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LJWorld.com weblogs Dangerous Ideas

G+ One week out.

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G+ or Google+ is supposed to be Google's answer to Facebook. I have been using G+ for a little over a week now and so far it is a mixed bag. The good is that I can set up different circles for people I know in different contexts. This set of slides you can scroll through explains the concept quite well.

You can set up what ever circles you want and that way separate people you know say from work from those you know at the local bar....of course maybe these are the same people. That way each group gets only those posts that you think they might enjoy. It's really cool.

You can also follow people you don't know, celebrities for instance, no need to friend them. In fact there is no friend button. You can also control whether or not your posts can be shared outside your circle. Another cool feature is that you can set up a video "Hangout" for your friends and you can have a video chat with up to 10 friends simultaneously. Set up is easy- though I have not felt the hankering to actually start a "Hangout". Besides I don't have enough people in my circles to wait around for visitors. But I can see this as a good way to hold virtual office hours for students.

Google is still at the beginning of this experiment and that has led to no little controversy about Google's profile requirements. Google requires you to use your real name when setting up profiles. In fact Google has allegedly been suspending accounts if the name even sounds fake. If you want, you can also on a separate line provide other names you go by. As you might expect, privacy advocates have been upset at Google-there are after all legitimate needs for pseudonymous profiles safety being one.

Here is a good concise discussion of the issue. What astounds me is the blindness of Google executives to the whole issue. Former CEO Eric Schmidt is alleged to have said: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Of course the fallacy here is that there are plenty of things that either you don't want everyone to know - example medical issues-. Then there are things that you might want everyone to know but not be able to trace the revelation back to you-whistle blower for instance.

At least some people in Google do understand the issue as evidenced by this post in Google's Public Policy Blog. The message seems to be that yes you can be what you want to be but don't expect to be able to use all of Google's products using a pseudonym. This is a tough balancing act for Google as it strives to integrate and rebrand it's diverse products.

Comments

David Lignell 3 years ago

Sorry, Paul, but I can't provide an in-depth discussion on the topic. However, my Nephew, whom I love dearly, has been among my family on Facebook for several years now. We've shared events and pictures and quotations. In short, I've enjoyed Facebook as a vehicle to keep in touch with him. Do I care about advertisers and privacy? Not much. The former provides entertainment when they email or call and the latter is not an interest to anyone beyond my family. So when Jeffery, my Nephew, tried to invite me to Google recently, I was directed to a user name and password logon. After unsuccessfully trying to enter the site and getting rejected (how the hell am I suppose to remember if I ever logged on to Google?) , I laughed and thought about grabbing a beer. Better luck next time grabbing the interest of Boomers, who have no time for nonsense other than tips for retirement.

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Ron Holzwarth 3 years ago

I certainly would not be an expert on matters such as this, but it seems to me that after a service has a critical mass of users such as Facebook already has, it's going to be very difficult for a competitor to become a serious contender.

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mdrndgtl 3 years ago

The difference is Facebook doesn't already know your personal information.

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Paul Decelles 3 years ago

@Dave,

I use Facebook a lot and I like it. By the way I had tried myspace way back when but found it visually too cluttered. Unfortunately FB is tending that way lately. I am not sold on G+ yet and I worry that dealing with all these new tools plus the old ones like blogs will fragment our time.

@Ron,

You are right, plus for FB there is a whole set of tools such as the ability to easily share with FB with a click of the mouse. I can for instance automatically have new photos posted from my Flickr stream to FB which I cannot do yet.

@mdrndgtl Of course FB does know a lot about you and FB is also picky about profiles. We shall see how g+ pans out!

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