Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Google Buzz Security, Part 1 - Follower Privacy

Part 1: Follower Privacy

If you're a Gmail user, you likely recently discovered that you now have a Google Buzz account. The new social networking platform automatically enrolls your contacts as followers of your posts, and you automatically follow theirs. For many users, this new functionality is more of a data leak than a welcome feature, and Google's opt-out, rather than opt-in rollout is creating some discord.

The good news is that if you preferred that your contacts not be listed for others to see, the fix is quite simple, although rather well hidden.

First, navigate to your Buzz page using the left hand Google menu found in Gmail. You'll see a window that looks like this (note that these images are done using a sample account, and don't have followers).

Now click "Following people" near the bottom of the page next to Buzz. You'll see this menu:

Click the checkbox at the bottom labelled "Show the lists of people I'm following and people following me on my profile". You can also edit the list of who you are following here, which provides a great way to get rid of the old contacts Google likely added for you.

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