Goodbye, Google Buzz

Google Buzz

It's tough to avoid all the buzz over Google Buzz these days. Since introducing the new social networking tool last week, Google has come under fire for everything from privacy concerns to feelings of information overload.

The Google gang has gotten down on its knees to apologize, offering tweak after tweak to its Gmail-centric service. Still, plenty of people aren't too pleased with their automatic enrollment in a program that invaded their inboxes.

Now, there's an easy way to bid Buzz adieu once and for all.

My Google Buzz Goodbye

Me, I'm in the camp of those who are pretty much ready to tell Buzz to buzz off. In the hours leading up to Buzz's official debut, I had optimistically hoped the service would end up providing us with a way to manage our existing social media connections -- centralizing something old, rather than creating something new. Instead, as I'd feared might happen, Google's Buzz is really just adding more noise into an already buzzing area of my life.

Now, as any regular readers know, I'm fond of many of Google's services (I'm even bordering on becoming an Android fanboy, according to a highly scientific quiz I just took). I use Gmail to manage my numerous e-mail addresses and accounts. And that's precisely why I'm ready to say bye-bye to Buzz: Privacy considerations aside, the last thing I need is yet another social networking site to keep up with when I should be working. And the last place I need it is in a Web site that serves as one of my main productivity tools.

Getting Rid of Google Buzz

If you, too, are ready to swat Buzz away, here's how: Surf over to Gmail and sign into your account. Scroll down to the bottom of the main inbox screen and look for the link that says "Turn Off Buzz" -- it's at the very bottom of the page, just above the copyright notice.

Thanks to Google's most recent set of changes, that link now leads you to an expanded menu of Buzz-specific settings (here's exactly what it looks like). You'll find options to control whether your Buzz "following lists" are displayed on your Google Profile page, to remove Buzz-related content from your Gmail page, and -- if you're ready to fully pull the plug -- to disable Buzz altogether.

The Buzz-busting option deletes anything and everything Buzz-related from your Google account: your public profile, your connections, and any posts you may have shared. You'll retain the option to re-enable it in the future -- a small "Turn On Buzz" link will appear at the bottom of your Gmail inbox screen -- but all other signs of Buzz will be banished, one might say, to infinity and beyond.

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the co-founder of eSarcasm. Though not on Buzz, he is on Facebook: facebook.com/The.JR.Raphael

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