Private parts

Hey, remember Google Buzz? The Twitter-like service was supposed to be the basis of Google's Facebook-beating social network. But it turned out to only beat Facebook in one area - egregious disrespect of people's privacy. Mere days after Buzz launched, apparently signing people up to sharing public updates without asking them, a furious blog post from a woman who feared it had shared her updates with her abusive ex-husband rocketed around the internet and Buzz was basically dead. (Never mind the fact that a lot of the things she thought Buzz was doing weren't actually happening.)

Before long, not only had Google annoyed a lot of people, but it was being investigated by America's Federal Trade Commission.

Well, as it launches its new social product +1 (see previous story), Google has finally put the Buzz fiasco to rest. The company's made a settlement with the FTC in which it's promised to make any changes to the use of personal information opt-in rather than opt-out. Moreover, it's agreed to have independent 'privacy audits' every two years - for the next twenty years.

That Buzz launch was a real doozy of a mistake, huh?

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