Google Buzz

What is it?

Google Buzz is a social networking and messaging tool incorporated into Gmail accounts. A feed is sent to the users’ inbox where they can access all public activity published on Buzz. Some believe that it was created so that Google could compete with other social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Users can share links, photos, videos, status messages and comments organised in ‘conversations’. Other features include:

  • We Feel Fine- esque Buzz Mood: an application that parses Buzz updates for emotion-related verbs. It then relays them to the viewer with animations.

Current mobile platforms supported are devices running Android 1.6+, iPhone/iPod TouchWindows Mobile, Openwave, and S60. Mobile users’ posts may include text and a photo.

Privacy issues

In mobile devices, Buzz tags posts with the user’s current location; it does not allow users to specify it. It also integrates with Google Maps so users can see who is around them; posts made through Google Maps are public, and can be seen by anybody else using the software.

By default Google Buzz publicly discloses a list of Gmail contacts that the user has most frequently emailed or chatted with. If this feature is not disabled, sensitive information may be revealed. However after these revelations, Google has made the option of disabling public sharing more prominent.

Google has also changed one of Buzz’s features from “auto-follow” to “auto-suggest”. This allows users to choose whom they follow, and, therefore, who is revealed on their public list of contacts. Moreover, users who have never created a Google profile have no way to make their list of contacts or other information private.

Read more about Google Buzz at

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