Jack Yan
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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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18.02.2010

I don’t have Gmail. So how did I get a Buzz account again?

Can someone please explain to me how I have a Google Buzz account?
   Yes, I know, all those people complaining about Google Buzz found that their Gmail contacts where, all of a sudden, added to the service.
   And Google, this week, apologized for messing up.
   Well, Google, please explain my scenario, because I don’t have a bloody Gmail account.
   Yet, you’ve seen fit to provide me with a Buzz account—something I do not want—and, like so many others, added 19 followers to it.


Above: Buzz has been the centre of complaints for Gmail users these past few weeks. Google now extends that to non-Gmail users.

   This was today. This was after your supposed apology for messing up people’s privacy.
   I guess you’ve figured that after messing up Gmail users’ lives, you’re now going after non-Gmail users.
   Incidentally, can someone also please explain to me why I have 18 requests for Google Reader followers when I have done everything possible to remove every last piece of information out of there? Just where did these 18 suddenly come from?


Above: Despite deleting everything out of my Google Reader account, today I have 18 people wanting to be the followers of an empty account. Nice one, Google.

   Of those eighteen, I know seven.
   I am talking about Google Reader—that service which still gave me recommendations for sites to follow based on my feeds and Web History, even though I had no feeds and had turned off Web History. Privacy breach much?
   Then, in my Google Profile, why have you introduced new fields in there and checked them by default? I was very careful to remove information out of there, but now, supposedly, I want you to ‘Display the list of people I’m following and people following me’.


Above: A new field was added to my Google Profile, checked by default—to ensure less privacy. Less than a day after it apologized for breaching people’s privacy. Hypocrisy much?

   Are your people so stupid that you would introduce a new field dealing with privacy and turn it on by default? The week after your Google Buzz débâcle? Who did you hire? People from Facebook?
   Does your HR department hire bottom-of-the-class guys, or do you find morons and train them down?
   Rather ironical, considering that this week, I have been de-Googling my life. Looks like Google doesn’t like my removing myself from its services, so it’s forcibly put me on to new ones and created new options which it has checked by default, decreasing my privacy.
   It wasn’t enough that you had put me on to Reader and turned on Web History after I turned it off.
   Consider my profile deleted, dickheads. You are not getting any more of my personal information from me.
   Really, Google, WTF?


Above: I don’t have Gmail. Look, Google, it’s in my “new products to try” section.

PS.: Deleting my profile has made no difference to my Buzz account: it remains there, complete with followers.—JY

P.PS.: Scootley at the Gmail forums explains that anyone can get a Buzz account, even if they do not use Gmail. Here’s what I don’t get (correct me if I am wrong):
• Buzz is part of Gmail.
• If I have never signed up to Gmail and agreed to its terms and conditions, what governs my relationship with Google over Buzz?
   I decided to find out.
   Answer: none.
   On visiting Google Buzz’s home page, and following the links at the bottom of that page to the terms and conditions and privacy policy, I encountered these two pages:


Above: Google has no terms and conditions for Buzz (URL accessed 2.27 p.m. GMT [and again at 10.26 p.m. GMT]).


Above: Google has no privacy policy for Buzz (URL accessed 2.27 p.m. GMT [and again at 10.26 p.m. GMT]).

   Ironically, I re-created a new profile and unchecked the ‘Display the list of people I’m following and people following me’ option, and now, Buzz has finally disappeared. (This did not work earlier—and Scootley confirms that that should have had no effect on Buzz’s presence in my Google Dashboard. Still, it’s gone, so I’m happy.)—JY

P.P.PS.: One consequence of having no Google profile is that Google punishes you in the search results. In an ego-surf of my name with quotes, I dipped 10,000 results because of the missing profile. (I also dipped 10,000 after an earlier attempt a few days ago of having my profile turned off.) Like one page on Google really counts for 10,000 hits—but apparently, Google gets pissy at you for turning your profile off!
   Well, I’d rather have a drop of 10,000 references than have weird services appear in my Google profile!—JY

Related posts

Filed under: business, internet, technology, USA—Jack Yan @ 13.48

9 Responses to ‘I don’t have Gmail. So how did I get a Buzz account again?’

  1. Pete says:

    I am positive that someone at google has lost a screw. How can this be the same company that for years seemed to be in touch?

  2. Jack Yan says:

    I don’t recognize this firm, Pete. Even as recently as a year ago I would have said that I had a very positive impression of Google. Not any more.

  3. Ong Wee Kiat Bob says:

    Yes Pete, having followed Jack’s blog since last week, I have found out startling things about Google. Here in Singapore, most comments about Buzz are positive. It is queer how a technology can polarise people so sharply. Not too long ago, Apple’s iPad did the same thing. One camp mocked it incessantly while another praised it to high heaven.

  4. Jack Yan says:

    I would not have minded Buzz so much if it was launched and rested in the ‘Try something new’ category on my Google account page, so I could sample it at my heart’s content.
       If it were not for my highly negative experience in trying to help Vincent Wright recover his blog for six months, I might not have tweaked on to Google’s misbehaviours.
       But it is just as well I did, not only because of Buzz, but because Blogger will cease to support FTP publishing (which I use) next month. The de-Googling that I mentioned turned out to be a necessity, even if it was founded out of concern.

  5. Pete says:

    It’s interesting to hear that Buzz has been so popular in Singapore. As you say, it is strange how something can polarise opinion so much.

    The problem I have with Buzz isn’t the software itself, it’s just that it invaded people’s privacy; I’m very sensitive about my online privacy because I think it’s something people are letting go off and suddenly everyone in the world gets to know every aspect of your life. Google is, for me, now sadly moving into the same class of companies as facebook; I use them out of necessity but don’t trust them at all anymore.

    After what happened with facebook – the way it got so many users that you can’t possibly leave without also breaking communication with people you know. Then they abused that position knowing that few people would leave. I’m not going to let another company do that to me.

  6. Jack Yan says:

    I agree, Pete. I am very sensitive about my privacy, too—and probably now have to be if my mayoral bid works out. Google should also have foreseen the problems, given how much furore followed Facebook’s privacy changes. Was it really so arrogant as to think it would be immune, and that its brand would remain untarnished?

  7. […] blog entry.    Steven Levy’s article was probably written before the furore over the Google Buzz privacy flap. And it points out how Google has learned from users for search, producing more relevant results […]

  8. […] friend Pete informs me of his Google Buzz experience, and it’s not positive, either.    He is no stranger to technology and is more expert than I am on these matters. He had […]

  9. […] know. After I told them they were wrong, they gave up investigating.    I’m the guy who doesn’t have a Google Buzz account or a Gmail, but, to this day, has seven followers whom Google won’t identify to me as part of […]

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