Google forgot the first rule of social media when it released its Google Buzz social networking service. They forgot to listen first. Worse, they didn’t even start a conversation with their Gmail users. Many people woke up to find practically anyone they had ever sent a Gmail to suddenly their Buzz friends. This is not a case of “suggesting” that you might want to connect to or become a friend of someone connected to your friends (like LinkedIn and Facebook do) but “wiretapping” you and exploiting the object of all your private communications.
I also discovered that people that I had never met – or emailed – were suddenly my friends. Yes, I could choose to block them – after the fact. There were some men whose pictures showed up on my Buzz page as contacts that I neither wanted to engage with on my computer nor potentially have knocking on my front door.
Given the lack of privacy settings, the inability to block contacts before, not after, the fact, I disabled Google Buzz on my account. There was no feedback form asking why I disabled the feature, no request for suggestions about what they could do to get me to use the service in the future. Clearly Google thinks it is alright to throw something out there expecting that everyone will be grateful for whatever pixie dust falls on them. Well, I am throwing Buzz right back at Google and will be very wary of any new “gifts” that come my way from them. They will need to earn back my trust.