Google Plans More Buzz Changes: Report

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Google ( GOOG) is mulling further updates and considering changing the way it tests new Buzz features, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The number of people initially uncomfortable with the service underscored that the company's approach of testing Buzz among its employees hasn't been sufficient, Google product manager Todd Jackson told the Journal in an interview. Google might test new features with friends and family of Google employees.

"Getting feedback from 20,000 Googlers isn't quite the same as letting Gmail users play with Buzz in the wild," Jackson said. "We needed to launch to the public and get feedback from users."

Since the launch of Buzz, Google has said it would no longer direct users to follow the postings of their close Gmail contacts, a move which had many people believing that Buzz was publicizing their private relationships, the Journal reports.

Google also has announced steps to make it easier to disable Buzz altogether and said that it would no longer connect Buzz to Picasa photo albums and Google Reader items automatically.

The decision to abandon the old model was made Saturday by a group of engineers and executives, including Bradley Horowitz, a Google vice president, and senior vice president of engineering, Jeff Huber.

The group weighed feedback from users and Google employees, to whom it presented at a previously scheduled companywide meeting on Friday. Engineers began coding the new feature Saturday and plan to launch it to new Buzz users this week, Jackson told the Journal.

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