of this type are frequent from privacy-oriented action groups, and Slashdot users, I haven't seen a whole lot of evidence that there is a whole lot of traction for this kind of anti-Google sentiment in the general public. I think sometimes tech journalists confuse the circle of other technical journalists they associated with and technical-user-focussed media that they consume with the "public".

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