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I made a #SuperShareBox Chrome extension last weekend, and I've decided to open source and release it to make it more useful. It lets you select Facebook friends and friend lists from your Google+ share box, and it will post a link to your Google+ post on Facebook to those friends and friend lists. (This is just a little easier than +Mohamed Mansour's excellent Extended Share for Google+.) Now any of my friends who are still on Facebook can see my posts. They'll also probably interact with my posts on Google+ instead of on Facebook because that's where the full content of the post is. 

Implications

Switching social networks is hard for most people. If a better social network came along, most users wouldn't switch unless they can see interesting content from their friends. At the same time, most users wouldn't post interesting content on the new social network unless their friends are there to interact with it. Catch-22.

Using an extension like this one, you can start by posting your content exclusively on the new social network with the extension automatically posting links on the old social network, and the social interaction on your posts will follow you to the new social network.

Is social network mobility a problem worth solving?

If it were nearly impossible to switch from a service, the owners of that service could do anything they wants with their users, and their users would have no choice but to put up with it.
• A service with that power could stop developing features that delight its users and instead focus all its energy on monetizing them.
• It could ignore its users' votes. http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-facebook-vote-results-new-policies-are-in-voting-rights-are-out-20121211,0,480691.story
• It could treat its users with scorn. http://www.businessinsider.com/well-these-new-zuckerberg-ims-wont-help-facebooks-privacy-problems-2010-5

Finally, I know more than a few people who currently work for Google but use Facebook to communicate almost exclusively, even after http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/05/12/facebook-busted-in-clumsy-smear-attempt-on-google.html. Imagine Samsung employees using iPhones or Apple employees using Galaxy S's. Imagine Oompa Loompas eating Slugworth's candy. Switching social networks is so hard that it overpowers many users' financial self-interest.

Why is this extension for Google+?

I had one weekend to work on it, I'm not much of a JavaScript hacker to begin with, and Google+ is the social network I prefer. I like party mode for events and the slick Android and web browser UIs. Also, the asymmetric follow model helps with self-promotion ;-).

Experimenting with social network mobility

Facebook has said it won't allow users to export their friends to other social networks because it wants to protect user privacy and not because such a feature would simplify switching. I take them at their word. This extension is the next best thing, and it does not violate any of Facebook's existing policies. (The closest policy is "Competing social networks: (a) You may not use Facebook Platform to export user data into a competing social network without our permission; (b) Apps on Facebook may not integrate, link to, promote, distribute, or redirect to any app on any other competing social network," but this app links to posts and not to apps.)

If you want to try it out and get more people to bring content to Google+,
1. Install the extension (link at the bottom). Check out the extension settings page after you install it.
2. Then refresh the Google+ page and reshare this post to "Public" and "FB Group: Public" using the Google+ share box.
3. Follow me on Google+ for updates.

If you're a JavaScript developer, fix some bugs at https://github.com/devesh/SuperShareBox. I'll explain how this extension works in my next post.
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12 comments
 
I'm getting a persistent install error. What up?
"An error has occurred
There was a problem adding the item to Chrome. Please refresh the page and try again.
RELOAD
CLOSE"
 
It looks like it doesn't work in Chromium. I'll investigate further. My first guess is that Chromium doesn't support the Chrome storage API that I use to sync settings.
 
The issue is Chromium 20 in Ubuntu 12.04 doesn't allow unsafe-eval in the content security policy, which was whitelisted in Chrome 23. I need it only on the extension settings page because it uses AngularJS. It's straightforward to remove AngularJS, but it's a bit of work.
 
Thanks for investigating. I think I'm using chrome.
 
I just updated it to request a permission that older Chromes expected to be requested (though I still haven't fixed it to not use AngularJS to work in older Chromes), and I fixed a nasty bug that broke anything that used Google's file picker dialog (change profile photo and upload photo).

+Alan Shieh What version of Chrome are you using?
 
Is it possible to update to 23 from the stable channel? What OS are you using?
 
Ubuntu 12.04, I will poke at APT for a bit.
 
Thanks for investigating. For now, I've set minimum_chrome_version to 23 in the extension manifest because I can't muster the resolve to remove +AngularJS from the settings page.
 
works on latest from stable channel. they should add a UI element to  chrome on Linux that nags you to manually update.
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