I’m a Google fan at heart, but the Google Buzz social network has the internet going mad. Google has even admitted that their social network kind of sucks, but if Google would only fix these three major issues, Google Buzz would be an awesome network.
The seemingly small problem that has tarnished the reputation of Google Buzz to date is its automatic setup process. I’m certain that in an attempt to get as many new users as possible, Google decided that it’d be better to setup their users network for them, but they were very “off-the-mark” with this assumption.
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other social networks allow their users to setup their profile automatically, and even though setting up profiles manually sounds a bit daunting, it’s actually a lot better than having a social network automatically deciding a user’s network for them.
The manual setup fix will allow Google Buzz users to have more control over their social networking settings and choose the friends they want in that network. The current automatic Google Buzz setup process assumes that anyone a user chats with often via Gmail is obviously a good friend of theirs and adds them to that user’s friends list – but this assumption is very wrong.
In order to fix this fiasco and please current and future Google Buzz users, all Google has to do is fix this simple error in judgment and give Buzz users control over their own networks.
Google Buzz and Gmail Separation
Gmail users didn’t register a Gmail account to be forced into a social network and Google Buzz users had no idea that they’d be signing up for spam overload in their Gmail inbox when they signed up. Both Google Buzz and Gmail are strong enough to be standalone products and someone over at Google HQ needs to recognize this and fix this problem immediately.
Like with Google Buzz’s manual setup, I think it’s safe to assume that Google merged Buzz and Gmail to get their social network up and operational in the shortest time possible. Soliciting all Gmail users to join Google Buzz is spam in the same way that AOL’s free America Online startup CDs were. Google was able to get lots of users to sign up for Google Buzz, but now they have to fix problems arising from their prospecting methods.
A very reasonable fix to the Buzz/Gmail problem is to call it “splits.” If users wanted both services, they’d still be able to register at both sites, but users wouldn’t have to worry about one program taking over the other.
Stop the Following (Stalking)
Google Buzz’s automatic setup created a second sub-problem that is even worse that the initial problem, and that problem is the privacy issues caused by automatic following. In order to fix the automatic following and suggested statuses privacy issues, Google should simply allow users of its social network to have the option of choosing friends they want following them manually (it’s really just that simple).
No one wants their boss, wife, husband, kids, clients, and friends, to have the same access to their private statuses and social network. The privacy and “stalking” fix has been a solution the Google Buzz network has been begging for since its launch – and it’s a fix that’s seriously needed.
For more read, Google Admits that Google Buzz Sucks, but in a Wussy Way, Did Google Buzz Fix the Privacy Flaw on Its Social Network?, and Google Buzz is Bugged: The Major Privacy Flaw Within Google Buzz.
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