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Countries ask Google to drop "launch now, fix later" policy
Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 20 April 2010 18:16

From ARS Technica

Government officials from 10 countries sent Google an open letter (PDF) this week asking the company to adhere to a list of privacy principles in the wake of the company's botched Buzz launch. The leaders, which include officials from Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and the UK, make it clear that they understand Google swiftly responded to user complaints immediately after Buzz was opened to the public. Still, they're unsatisfied with Google's "launch now, fix later" philosophy and want to ensure the company takes privacy into serious consideration before launching future products.

In the letter sent directly to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the officials opened with criticism of how Google handled its Buzz launch in February of this year. The privacy problems "were serious and ought to have been readily apparent to you," reads the letter, and users were able to recognize the privacy implications immediately. Indeed, users were put off by the fact that Google automatically associated their previously private Gmail contacts as friends, automatically sharing Google Reader items, and automatically sharing photos uploaded to users' public Picasa Web Albums.

Google responded days later by changing Buzz's default settings to appease the masses, but the damage was already done and many were baffled as to how Google could not have envisioned these complaints ahead of time. The letter points this out: "While your company addressed the most privacy-intrusive aspects of Google Buzz in the wake of this public protest [...] we remain extremely concerned about how a product with such significant privacy issues was launched in the first place. We would have expected a company of your stature to set a better example."    [More...] [Comments...]



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