Has Google overreached in its attempt to break into the competitive social networking space?
Did Google foresee a privacy backlash when it launched its Google Buzz service that is integrated with Gmail?
Can't say that Google was blind not to see it coming but the backlash did come with tons of Gmail users up in arms against the intrusion into their private email contact lists by turning them into social network friends lists.
By signing up with Buzz, you will allow other users to know who you are in contact with or having a liaison with someone for that matter. It's like you becoming an open book.
There have been media reports of cases on social networking sites where people have faced abuse or intimidation. People need to be circumspect in their activities online to avoid landing themselves in a sticky situation.
When I logged on to my Gmail the other day, I got Google Buzz sign-up splash page starring at me. Thanks to meself, I usually don't leap into things until I look around first. I didn't sign up.
But many users who did sign up for Buzz have discovered to their horror that their email privacy were being compromised. It is no surprise that complaints and outrage are coming in thick and fast.
Google may be an Internet search engine giant and a top brand name, but its attempt to join the "lucrative" social networking communities as a service site should have been tempered with some wisdom and decency to understand that people have rights to maintain personal goings-on as private matters.
Privacy advocates feel that Google's gathering of personal data is done with relatively no consent from users and without notifying them.
The Los Angeles Times reported that watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center planned to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging an unfair and deceptive trade priactice. Its executive director Marc Rotenberg said: "This is one of Google's biggest blunders."
The consensus among critics was that Google should have a default request asking for permission first before including people's contacts in Buzz. And they should have allowed users to change their privacy settings.
As many have pointed out, Google should have the decency to allow an opt-out option which it finally tweaked on Thursday after all the hue and cry from privacy watchdogs. - Markk