Whoa there Kattie!
I heard you on the John Batchelor show last night and commented over there that you left some things out. Your article here provides better detail but doesn't go far enough in my opinion:
Just to clarify... Google didn't start this practice. It may have been started by Facebook, (first place I observed it) or someone before that.
If you were a late-comer to Facebook (as I was when I joined it for the 3rd or 4th time) it would ask for your password to your e-mail account (whether it was a Gmail, Yahoo, MSN or any other popular service). Facebook would then sign on to your e-mail account AS YOU and harvest your address book. It then did pretty much the same thing as was done with Buzz and would pre-populate your social network. You could of course override any of these choices, as you can with Buzz. (And would also daisy chain down their harvested address books for people you "might" know).
There were some protests about this, and in fact Google and others started giving you and your potential other vendors a better way to have this information shared without you having to disclose your e-mail password to a third party.
Google by being so cooperative, giving its (your) information out to other vendors (with your permission) in a convenient way, but never asking for similar credentials from other companies has for a good while taken itself out of the social networking race. The race is halfway over and Google is just leaving the starting gate, except in Brazil and India where Orkut has a diminishing following. Instead of being congratulated for holding back on privacy concerns, once again they are targeted as the meanie, when in fact they are just following the leaders (and at quite a distance).
As far as the statement from Facebook: Total BS. Google is far more open in both getting data into and out of their system (at user request). IF ONLY Facebook and others would follow their lead rather than constructing more walled gardens.
Facebook has gotten such a lead in this regard that on many sites your options are to invent a new usersid, or use your Facebook ID. This in spite of the fact that the Open ID consortium has options to solve this multiple ID problem on the table for several years and is being thwarted by yet another lock-in proprietary solution. It's Microsoft and IBM all over again, and it would seem the less ethical player has the advantage this time too.
There are several things I don't like about the new Buzz service, but it compares favorably with comparative services such as Twitter, and Freindfeed (which Facebook took over and anesthetized). All of these services need work, and all of them need to allow the user to control how much information is shared and with who. None of them do it perfectly. I'm glad to see Google at least making a go of it, and of course they now allow anyone to opt out if they really hate the idea. For those who do that I advise you to double check the ever-changing sharing policies at the other socials (particularly Facebook) to see if some of your earlier changes have been overridden to pump up their user base.