Google’s Orwell Moment: On the Web, privacy has its price

Google recently introduced a new service that adds social-networking features to its popular Gmail system. The service is called Buzz, and within hours of its release, people were howling about privacy issues — because, in its original form, Buzz showed everyone the list of people you e-mail most frequently. Even people who weren’t cheating on their spouses or secretly applying for new jobs found this a little unnerving.Google backtracked and changed the software, and apologized for the misstep, claiming that, gosh, it just never occurred to us that people might get upset. “The public reaction was something we did not anticipate. But we’ve reacted very quickly to people’s unhappiness,” says Bradley Horowitz, vice president for product management at Google.

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