OPINION: With Buzz, Google takes another giant step towards turning into Microsoft

If, like millions of others, you use Gmail, Google’s webmail service, you will have been startled last week by the sudden appearance of a cuckoo in your email nest. When you log in to collect your mail, an invitation to “try Buzz in Gmail?” – “no setup needed” – pops up. There’s no indication of what this “Buzz” is, but if you click “try” a window opens saying you’re now “following” a number of people and that a number of people are “following” you. Below this comes a stream of Twitter-like postings from your followees.This will come as a surprise, because you have no recollection of making any decision to follow anyone, or of soliciting followers yourself. And this is in fact the case: Google has simply gone through your email inbox and designated some of those with whom you correspond frequently as followees. And you were at no stage consulted about any of this.

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