Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Google Has Become Microsoft’s Evil Twin

Robert X. Cringely
PC World
February 15, 2010

Late yesterday afternoon, Google introduced some changes it was making to Buzz via its Official Google Blog. They didn’t really change much — they just made some of the privacy features more visible, made it easier to block people from following you, and made it easier to manage which followers show up on your public Google Profile.

What they didn’t do was change the requirement for you to create a Google Profile in order to use Buzz, or change the default URL for the profile, which is the first half of your Gmail address. That’s not good.

“When you first go into Google Buzz, it automatically sets you up with followers and people to follow. … The problem is that — by default — the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile. In other words, before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see the people you email and chat with most …

“In my profession — where anonymous sourcing is a crucial tool — the implications of this flaw are terrifying. But it’s bad for others too.