Last week Google+ had 10 million members. This week it has 20 million members. It’s rate of growth as a social networking platform is unprecedented, and it is still in beta and open only by invitation. It allows more control over personal information than Facebook. Like any social networking site users must think through the privacy implications of using it. For instance, its seamless integration with Picasa makes one’s shared albums more readily visible to people in one’s Google+ circles, so I changed the visibility of all of my Picasa albums to exert more fine-grained control over sharing.
I’ve had a Facebook account since the days when it was open only to .edu addresses but I’ve never truly used it. I explained to a friend why Google+ appeals to me:
Google+ is Facebook without the clutter and with privacy controls. It’s social networking where I don’t have to keep my eyes closed because 90% of my contacts are current or recent students with no boundaries and no discretion. It’s integrated with other Google products I use often. It’s the future.
Facebook users may love what it allows them to do (whatever that may be) but they don’t love Facebook. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) just reported that “Facebook ranks as the lowest-scoring site of all companies measured, not just in the social media category.” Reasons “could include the complexity of the user controls, the introduction of ads, and the privacy issue.” Facebook’s genius was in filling a need, not anything intrinsic about the site’s architecture or design. Google+ provides an alternative with different architecture, design, and policies, especially for those not heavily invested in Facebook.