December 18, 2007
The idiots at Google have decided to share my Google Reader RSS subscriptions with everybody in my GMail contacts who uses both GMail and Google Reader. Having read what little documentation they offer, it appears that the only way to opt out is to delete those people from my contacts (or from my "talk list", which how you do that is less than clear). But y'know how they got in my contacts to begin with? GMail added them automatically when I sent mail to those addresses.
That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of in my life (well, it's close, anyhow). Nobody thought it through. They are taking information people have not chosen to share, and they are making it public. I don't give a rat's ass who knows I read the Hello Kitty Transvestite Anarchist Sabotage Blog, but if private information has been kept private, it's a cinch somebody out there has been counting on it remaining so and will be massively pissed off about a thing like this (like my ex-gf who's been reduced to monitoring me by RSS ever since I told her about hit counters and IP addresses).
Think this'll be a PR debacle for Google? Let's hope.
It's an idiotic feature anyway. It's not there because anybody wants it; it's there because it was technically feasible and some knucklehead had some time on his hands. Overstaffing strikes again. If I wanted more crap in my RSS feed, I'd add it myself. WTF? What, people can't find enough blogs to subscribe to? We're facing a shortage? Reee-tarrrd...
Hmm. Meg thinks the feature doesn't mean exactly what I think it means. But she's an economist: She trusts the market to do sane things sometimes. I'm a programmer: I trust software companies to behave like wounded schizophrenics on acid by default.