Google Buzz: Death Of Privacy?

Recently, Google decided to use its Gmail service as the basis for Google Buzz, a new social networking platform meant to compete with Facebook and Myspace. (Well, not so much Myspace.) Effectively, a Gmail user's contact list became their friend list. Unfortunately, Google made this change without advance notice and without adequate consideration of its users' privacy interests.

Google Buzz probably caused many people to realize the ugly truth: that Google knows a lot about them. Google Dashboard allows the curious to get a glimpse of their Google dossier, but Buzz finally forced them to confront the fact that their real lives is hopelessly interconnected with their online lives, and that Google has a lot of data on both.

I don't see the Google genie going back into the bottle. The database is there and won't go away. The upside to Buzz might be to remind us that we are responsible for everything that we write or do online unless we take measures to keep them private. At the very least, it means not blogging using a Google-run service, or using Google for your mail and calendaring at work.

Uh, oh.


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