Google Buzz has been accused of a lot of things in recent days – it's too busy, it's too buzzy, it needlessly exposed our personal information to the world. But is it worth a lawsuit? According to a woman named Eva Hibnick, the answer is yes. This week, Hibnick filed suit in a San Jose federal court, alleging that Google Buzz violated users' privacy, along with a whole host of communications laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Hibnick is reportedly seeking cash for all Gmail users – there are millions – as well as a promise from Google that it will be more careful launching similar platforms in the future. Thus far, Google has declined comment. "We haven't yet been served, so we can't comment on the suit until we've had a chance to review it," a Google spokesperson told The San Francisco Chronicle.
The odds of this suit bringing any cash rewards for the plaintiffs, of course, are slim to none. But in a way, Hibnick has already made her point: news of the lawsuit is already the topic of thousands of blog posts, tweets, and status updates. Regardless of anyone's thoughts on the case, it's become a very real manifestation of the way some users feel about Buzz.
As we reported yesterday, Bradley Horowitz, Google's VP of product management, has admitted that the Buzz backlash caught some of the folks at Google off-guard. Still, Horowitz stopped short of suggesting Google Buzz was handled improperly:
While the outcome was not something I would have wished for or predicted, the remedies and response of the team has really indicated to me that we have a great core competency at Google in terms of being able to develop social software, to be in dialogue with our users and to rapidly iterate an improve the product.
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