Google Says Buzz Needed Wider Testing, Issuing Fixes This Week [Updates]

In one week, Google’s Buzz social network has moved through a splashy launch, a quick fix, a major clean-up, and now, an apology. Buzz’s product manager says his team is “very, very sorry,” and that (more) fixes are coming this week.

Todd Jackson, Buzz product manager, tells BBC News that Buzz was tested internally by 20,000 Google employees and affiliates, but that wider public testing should have been solicited before launching. The BBC post offers a decent summation of the problems users and privacy advocates have pointed out, like the public sharing of followers and followees (which has since been tweaked).

Yada, yada, so what’s going to happen now? Jackson says “transparency and control” improvements would be going live “this week.”

Other possible changes include a better “preferences menu” that will allow users to better tailor what appears in their inbox, and a more prominent “mute” option to switch the service off.

Another idea, said Mr Jackson, was to create a separate service that was not part of Gmail.

“We think that integration with Gmail was absolutely the right way to go – we wanted to make Buzz easily accessible to people,” he said. “We also want to give people who don’t use Gmail the ability to use Buzz, so we’re exploring the idea of offering a separate destination site.”

The most recently announced changes would go live “this week”, he added.

Better still, Jackson says the changes and features are being bug tested and translated into 53 languages, so a full-fledged overhaul should come for everyone very soon.

It’s reassuring to see Google acknowledge its flaws and move quickly to address its users’ issues. Then again, their trial-and-error is being staged with users’ address books. What else would you want to see Buzz fix, as long as they’ve got the scalpel and sutures out?

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