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Google Buzz and Privacy

written by: Arnold Zafra•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/15/2010

When Google Buzz was released the most pressing issue that came out immediately was the question of privacy. Google Buzz could have been a great online tool/service if not for grave threat to one's privacy. Read on to find out Google Buzz and the privacy issues confronting it

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    Google Buzz Privacy Policy

    Recently Google published a one-page statement enumerating how Google Buzz treats privacy of its users. Among the highlights of this Google Buzz Privacy Policy include:

    • Google Profile's minimum requirements are your first and last name. This is needed for you to post in Buzz or comment/like other people's posts.
    • Google suggests people for you to follow based on those you send email to and chat with the most. You can review and edit this list at your own will. This could include the person you had the big consumer rights argument with, too.
    • Google Buzz, may record information about your use of the product, such as the posts you like or comment on and the other users with whom you communicate.
    • Your Google Profile is publicly searchable but you can opt-out of it.
    • Your profile will appear on another Google Buzz user's page you follow if that user publicly displays their list of followers. This is true even if you set your profile to private.
    • All your activities in connected sites are shared in Google Buzz- so you may want to review the sites you connected to Google Buzz.
    • Google Buzz may record information about you.
    • Google Buzz can collect and store a copy of the voice input you make when using its features with voice recognition. It also continuously records in temporary memory a few seconds of ambient background noise. This recording stays only temporarily on your mobile device and is not sent to Google.
    • Your location will only be collected if you use Google Buzz on your mobile phone. You may opt-out of this feature at your own will.
    • If you delete your Google Profile, your buzz post will also be deleted, but not the comments and "likes' you made on other people's posts.
    • You can clear data stored on your mobile device in the browser settings of your device.
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    What You can do to Protect Your Privacy

    • Don't divulge too much information on your Google profile. Remember this is searchable in Google search.
    • If you don't want to edit your Google profile information, then opt-out of the option to have your Google Profile searchable.
    • If you have photos or videos that you don't want to share, make sure you disable the connection between Google Buzz and your photo/video uploading site account.
    • Disable the location feature when you're using Google Buzz on your mobile phone.
    • If you think that you're going to delete your Google Buzz later on, don't bother commenting or posting on other people's Buzz.

    These are just some of the things you can do to control how much of your personal information Google Buzz will use. The bottom line is, yes, Google Buzz interferes with your privacy, but you can do something about it without needing to disable Google Buzz. The key here is the fact that we all know that Google Buzz is a social and open tool. If you value your online privacy too much, then you have the option not to use it. You can even choose to disable Google Buzz completely.