Stop Google Buzz From Showing The World Your Contacts

Whether you call it a huge privacy flaw or just an annoyance, Google Buzz can put the contacts you automatically follow — a.k.a. those you most frequently email or chat — on a public profile page. Here's how to undo that.

Google Blogoscoped's Philipp Lenssen felt he had to avoid following certain Buzz contacts, as he didn't want to expose his social circle to the wider net. He's right — by default, if you haven't touched your Google Profile, once you set up Buzz, those you're following, and those following you, are shown on your profile page in a right-hand link list.

To turn this off, sign into your Google account (via Gmail or elsewhere) and head to your Google profile — that link should work if you're signed in. Look for the two links showing "Following X people" and "X people following me". There's a grey note underneath those numbers, indicating whether they're visible to just you or to everyone.

If they're visible to everyone, hit the "Edit Profile" link on the right-hand edge of the blue bar in the middle of the page, to the right of "About me", "Buzz" and "Contact info". In the third column of options there, there are checkboxes that control privacy features, and one of them is labelled "Display the list of people I'm following and people following me." Un-check that box, and now your list of followers and followees is private — or at least seen only by those you're following, perhaps.

This tip came courtesy of Contributing Editor Lisa, who was similarly shocked to see Google dropping everyone's frequently contacted names on the net. If you've found a similarly crucial privacy tweak for Buzz, tell us about it in the comments.


Comments

    great tip, i followed the instructions and was able to set my list of following / followers to private quite easily, cheers!

    I don't have that box.... I have the display my full name, and allow people to contact me ( without showing my email) but not the 3rd box. mmmmm

    I noticed that when I first opened Buzz in G-Mail it asked me to edit the profile, and the option was very clear at selectable that point...

    Perhaps people should actually read the pop-up before pressing O.k.

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