The Trials and Tribulations of Google Buzz
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You might have heard some stories lately about Google Buzz, and the privacy issues raised by this new service from the search engine giant. What, exactly, are the issues? And why is the Federal Trade Commission receiving complaints about Google Buzz? Keep reading to find out.
Though some estimates vary slightly, it has been reported that 5.7 million Gmail accounts exist, meaning millions of people all over the world use Google’s e-mail service each and every day. Though there has been some controversy in the past concerning Google’s privacy practices, the tech giant was pretty much blindsided by the response they received after quietly releasing Google Buzz, which eventually led to a complaint being filed against them with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
On February 9, 2010, many Gmail users woke up to find a slightly different look to their inbox, along with some never-before-seen features. They were told that this was Google’s latest attempt at creating a social networking and messaging tool; it would be called Google Buzz. The company designed the service to seamlessly integrate with the company's web-based email program, allowing its users to share links, photos, videos, status messages, and comments that would be organized in a "conversations" section of their inbox.
It seemed cool enough, but what many users didn’t know is that they were now sharing what was thought to be private information with other Gmail users.
Google executive Sergey Brin recently said that it was Google’s intention to “help bridge the gap between work and leisure,” but many parents feared for their children’s safety and strongly criticized Google for taking little to no account of privacy concerns for Gmail users who are underage.
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