Last week, Google launched Buzz, a status update tool that has elements of Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed. Google launched it inside the Gmail app, giving it an instant installed base of millions of people. More importantly, Google gave Buzz access to your Gmail contacts.
When the app first launched, it's fair to say that the Buzz app was a little too eager to use and share the details of users' personal networks. Furthermore, privacy controls for Buzz were spread over multiple configuration screens. Some necessary controls, like the off switch, were just flat-out missing.
To Google's credit, within days, the company corrected the major privacy failings of Buzz. More than once, in fact: Google tweaks Buzz privacy settings Google changes Buzz privacy settings--again
But the question remains: what was Google thinking? How did this giant search company, with more lawyers than most Web companies have engineers, get itself into a situation that required it to revise the product almost immediately after it launched? And what does the Buzz experience say about social networks and privacy on the larger scale?
That's what we're going to discuss today, and we have two great guests to do it. First, we have a taped interview with Mike Yang, senior product counsel for Google. I taped this interview earlier. Then I have a discussion with Jared Kaprove, a fellow at EPIC, The Electronic Privacy Information Center.
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