Google+, One Week Later

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.

3 Replies to “Google+, One Week Later”

  1. Victor Pan

    I’ve done extensive research around with Facebook’s privacy settings. The fact is that Facebook is able to do the exact same thing Google+ does in terms including/limiting/excluding the information you share. The functionality is called groups – which creates a category where you can exclude messages from (i.e. co-workers) or send targeted messages (family).

    That said, the difference truly lies in design.

    The genius of Facebook was to persuade tweens that privacy is dead by simply setting all personal information open to the public by default.

    The genius of Google+ is in meeting the demands of your tech-savvy, net neutrality-embracing, privacy concerned grown-ups by setting up information filters by inherent program architecture.

    The questions in my mind then are…

    – Will the next generation tweens grow up to realize that the web is a personal brand extension of their real-time reputation?
    – Will the advocates of internet privacy manage to change the behavior of their kids?

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