What’s the Buzz?

I’ll admit it: I don’t have a Gmail account. Sure – I have a Hotmail account, but that’s because I didn’t know I could use my own email account when I needed a Passport Windows Live ID. Since then, I’ve fixed that, and migrated all of my Windows Live (and Xbox LIVE) services to a different mail account. I’ve also got a Yahoo! Mail account, but that’s because when I had DSL in Connecticut, SNET SBC AT&T required one. Same thing with Comcast. These are accounts I don’t use so they don’t exist to me.

Now that I think about it, I likely do have a Gmail account, but it’s like the Hotmail/Yahoo! thing: I wanted access to a Google service at some point and they gave me a mailbox for free… the only time that I’d want a Gmail account is when I’d want some anonymity and even then, I’d question Gmail as a viable choice: it’s a well documented “feature” that they scan your email for “targeted marketing reasons”. I know people will tell me “They say they can be a business without being evil!” but call me careful… I’d rather not take the chance if I really wanted to re-invent my digital self.

Then Google Buzz hits. I thought “what the hell happened to Wave anyway?” and took a look. Oi… another social network to join? Not interested. Then the fallout started from people that “signed up” for it. Google opted-in everyone that has Gmail – and touted look at our numbers Facebook and Twitter! – and then went on to set the default privacy settings to be “show the world everything.” Sounds harmless? It’s not. It’s caused some people a number of issues. Serious “real life” issues and all of it without their concent. When people are hit by viruses or phishing, I look at the user and say “You dumb ass! You downloaded what and thought it was OK? Get your porn on a DVD from now on!” because that required their active clicking… Buzz issues/problems? Were totally pushed to users in the dark. Totally silent.

This release plan was either completely stupid or completely diabolical, depending on how evil you think Google can be and today I’m very, very thankful I don’t use Gmail.

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