It’s been just two days since we first launched Google Buzz. Since then, tens of millions of people have checked Buzz out, creating over 9 million posts and comments. Plus, we’re seeing over 200 posts per minute from mobile phones around the world.
We’ve had plenty of feature requests, and some direct feedback. In particular there’s been concern from some people who thought their contacts were being made public without their knowledge (in particular the lists of people they follow, and the people following them). In addition, others felt they had too little control over who could follow them and were upset that they lacked the ability to block people who didn’t yet have public profiles from following them.
Like Gmail’s chat service, Buzz helps you create a social network by automatically setting you up to follow the people you email and chat with most. You can change, delete or add any contacts you want to follow.
So here is some more information about how Buzz works, and some immediate improvements we are making today based on your feedback.
The first time you create a post or comment in Buzz, we ask you to create a limited public profile (at a minimum it’s just your first and last names). We do this so we’ll know what name to display next to your posts — and so the people you follow know who you are. As you do this, we notify you that the lists of people you follow and the people following you will be displayed on your public profile. You can view, edit, and even hide these lists. The lists of your followers/people you follow are not made public on your profile until after you go through this profile creation step.
That said, we heard from people that the checkbox for choosing not to display this information was too hard to find, and based on this feedback, we’ve changed the notice to make it very clear. We will roll these changes out to all Gmail users later today.
1. More visible option to not show followers/people you follow on your public profile
If you don’t want to share the lists of people who are following you and people you are following publicly on your profile, you can always opt out during the profile set-up when you first use Buzz or at any time from the edit profile page. We are making this option more prominent in the set up process, to ensure everyone who wanted to hide these lists can do so easily.
2. Ability to block anyone who starts following you
We are making it easier to block anyone, by adding “Block” links to the list of people following you. Previously, you were only able to block people from following you after they had created a public profile. Now, you can block anyone, regardless of whether or not they’ve already created profiles for themselves.
3. More clarity on which of your followers/people you follow can appear on your public profile
Initially, we showed you a list of all the people who would be following you once they created a public profile. However, only those contacts who had already created a public profile would show up on your public follower list. We’re making this clearer by explicitly distinguishing which of your followers have public profiles and will show in your public list of followers. With this change you’ll be able to see who is on the public list of followers that everyone else sees.
We designed Buzz to make it easy to connect with others and have conversations about things that interest you, and it’s great to see millions of you doing this already. It’s still early, and we have a long list of improvements on the way. We look forward to hearing more suggestions and will continue to improve the Buzz experience with user transparency and control top of mind. For more information about the choices you have when using Google Buzz, please visit our Help Center.