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.