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Google updates Buzz amid privacy concerns

February 12, 2010 |  9:49 am

That didn't take long.

Google has added new features to its Buzz social network in response to privacy concerns and other feedback it has received from users.

As we reported Thursday, Buzz users were concerned that the names and contact information of those they communicate with most often on Gmail were being automatically broadcast to anyone who views their public profile. The outcry over that feature grew from a few gripes to widespread and, in many cases, unwarranted panic.

Regardless, Google announced late Thursday that it had made the option during initial set-up to hide the lists of people following a user and those the user is following more prominent. The option was available before the update, but it was difficult to find.

Google said some of the feedback it received included user concern over blocking those people they didn't want to interact with on the social network. Previously, users could block only individuals who had a public Google profile. A new option in Buzz now allows users to block anyone, regardless of whether they have a private or public profile.

Finally, Google announced that it has made it easier for users to distinguish between followers who have public profiles and those who do not. That addition should help users determine which followers the public can see when they view their profile.

Google's decision to address Buzz concerns so quickly is a smart one. Social networks are notorious for doing as little as possible to accommodate users that want more privacy. Developing a wildly successful social network is difficult, but this is one step in the right direction for the search giant.

-- Don Reisinger   

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