I use Pidgin to log into Google Talk every morning and as of Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 my buddy list is full of people from Google+. Did Google announced this change?
As far as I can tell, these new "buddies" are people who are in my Google+ circles and who also have me in circles.
I've found plenty of people talking about this. . .
- http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/d/topic/chat/u31u9g-DfoE/discussion - Google+ people are invading my Gmail Chat Contacts - How to prevent this?
. . . and in this post I asked a Google employee for more information. . .
. . . but I haven't seen any announcement from Google about this change. Some people in the posts above make reference to some change they agreed to a month ago, and I very well may have clicked something, but I'd be curious to see a post from Google about what I agreed to.
It seems rather brash of Google to alter their users' buddy lists. Again, I may well have agreed to this, I guess. . .
Along the left side, I see "Enable Chat" and when I click it, a dialog pops up with. . .
New! Chat with the people in your circles
You can now chat with the people in your circles (who also have you in their circles). Change which circles you can chat with by choosing Privacy Settings from the chat menu. Learn more
|OK| |Not now|
. . . and this is certainly the dialog I saw before. I don't remember if I ever clicked "OK" or not. Perhaps I clicked "OK" and then later disabled Chat? I'm not sure. Either way, without any use of the Chat feature of Google+ this week, people from my Google+ circles suddenly showed up in my buddy list in Pidgin, as I've indicated.
(Side note: I've always called it Google Talk and it's confusing to me that it's now sometimes called Chat. This issue would be better addressed in a separate question, however.)
I'm trying not to editorialize too much, but I think changing users' buddy list is a big deal. It reminds me of the privacy problems Google Buzz had at launch. I'm ambivalent about the change, however. I chatted briefly with a few of these new "buddies" and it was nice. But I'm still a little alarmed that Google would change my buddy list. I'd like to keep this question focused on the facts, but if you want to editorialize about this with me, please take it to my post about this on Google+.
Update #2: On 2012-02-06 a Google employee posted, "Do know that this sudden opt-in was a known issue that our team quickly learned of and was working on addressing. Thanks for your patience and understanding."
Within a couple days by buddy list was back to normal; the people from Google+ who had been added to my buddy list were gone, as I reported in Google's forum. (I still haven't clicked "Enable chat" in Google+.)
Perhaps everyone's buddy list is back to normal now. Perhaps this question is now too localized, if it only applied to a relatively brief period of time. I do think it helps document an event that makes me somewhat wary of Google's actions, at least. Again, I'll probably enable this feature in the future anyway, but this event seems to have upset a number of people.