Google Buzz Privacy Update Has Users Seeing Stars (Instead Of Your Friend's Private Email Address)

Google Buzz launched with more than its fair share of privacy issues, leading to a significant backlash from some users. Fortunately the Buzz team is fixing these issues at a brisk pace. Today, they’ve rolled out a fix to a bug that would let users inadvertently expose their friends’ private email addresses using Buzz’s @reply system. Now, instead of sharing these private email addresses with the public, Buzz will simply show everyone a series of asterisks.

The bug stemmed from the way Buzz handles @replies. To send a message to someone you do it using their Email address, and Buzz makes this easy by showing an autocomplete box as you start typing their name. Unfortunately if you happened to pick an Email address that wasn’t associated with a Google Profile (which is quite easy to do given how many people use multiple accounts), Buzz would expose that Email address to the world.

Earlier this week Google helped allay privacy concerns with some other changes to Buzz, including a more prominent option to hide your follower lists (which could be used to figure out who you frequently exchange emails with).