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Google alters Buzz after privacy complaints

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Responding to criticism of the privacy settings on Buzz, Google moved over the weekend to address concerns about its new social network service.

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) Buzz, launched last Tuesday, is fully integrated with the search engine's e-mail service, Gmail. It also included an auto-follow feature that aimed to make getting started on Buzz quick and simple by having new users follow their most frequent e-mail and chat contacts without clicking on anything.

But users were furious their contacts would be revealed to the public before they even created a Buzz profile.

"We've heard your feedback loud and clear, and since we launched Google Buzz four days ago, we've been working around the clock to address the concerns you've raised," said Todd Jackson, Gmail and Google Buzz product manager, in a blog post Saturday.

Google first responded Thursday to the disapproval by making the checkbox for choosing not to display information publicly more prominent, Jackson said.

But noting "that was clearly not enough," Jackson said Saturday that Buzz will switch to an auto-suggest model instead of auto-follow so users can review and click to approve the users they want to follow.

The changes will also disable Buzz from automatically connecting users' public Picasa photo albums and shared items through Google Reader.

Jackson also said Google is adding a Buzz tab to Gmail settings so users can hide the network from Gmail or disable it. He said the team will continue to make changes and improve the social network based on user feedback.

Last week, Google said during the first two days, Buzz attracted more than ten million users who created over 9 million posts and comments, and published more than 200 posts per minute from mobile devices worldwide. To top of page

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