Google Shuttering Buzz In Favor Of Google+; Farewell To Labs

google-buzz-featured Buzz was a great learning experience, says Google, but in a few weeks it will be shut down and all such efforts will be focused on Google Plus. The move will likely come as no surprise to Google-watchers, who noted that Buzz integration with Google+ was minimal. Additionally, the Google Labs page, as previously announced, will disappear after today. "We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google Plus," Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product at Google, wrote in a blog post. Buzz had a relatively short [...]

Google Settles FTC Charges Over Buzz, Agrees To 20 Years Of Privacy Audits

google-buzz-ftc-featured Google has agreed to have independent privacy audits over the next 20 years, to settle an FTC investigation into wrong doing over its Google Buzz product. The FTC has release a statement where Google agreed to allow independent audits of how Google handles privacy controls. After Google Buzz launched there was a lot of concern of the privacy controls, which lead to an FTC investigation. Google eventually settled for $8.5 million with a few plaintiffs and lawyers. Now, Google has been charged by the Federal Trade Commission for using "deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promi [...]

Google Preparing To Launch Social “Circles” — Or Maybe Not

There's lots of buzzing and posting this morning based on a couple of tweets from Tim O'Reilly and Steve Case. They state that "Google Circles" (which is "awesome") is going to launch "possibly today." (See updates below.) ReadWriteWeb has a lengthy discussion of the reportedly impending product launch. It's based largely on hearsay but here are the main bullets from that post: The service will offer photo, video and status message sharing Everything shared on Circles is shared "only with the most appropriate circle of social contacts in their lives, not with all your contacts [...]

Google Buzz Faces New Lawsuit In Canada

While Google has settled US lawsuits over its Google Buzz product, the company faces a new -- and very similar -- lawsuit originating in Canada. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Tyler Wereha of Rosa, Manitoba, is suing Google over privacy issues related to last year's Google Buzz launch. The class-action lawsuit doesn't specify damages. Based on what the Free Press is reporting, the lawsuit appears to be raising the same issues brought up in last year's US cases: The statement of claim, filed in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench last week, alleges anyone who has exchanged at least one [...]

A Closer Look At The Google Buzz Privacy Settlement

On December 20th, a federal judge in the Bay Area will be asked to approve an $8.5 million settlement between Google and several Gmail users who sued earlier this year over the way Google Buzz was launched in February. If it's approved, the case will become a class action, Gmail users in the U.S. will join the lawsuit by default and will immediately be part of the settlement. (There will be ways for Gmail users to remove themselves from the suit if they wish.) But the settlement offers little benefit for Gmail users outside of the original group of users who sued Google. Why? Because, accor [...]

Google Settles Buzz Lawsuit With $8.5 Million Payment

A busy day for Google on the legal front continues with news that the company has agreed to $8.5 million in payments to settle a federal lawsuit surrounding Google Buzz and privacy. According to AFP, court documents filed today show that seven plaintiffs will get no more than $2,500 each, lawyers that filed the case get 30% of the settlement money to cover their fees, and the remainder will be put in a fund for organizations that are focused on Internet privacy issues and education. The settlement also "requires that Google undertake wider public education about the privacy aspects of Buzz [...]

Google Buzz Suggesting Accounts To Follow

The Google Buzz team announced they will be offering suggestions for new people to follow the next time you login to Google Buzz. Google said the "suggestions are based on your frequent email/chat contacts, your public connections on other networks, and their activity on Google Buzz." Google will only show you suggestions of public Google profiles and you can easily follow them or ignore the suggestion when you see it. Recently, Twitter added suggestions for people to follow on Twitter. Here is a picture: Hat tip to TechCrunch for spotting this. [...]

OneRiot Adds Google Buzz To Real-Time Search Results

With Google announcing new Google Buzz API features today, real-time search engine OneRiot has followed up by announcing the inclusion of Google Buzz data in its real-time search products. OneRiot says it's one of the first companies to get access to the Google Buzz "firehose" -- the full stream of all public activities on Buzz. OneRiot says it'll use the firehose data in three ways: To expand its Trending Topics Engine To improve its real-time search results (including the OneRiot API) To improve its RiotWise ad network OneRiot says it's using the Google Buzz firehose on a limi [...]

Google’s Brand Gets Thumbs Up; Google Buzz Not So Much

Two conflicting looks at Google earlier today that we'll pass along, starting with the good news for all inside the Googleplex. Google ranked number one on the Most Valuable Global Brand on the BrandZ Top 100 list, with a "brand value" of $114 billion. That's a 14% increase over 2009 for Google. (Microsoft was fourth on the list.) On the other hand, Google Buzz took a shot today from TIME magazine -- it made the magazine's list of Least Influential People of 2010 -- a list that includes actress Rue McLanahan, the now-defunct Gourmet magazine, and the president of the U.S. Metric Associat [...]

Google Buzz Rechecks Privacy Settings

In light of its struggles with user privacy, Google Buzz is double-checking to make sure users have the service setup the way they want. Starting Monday afternoon, Google began showing a "Confirm your Buzz setup" screen when early adopters clicked the Buzz tab in Gmail. The screen shows who you're following, and provides links to see who's following you and what other sites you've connected to Buzz. There are clear descriptions throughout the screen that reflect the user's privacy settings -- who sees what, primarily. It's a welcome idea, but it's about two months late. (Google Buzz lau [...]

Lawmakers Want FTC To Investigate Google Buzz

Google Buzz is having a bad day. I reported earlier about the lack of search interest in Buzz, but there's a potentially more serious legal problem coming: A group of 11 lawmakers is asking the FTC to investigate whether Google Buzz violated consumer privacy regulations. BusinessWeek reported over the weekend that 11 members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have sent a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. The Hill quotes the letter, which is critical of "Google's practice of automatically using consumers' e-mail address books to create contact lists for Buzz and then publicly dis [...]

Is Google Buzz Dead Already?

Where's the buzz on Google Buzz? According to online ad network Chitika, the buzz is gone, dead. Chitika says this is true both in general web searches, as well as search activity across its network of 80,000 sites. Chitika's blog post explains more, with numbers from its own network: February 9th, 2010 – the day Buzz was launched – the search engines lit up with queries. The Chitika network saw about 1,500 searches that day for the term "Google Buzz," approximately 15 times the number of searches for "Twitter." However, those searches dropped off quickly – on February 10th, [...]

FTC Commissioner: Google’s Buzz Launch Was ‘Irresponsible Conduct’

An outgoing FTC commissioner has slammed Google over the way it launched Google Buzz last month, calling the episode a case of "irresponsible conduct." According to PC World, FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour also said Google and other online companies may face tougher penalties if they don't do a better job of protecting consumer privacy. The PC World article includes some strongly-worded criticisms about how Google launched its Buzz social networking service: "Google consistently tells the public to 'just trust us,'" she said. "But based on my observations, I do not believe consume [...]

Google Wants Feedback On Buzz

Google is asking for user feedback and ideas for its Google Buzz product, and has setup an ideas forum using Google Moderator. After signing in with a Google account, users can submit ideas or vote on existing ideas from other users. According to Google's blog post, this ideas forum will remain open until March 31st. [...]

Is Redmond The Puppet Master In Google EU Anti-Trust Complaints?

As both the Wall Street Journal and Telegraph UK are reporting, the EU has received complaints into Google's competitive practices and potential abuse of its dominant market position in Europe. These come from some private companies, which we discussed in part before. One of those companies, the shopping engine Ciao, was acquired by Microsoft in 2008. Another of the companies, Foundem, is part of an organization funded in part by Microsoft. While these complaints likely exist independent of Microsoft, it's also clear that Microsoft is not a remote and disinterested party in this dispute. Mi [...]

By The Numbers: Twitter Vs. Facebook Vs. Google Buzz

Twitter caused a stir Monday when it lifted its curtain enough to show us how much activity the service is seeing currently, and how it's grown since 2007. And while many reports talk about visits to flattening, Twitter's own chart showing the number of tweets its users are publishing is staggering. Twitter says it's currently seeing about 50 million tweets per day, which breaks down to about 600 per second. But how do those numbers compare to Facebook, the king of social networking, and Google Buzz, the new kid on the block? In an early blog post published just two da [...]

How Google Buzz Hijacks Your Google Profile

Google Profiles existed long before the launch of Google Buzz earlier this month. But since that time, Google Buzz has hijacked Google Profiles in a way unmatched by any other Google product. That's bad news for those who want to fully opt-out of Google Buzz. Doing so kills your Google Profile. It's also bad news for those who wanted Google Profiles to focus on you as an individual, rather than what you're Buzzing about. For those unfamiliar with Google Profiles, see our Hoping To Improve People Search, Google Launches "Profile Results" post from last year. It's a good introduction to how [...]

How To Search Google Buzz

Looking to find something on Google Buzz? Ironically, for a product from Google, searching Buzz seems to have a lot that can be improved. Below, some tips I've pulled together. Buzz Search From Google Buzz  has its own search box, as you'll find at the top of the page. But doing a search using this built-in tool is less than impressive. For example, here's what I currently get for a search on olympics: The first post is from 10:55am on Tuesday, Feb. 16 -- about 12 hours before I wrote this. That's the most current Buzz result for the Olympics? And why this one? It's not from some [...]

Canadian Government Reviewing Google Buzz; U.S. Govt. Next?

Postscript, February 17: The CBC article cited below has reworded its article and now says the Canadian government is "reviewing" rather than "investigating" Buzz. A semantic distinction, perhaps, but there's apparently no formal government investigation happening in Canada at the moment, so we've updated our headline, too. We've also received a statement from Google on this, and that's appended at the end of this article. -------------- After a "challenging" first week for Google Buzz, week number two has begun with still more concerns over privacy, not to mention a government investiga [...]

Google Apologizes, Continues To Tweak Buzz

You may not like Buzz, or may not like how it was launched (you're not alone), but you have to give Google credit for listening and continuing to change Buzz in response to user feedback and criticisms. Google has just announced three tweaks to Buzz and, at the same time, offered an apology for what it calls a "challenging week": We quickly realized that we didn't get everything quite right. We're very sorry for the concern we've caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback. We'll continue to do so. Here are the three changes announced today: [...]

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