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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why I turned the Google Buzz off

There are three separate issues, only one of which is the defaults:

1) Having an engineering culture drive a social product.... And I'm not just trying to be snarky. Social isn't a technical problem it's a people one and Google's culture doesn't seem geared that way.
2) Layering a social sharing product (explicit social) on top of a private communication product like email (implicit social). Why would anyone assume that I'd want to do this? I might email business partners, clients, doctors (mine), lovers... why would you ever assume that frequency of email connections maps to 'want to share with the world?"
3) The settings. I despair of `society' as an industry sometimes. Ever since the earliest concerns over privacy a decade ago, people insist on ignoring obvious things - you don't opt people in just to build an audience and force them to opt out. You don't auto-subscribe them to a bunch of followers then make them removed those people one by one. You don't suddenly violate customer trust by changing the nature of a familiar product to suit senior management. These aren't hard or obscure lessons... but time and again otherwise bright people screw up by ignoring them.


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