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Google attempt to create a Buzz

In the last week, Google unveiled the google ‘Buzz’ application to its google users. On Tuesday, I received this article from Arianna Huffington regarding how pleased she generally is with the product. I do not agree.

Firstly, it’s a google product, which means it’s not inclusive to non-googlemail users. Secondly, the auto-follow default, which Google are now apologising for profusely, is very presumptuous. For instance, I opened my Google Buzz on Monday for the first time and was shocked to find I was already following my exes mother who I had a brief online encounter with over two years ago. The problem here is all other social networking applications give the user an opportunity to choose who they want to follow or be followed by. By automating it, to the untrained eye, it gives the impression that the other party involved had added them. With the case of my exes mother, for instance, I don’t mind if she chooses to follow me as that is her choice. However, I would never want to give the impression that I wanted to be a part of her online life. I consider it inappropriate given that her son and I didn’t quite end on good terms and I resent that Google would not give me that freedom of choice from the very start. Additionally, this function suggests that Google think everyone wants information about them to be made public to their google contacts. I can think of many addresses opted in to be my pal courtesy of Google Buzz, besides the above mentioned, that I have a weak affiliation with at best. I realise this would not be an issue for voyeurists. Indeed, I’m on twitter and twitter on a regular basis, but I choose who follows me and choose who I follow. Thirdly, and most importantly for me, it’s a poor imitation of products which are already out there. As extreme as this analogy is, it’s as if Google are attempting to re-invent the wheel. This is in no way to suggest that Twitter or Facebook are par with the invention of the ‘Wheel’. However, I believe Google’s time would be better spent working on connectivity with, for instance, Twitter, so that perhaps Twitter could project links, status updates, etc, onto the google profile rather than having two or more seperate accounts which do the same thing. Life is scattered enough without having so many overlapping elements online. Sorry, Google, I usually praise you for your innovation but not this time…

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