An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to

February 11, 2010

Google Buzz Makes Your Profile Searchable

An unexpected side effect of enabling Google Buzz is that your Google Profile automatically becomes searchable. Until now, you could edit your profile and only show your nickname publicly. When you activate Google Buzz, it automatically enables this option: "Display my full name so I can be found in search" and your full name becomes searchable. Google mentions that "changing your name here will change it in all Google products".

If you try disable the option in your Google profile, you'll no longer be able to post a new Google Buzz message until the option is enabled. Google will show this message:

That means Google Profile Search indexes all the profiles of Google Buzz users. Since Google Buzz is automatically enabled if you use Gmail, almost all Gmail users are listed.


  1. Yes, this is my main issue with buzz right now. I hope google corrects this soon.

  2. not sure there is really a way around being on a social network without having a name -- which is essentially what this is.

    I simply just truncated my last name to my last initial -- which allows me to be public without exposing my full name. There is no law that says your Google profile needs to be complete, or even correct, if you don't want it to be. You just need to have *a* profile, of some kind.

  3. You're right, but the problem is that Google uses a single name for all its services. Gmail and Blogger let you change that name, but other Google services don't have this option.

  4. I am trying buzz but my name is not searcheable and Google says:

    Your profile is not yet eligible to be featured in Google search results
    To have your profile featured, add more information about yourself.

  5. @Anonymous:

    I'm not sure if profiles are included in Google's search results, but you can find them in Google Profile Search.

  6. you have the option to use your gmail name or a crazy long autogen string of numbers for your profile address. I see a lot of people with their profile set to their gmail addy, I just can't see how the spam bots aren't going to harvest them all. the numeric is ugly, but it should keep things secure.

  7. @Anonymous: there are hundreds of sites where people use their email as their url - Facebook, flickr, heck, even picasaweb albums does this automatically. I'd love a way around this but sadly it's not going to happen.

  8. I'm pretty sure that was already available on Google profiles before Buzz ...

  9. I just removed my profile name from being searchable and I can still use Buzz
    so they must have done some adjustment

  10. Article correction: Buzz does NOT automatically activate. I picked yes, my SO picked ignore, and only I have Buzz enabled right now.

    Also, don't expect Google to let you disable being searchable. Buzz is part of the move towards a more social and socially responsible web usage, since anything bad/good you do on Buzz gets attached to your real name. On the other hand, the inability to choose yourself is what G usually tries to avoid. And anyway people can fill in an incorrect name. Trying to reactivate an old Yahoo account only to get access to an old quota-filled-up flickr account does get a bit harder if you like me made some mistakes (...hrm) when signing up for Flicker and got Yahoo shoved down your throat in the deal.

  11. First facebook in january, now google.
    The plan seems to be:

    1. build trust and get users with a mostly-private network
    2. reveal profiles (and frequend contacts and ...) to the world, and anyone who runs a bot or a spider
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

  12. Interesting discussion in Google's help forums. Here's what Michelle from Google says about this:

    "You don't have to include anything but a name, but we need to know what to show people when you post, when you comment on others' posts, and when you start following other people.

    I think an example will help. Say a classmate from college, to whom you've not spoken since you graduated, is using Buzz, and it turns out (unknown to either of you) that you have a mutual friend. The friend makes a post visible to both of you on which the former classmate has left a comment.

    First of all, how do we know what to show beside his comment? We wouldn't want to display his email address (profiles keep that information private), and an obfuscated number would be pretty creepy. Contributions need to be attributed in some distinguished way.

    After seeing the comment and recognizing his name and photo - maybe even clicking through to his full profile, where he's included enough information for you to identify him as the same Jack Jones you knew - you decide you'd like to start following him, because he was the guy who always had the best funny stories to share. You click to follow him. The next time Jack signs in and goes to look at his new buzz, he sees a notice that someone new has started following him. If we don't have any information to show him about you - keeping in mind that you still don't know each other's email addresses - he won't know who this new person is. But it's a very easy decision for him if he can see your name.

    I hope that helps explain why we need you to have some kind of public name. As we've said, you need include no other information in your profile, and you can make all of your posts and followers private."

  13. The longer this goes on, the more I am glad that I have turned off Buzz (after removing all posts, unfollowing and blocking, etc). Google have really messed up with this. A lot of people who previously thought highly of Google now view the company as not to be trusted. If nothing else, it shows a major lack of judgement to roll out Buzz to the whole world before some limited user trials (as Google always seemed to do in the past). If Google can get this so wrong, what else might they screw up?

  14. I like having friends. I like being a friend to others.
    I do not want followers. Nor will I be a follower of anyone.
    To be forced to either have followers or be a follower is to lock one into a juvenile, simplistic, stupid, and incompetent view of the world.
    I had expected a more mature approach to life from Google. I guess I was expecting too much.

  15. Jest b. dobre to, że nie ukazuje się adres @ dla nieznanych osób. Ale szkoda, że przed napisaniem pierwszego wpisu w Buzz, nie wyskakuje okienko z pytaniem: jak chcemy podpisywać swoje wpisy - nick czy imię i nazwisko? Podobnie jak to jest rozwiązane przy subskrypcji jakieś grupy w Googlegroups. Późniejsze odhaczenie w Buzz opcji "Wyświetl moje imię i nazwisko..." już nie pozwala na posługiwanie się nickiem. Jest to o tyle mylące, że w ramce edycji wpisu Buzz zawsze widnieje nick!
    Ja chcę zachować swoją prywatność i występuję w Necie jako JaMyszka. Owszem, są osoby, które mnie znają z nazwiska i identyfikują mój nick, ale to nie znaczy, że przyzwalam na taką identyfikację każdemu. Wszak dom swój też zamykam i nie pozwalam wejść każdemu przechodniowi. Wchodzą do niego tylko osoby przeze mnie zaproszone. I nie jest dla mnie argumentem, że ktoś tam chciałby mnie znaleźć i dlatego ja mam posługiwać się swoimi danymi. Tak, wiem - są osoby, którym to odpowiada, ale ja sobie cenię swoją prywatność!!
    Po Google spodziewałam się innego rozwiązania - np. stworzenie platformy "Poszukuję kontaktu", gdzie poszukujący pisałby Imię i Nazwisko osoby którą poszukuje (i dlaczego) oraz swoje dane kontaktowe.
    A każdy mógłby, poprzez opcję "Sprawdź czy nie jesteś poszukiwany", nawiązać z daną osobą kontakt. Ale to byłoby wg woli osoby poszukiwanej! A teraz Google serwuje nam sytuację odwrotną - to osoba poszukująca jest anonimowa! I ja się pytam: dlaczego utrudnia się życie celebrytom, VIPom czy innym ludziom sukcesu? Czy oni nie mają prawa do normalnego życia?

  16. You don't need a public or searchable profile to follow other people. You do need a profile, but it doesn't need to be public or searchable. Only if you start posting, your profile becomes public. Not sure why this is, though.

    When you enable Buzz your profile can still remain non-public. The statement that the profiles of most gmail users are now searchable is not true I think, unless most gmail users start posting. My profile is not searchable although I have Buzz enabled.

  17. @Edu
    [quote]You do need a profile, but it doesn't need to be public or searchable. Only if you start posting, your profile becomes public.[/quote]
    Masz rację! Ale w dyskusji Buzz dalej ukazuje się Imię i Nazwisko, a nie nick! Rozumiesz? Znajomi moich znajomych, ale którzy nie są moimi znajomymi, rozpoznają mnie po moich danych osobowych! I tu zostaje naruszona moja prywatność!!

  18. This discussion is missing the point of BUZZ. It is a way to broadcast
    your opinion to the world, just like Tweater is. It is completely
    pointless to disable your google profile and than buzz anything - nobody
    will see it.
    Buzzing to private groups is same as sending email to a mailing list,
    so buzz would not be needed for that.

    Buzz is a convenient way to have a picture-enabled blog. Your google profile becomes your blog. People can follow it just like any other blog. That is it. There is nothing else to it. It is completely idiotic
    to try to disable access to your own blog, therefore the whole discussion of excessive exposure is just an exercise in misunderstanding.

    What I find disappointing is that "inside" of the BUZZ messages in your google profile do not appear to be searcheable in google. E.g. I can't find my BUZZ messages in google search. Now that is a real problem.

  19. I don't think private Buzz messages are pointless. Sometimes you want to discuss about an upcoming project with your colleagues or you link to an obscure article that wouldn't be interesting for your 500 followers.

    Buzz messages have permalinks and they're indexed by Google. Search for:

    and you'll find many messages.

    You can also use search options and restrict the results to "updates" (search results from microblogging services like Twitter, Jaiku etc.)

  20. If private messaging is needed Buzz does support many different types
    of "groups" that you can create, which not necessarily coinside with
    your followers.

    Regarding searcheability of BUZZ messages posted on my profile, I have
    my doubts. I posted a BUZZ for testing purposes about a week ago, but
    google search still does not find it.

    For example on my profile "Yevgen Barsukov" there is a BUZZ message that contains words "beautfis seascape in Taiwan". It can be
    seen in the profile.

    However, google search "beautiful seascape in Taiwan stone park" does not return any results.
    Usually google search engines are updating much faster than 1 week.
    What is going on?

    Maybe BUZZ messages are not searcheable after all?


  21. I just viewed my Buzz profile and saw this message:

    "Your profile is not yet eligible to be featured in Google search results

    To have your profile featured, add more information about yourself."

    So, if I complete my buzz profile, all of a sudden I can be found via Google Search? I DO NOT WANT TO BE FOUND VIA A SEARCH ENGINE.

    Facebook is invasive as hell, but, at the very least, I can opt out of having my FB profile accessible to search engine crawls.


  23. My profile first appeared by searching in google profile, then after a period I cant find it by search, but I Can whrite google buzz.why?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.