Sunday, February 14, 2010

Google's anti-social network behavior

Google is sure having a tough time lately with it's recent product releases.

First they had to deal with the backlash against the Wave product as the overwhelming consensus from the public was confusion. Wave was supposed to be the new generation of online communication taking aspects from email, instant messaging and social media but in the end it seems Google missed the mark from a usability perspective.

Now the company is dealing with the public's privacy concerns over Google Buzz. The new social networking product which is competing with FaceBook was released as a component of Gmail without any "opt in" options and automatically considers anyone in the users address book as a "friend". Of course, the advantage of this approach to Google is the tool was automatically linking folks together and not requiring them to seek each other out over time (think FaceBook). But just because someone is in my address book does not mean I want them in my social network.

It looks like Google is at least smart enough to recognize their mistake and is already taking steps to correct the mistakes made with Buzz. They announced they will stop automatically linking you to the folks in your address book. Also, they will stop forcing Buzz in the Gmail menu but rather it will be an option users can turn on and off.

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