This week, friendly neighborhood behemoth Google rolled out a new feature called Buzz, designed to emulate the real-time sharing impulses of Twitter and Facebook, right in your Gmail inbox. Anyone with a Gmail address received Buzz automatically, and was therefore immediately subjected to hundreds of links to articles and YouTube videos that they never asked to see. Yes, it’s possible to turn it off, but the brief interruption into normal emailing life sent the entire media into a frenzy, with articles pouring out about how the service will kill privacy as we know it. Silicon Alley Insider
reported that the service could be fatal for beat journalists or anyone else who sneaks around, as it shows a list of who users email the most (this could potentially reveal sources, strange allegiances, or in the case of adulterers, dalliances), deeming it “terrifying.” Since then, Google has tweaked the
privacy setting, but many are still taken aback at how intrusive the update was—and how it seems like Google might be not-so-secretly baiting users into generating data and content, whether they like it or not.