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My 40-minute look into what Google is doing with Google+: the game of games

Why did Eric Schmidt say Google+ is all about identity? I didn't get that at first, but here's my analysis and also why I'm betting my entire career on Google+.
The game of all games: content and context (why Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Benioff, and Larry Page are carving up the social world). September 11, 2011 By Robert Scoble Leave a Comment. Why is Google calli...
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My first response was Marc who? Had to look him up on Google. His inclusion in your list seems somehow gratuitous.
This post makes digital convergence seem new and exciting.
Very intersting thoughts - and I belief that G+ is The Next Big Thing. And I'm scared a little bit by the idea of a Big Google in a Brave New World in 2084...
You are not actually betting your career on G+. And just because Google wants something does not mean that they will end up getting it.
This is what it means to be the next Microsoft - and I have no doubt that that's what Google will be, with G+ at the center of an identity ecosystem.

Diaspora is a little like Linux on the desktop: probably one for the die-hards only. The hope was that all the players would take smaller slices of a unified identity pie, but it really doesn't look like that's going to happen. As Robert says, this is the game of games; the winner takes the pie.
A thoughtful and interesting take on what's happening. Thanks.
Robert, great post. I, like you, am spending my time and effort betting on Google+. Whatever the outcome, its going to be interesting to see who comes out on top. I hope you and I are right.
I hope you are correct +Nosha Monteiro da Cunha . I was an early kickstarter investor. But it is beginning to feel like Linux. Meaning no disrespect.
No question.. the ability of companies (websites) to track and understand what people are saying, wanting, doing, is the hot spot online today.
People need to grow up! I for one agree with Eric Schmidt. If you aren't comfortable with the service, then DON'T USE IT! Goes for G+ or Facebook, or any other service that a company has the right to set terms of use for. THAT'S WHY THEY ARE CALLED TERMS OF USE. Just like any other contract. If you disagree with the terms, you don't enter into the contract.

That being said, I still think there is a way to tweak the terms to make it more accessible for those who fit into the arena of needing a pseudonym for purposes such as brand marketing.
These "bets" though are not all-in bets --just a small bet to see the next card. I think +Tom Neff was referring to an all-in bet.
+Brian Sullivan I agree with Robert. As a Dell employee who uses SFDC and Chatter I can attest that SFDC and their Chatter app are making a lot of head way on the corporate social network/collaboration side of the house. I think it would be really interesting if G+ started to integrate more into the corporate world. SFDC would be a huge competitor.
+Nosha Monteiro da Cunha +Robert Scoble What Diaspora does have a chance of achieving is a kind of social darkweb - a federated network specifically used by people who care about their content not being under the control of corporations. I think that's very interesting in itself, while being far from the mainstream.
When I say "You are not really betting your career on G+" I mean that if G+ eventually fails, you will continue distributing content somewhere else as always. All you are doing is backing G+ for now. Nothing wrong with that.
I don't think that the +1 system will sort out the best stuff, it will sort out the popular stuff.
+Cora Triton It sorts out the popular stuff from the people you're following. It's up to you to create a valuable network of relevant connections. (And is true no matter who owns the network, or if no-one does.)
+Rick Barkley I think Google already blew a big chance to integrate with the corporate world -- Wave was it. Not sure they will easily find another.
+Tom Neff But, +Robert Scoble spending a lot of time and energy posting and commenting here on G+. If G+ eventually fails that will be a lot of wasting time for him.
+Robert Scoble I have a theme "The Magic of Being You!". This theme is about the fact that try as they may, Google, Facebook, and others will never be able to truly own your identity or act as bankers of you personal profile data. It just won't work. In short, I put my professional credibility on the line by asserting that this is a riddle they can never solved by 3rd parties. The only thing they can offer as 3rd parties is profile approximation i.e., they can conjure up heuristics for an approximation of your profile en route to trying to recommend things for you or increase the serendipitous discovery quotients of their respective data spaces as you pass through them -- by act of URL de-reference (what we do when we click on hyperlinks).

It is important to note that an inability to attain 100% profile precision by any 3rd party social web doesn't render their services useless, it just means they are an important part of the profile jigsaw puzzle game, but never the true masters of the finished puzzle due to the implicit nature of "identity" i.e., "I am Who I Am" not "Who They Think or Hope I Am".

To conclude, there is an illusion of a new game taking shape, but in reality its a very old game in new context i.e., the game of sociality via Webby profile puzzle pieces. What's really new is the ability to play this game via the InterWeb medium. Ultimately, no different to playing Monopoly, Scrabble, Chess, good old Jigsaw puzzles and the like online.

The most critical innovation of all is that game money will become real and bankable digital currency with "social karma" as the gold standard :-)
It's funny how people, especially those in the tech industry, can be so focused on their own little world and not see the world at large. For example, I'm very active on one particular social network. Which one? Not Facebook, or Twitter or even G+.. It's DeviantART. Yet because there's no "tech" on it, it's ignored by tech pundits as not even in the game. Same with so many other online services or sites, which are all popular in their own worlds, but not seen by the tech world.
When privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy.
+Robert Scoble Well I guess Google in a way made it a self fulfilling prophecy. They too didn't understanding that managed collaboration in small groups is the way successful companies innovate.
+Robert Scoble so finally people are getting to the point...
Plus is just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger project.
and it is all about identity, about who you are, so it's all target!
As someone intimately involved with healthcare in social media, I just wanted to endorse Robert's comment "In the old days we didn't talk about our health online. God forbid our insurance company would discover we had cancer. Today, we go to various systems to discuss that and we get better doctors and health info as a result." In a nutshell! Beautifully said.

It isn't 100%, though, because humanity as a whole hasn't quite bought into the idea of transparency (ie. this discussion). There is still bullying, prejudice, stalkers, dangers and vulnerabilities that make it wise in some circumstances to create certain limits or boundaries on transparency. I would not want my child being active online and transparent in their real life persona, for example. A therapist who has an online support group for battered wives in hiding urgently insists on pseudonyms for her clients in order to prevent their batterers tracking them down.

I expect us to get there, eventually, assuming the species survives long enough. But until we do, there will be a need for compromises.
Content and information are not the same thing
+Robert Scoble will we really get better doctors, better movies, better anything, or will we just end up with the ones who spend the most time and effort manipulating the system?
All the market research has just turned the music, and television industries into cookie cutter, fodder factories that just regurgitate the same lowest common denominator crap over and over in different shiny packages.
Interesting thoughts, though perhaps somewhat disconcerting that unfiltered web will continue to disappear.
Agree about Benioff. He's a dark horse, but one with a long-term plan and great vision. Jigsaw is very important, though it's hard to see how Google+ and Salesforce can be anything but competitors in the longer term.
Content is anything that entertains or explains, information is valuable
+Robert Scoble Keeping your privacy from random fellow users is not the issue - keeping your privacy from "Central Services" is.

This is how Orwell's Oceania will arrive: not with tanks and guns, but with a TED Talk and a Wired feature.
If you were betting your entire career on Google+, you wouldn't have linked to a blog post, but rather posted everything directly on Google+
I think it will still be hard to get all of the pie in one place for the winner to take. Too many social companies see their data as the key, but I think the links to that data are just as important. I haven't seen a good export of data from google or facebook to express those links thoroughly enough. The companies that look at your health and your information need not just your data, but your links data as well.
+Robert Scoble I agree, that there are great possibilities and I belief in swarm intelligence. But I'm careful and always keep in mind "cui bono?" It's important to see not only the chances but also the risks. And Google (or others) are able to use or abuse data.
Great insight +Robert Scoble. I believe more information is better for society too. The more advertisers know what I'm interested in and more importantly what I'm not interested in, the more they can tailor content to me.

I don't mind seeing advertisements, I mind seeing irrelevant advertisements.
+Robert Scoble - where do you put the risk like Spam, criminal, wrong use etc. in, the whole world depending on three people and their server farms?
+Michael Mitchell , "Betting your entire career" does not mean having to only use one or the other. I'm making a bet on Google+ as well but my strategy is multi-pronged. My focus is on Google+, but there are so many ways that people find content in the internet you have to be where the people can find you.
Sharing informations about diseases will be useful to get informations and built a network. But is it necessary to know your identity to get the informations?
Oh I guess am pretty late in joining the discussion. But as I see it it will be very difficult for one company to be able to get to know everything about us, be it Facebook (I hope its not Facebook) or Google (I wouldn't mind that). There will have to be several companies/products with each one understanding our identity in that particular vertical/context. These products will either be linked through Klout or some other service to be able to get a somewhat complete picture of an identity. We are already moving in that direction. Examples:

Foursquare/Yelp: Is my "outgoing identity"
Linkedin: Is my "Professional Identity"
Facebook/Google+: Is my "Social Identity" My "Music Identity"
etc etc

TL;dr - There cannot be one company/product that "understands" us. It might know of us, but cannot know all about us. It will be a cohort of sorts. Though I strongly feel Klout is in a very good position to be our identity.
I still believe that the cream will rise to the top. Just like programming, provide the framework, and see the magic happen. The framework for G+ has been provided. How often do we see things in programming where there is a workaround to circumvent a limitation. Sure there is the chance to change the framework, but in the meantime, people will continue to tribute and let the G+ environment evolve naturally.
This is better than school,learn lot of things in here!!!! lol
+Robert Scoble +Terrence Lui ...doesn't matter if your Scobelizer blog links back here, or if you're using some other "multi-pronged approach" The fact is that you're making part of your living off your Scobelizer blog so you're not "betting your entire career" on Google+. You're just making dramatic inflammatory statements on Google+ to generate user engagement on your blog. I'd probably do the same if I had to survive off user engagement.
When I first came accross thinks like Facebook, Orkut etc, they got some information from me. For example, Facebooh has my date of birth, an old mobile phone and an email address. I don't think it has anything about where I shop. If it tries to figure out my politics, it will be confused because "Liberal" means something different to those of us outside the USA!.
G+ hasn't even asked for that much information. How are they going to monetarise me?
+Robert Scoble That will be a technical nightmare. Both in terms of work at the back-end and at the front-end. Besides, it will be a bad move to try and be our web identity. Users will get tired of the same service. Oh it will be a nightmare.
If you want to bet your career on something, bet it on freedom. When freedom goes away, everything else that seemed worth betting on - wealth, renown, "better doctors" et al - will be revealed as the shiny tinfoil they are, to be snatched back at the master's whim. Just saying.
but end users seem to be more worried about the real world economy which is going to pieces, will these identity initiatives by facebook, google and salesforce help with that ? maybe they can provide a form of escapism.
The more you know, the better you can sell my data - it's an assessment...
You can base context around a numeric identity, around a nickname, around anything that points back to the same source (profile in this case). Google wants your real life data. Not because it would make the web a better place (even if it would nobody would know for sure at this point), but because Google has their own plans with it (they are a corporation - a subject that has to generate income to operate). The more I see these Google motives pop up, the more I'm put away from liking my once praised good giant. Maybe I just used to be naive, but maybe they once had just those good intentions.
+Nosha Monteiro da Cunha We think they know about us. They know of all the objective things like my phone number, my address, my date of birth, my mother's maiden name, my credit card number etc. And unless they really want to screw me over they can't do much with this data (unless I happen to be a criminal, then they can do much with this data). The data which matters is like this comment. Google+ knows that I am conversing with you about social networks, but it cannot know what point I am trying to make or whether our conversation is genial or heated or in a bad taste (trust me, its most genial and friendly :) ) I think what +Robert Scoble is getting to is that in the future (foreseeable or unforeseeable) they will know things about us that even we are unaware of. Like who are the people I really really admire, what music I like, what are movies I like, what brands I would die for. To be able to know all these things with precision is a huge task. But any company which can accomplish that successfully will be sitting on a goldmine, not because they could blackmail us with the data they have, but they could sell us stuff that they know we really need. Did I happen to make some sense?
+Nosha Monteiro da Cunha But how will they know if I use a company to do something? I understand that they can use textual analysis on my postings, but the only time I might talk about my dealings with "Company X" would be when I have had a bad experience with them and am warning others, There would not be much good in send me adverts for them.
If I am then served up adverts for their competitors, I may be weird or something but if they are annoying or intrusive I will not be doing business with them either.
Good stuff. It does however remind me of a social future we discussed 10 to 15 years ago, where the web itself, via html X.0 or something like that, would be the social network - not something owned by, fought over, or sliced up by a few big firms.
Other than the data gathered, they are allowing us to use most these services for free. I can oblige.
It amazes me how people get upset that data is collected and analyzed that is voluntarily given away by the user.
Everybody needs to stop and think about how much information is actually available out there to anyone with the search technology to filter it.
What information is available in your email inbox? Sent box? All your website logins that required an email address? All the posts you made on those sites? The PayPal transactions and email receipts? Now tie in all the social profile info, heck people are even logging their own physical whereabouts voluntarily.....
Wait, is somebody really going to post "but they promised not to use it" ?
having trouble with Cinch app on Windows via Chrome. Keeps stopping. Have to restart and cant see a fast forward option. is this audio loaded somewhere else?
I have an alternate view of identity and personal information than the likes of Google, Facebook, et al might like to see.

Namely, my identity and personal information is just that -- mine. Instead of my 'posting' or 'contributing' it to a social network aggregator for the benefit of the aggregator, I would rather have the marketing entity come to my personal site and get my permission to access my information -- and furthermore pay me to use it !

I see no benefit or rationale for volunteering so much information to those whose businesses are predicated on wanting to amass information about me in a dossier and thinking that they own the information as well.

Let's not forget the famous quote of Herr Zuck in his early Harvard log regarding the information contributed by his classmates. When asked why people were doing it, he replied, "I have no idea why they do it -- they trust me, the dumb f**ks"
+Robert Scoble Your article is an eye opener. Something similar has already happened in the world of Music, there were however 2 approaches:
1) The curator approach: What Pandora has been doing, have humans map the " music genome" and suggest to you based on what the "seed" song you select.
2) The mechanized approach: Like LastFM, looks at which kind of music you and others like and looks for what you might be missing.
Both are good methods. The first one would be using thousands of Scoble's to curate content. The second one would be algorithmic.
I use both for different reasons.

I do hope they find the 1000's of Scoble's they need for this :-)
+Robert Scoble Nice topic/post! I noted the fact that you point us to your site this time.

I like your "identity" stack. I would call it "unified communication" stack. Identity is a key prerequisite.

Where (on your stack) is the bulk of the value captured? Are we going to end up with interoperability at each layer, horizontal players, vertical players, etc.? What is the most efficient (i.e. creating max value for the end user) industry structure? Will we need some kind of regulation to get there?
Pls share your thoughts
+Robert Scoble I would add micropayments to your list of user interfaces in your "new game of games". The biggest coming change in the Social Web space will be empowering users to pay for the content they want using the mechanisms they want. The Social Web will lead to a revolution in how value is exchanged.

As a member of the W3C's new Web Payments Standards Community Group ( ) I believe the Social Web is about to disrupt the economic system. As I state in my article, Building the Social Web: the Layers of the Smartup Stack :

" The future of money and of economic self reliance rests in the emergent properties of the social-driven superorganism. Centrally-controlled currencies will eventually give rise to decentralized currencies and instead of tightly controlled and regulated markets, self-regulation via distributed command and control processes will become the norm."

Above quote from:
+Robert Scoble The issue of control is crucial. The services that provide users the most control over their identity are the ones most likely to prosper and those with more limited controls will, in the long run, fall away or be limited in scope. It's a main reason I have been so critical of Google's names policy - they are shooting themselves in the foot by focusing on the identifier versus maintaining a persistent identity across their service, or even across the internet. A name is, after all, simply a set of random characters serving to identify a user. If that identity is persistent such that reputation can attach to it, so that it can be tracked, so it has a history of behavior such that other users can make an informed opinion on how or whether to interact with them, then you have a positive successful outcome.
My mind is boggled. I think you nailed it. It gave me goose-bumps as I thought about it.
Those people that want to "stay off the grid" won't even be aware that an Identity is being built for them. The people that want to have a "Jeff Smith" identity, will find that their identity is described as "a mask identity for the real identity". It will be just like at a costume party, as time goes on, you can tell who they are.
The boggling continues with the thought that even terrorists would have an identity (I almost capitalized terrorists, is that right?).
Robert, you are one of the "real" identities, a philosopher of all that is social media and high-tech.
-- mmitp
+Robert Scoble A strange question, but how do you now monetize your activity on Google+. Really, this is a question for any and all G+ bloggers that are starting the transition. How can bloggers now get paid for traffic/eyeballs to their posts if Google owns the framework for delivering such content.... Anyone?
+Hermine Ngnomire Scoble doesn't monetize his content directly from Google+. He gets paid by Rackspace to do this, so returning content to his blog with advertising is not that high of a priority for him. I think for other people however, he is betting that content on Google+ will get preference in google search results, and thus posting on Google+ improves your SEO.
+Nosha Monteiro da Cunha Point well taken and why the entire names policy debate is so farcical. Focus on persistency, behavior and content and less on labels.
+Torsten Knabe Great answer! Thank you for that insight. Now I understand his earlier posts about the impact of social media on search results preferences.
+Robert Scoble KM failed in the 90s (with a few exceptions) because although the software tools were relatively easy to write, the human resources changes needed to compensate people for adding their "special knowledge" (i.e. the only K worth M-ing) to some kind of system were rarely made. What, in other words, is in KM for me-the-employee? (It's obvious what's "in it" for the company!)

I think a similar problem exists here. People currently Facebook and G+ and Twit because these things are fun and the payback is social (hence, social media). If I need to construct an elaborate online identity to get medical advice -- because how else will the advice be suitable unless my "identity" contains everything I'd tell a doctor in a consult -- then the "fun" is stripped out of it, it becomes work, (haven't kept an accurate 28-day food log? sorry we can't see you at this specialist's office) and frankly I'd rather "push" that work on to the person with the medical degree I'm paying by the minute to care (not to mention keep it private).

I'm also far from being convinced that allowing my (hypothetical) "work people" to know about my (hypothetical) "alternative hobby" is all that good an idea. Yes yes, I know, Circles(TM), but relying on the tolerance of people at [serious job] for "Ooops! That was supposed to just go to my [weird activity] friends!" seems like dangerous oversharing as a blood sport.

Can see how it could work for "Populist Tech Guy". Not sure how it works for "Person With Normal Range of Interests". Any similarity to present interlocutors is coincidental... ;-)
I remember in 1983 when the re-write of the Communications Act was happening, I went to DC to lobby for community access. Sat down with a local senator's aide and all we talked about was cable cos collecting the data from individual viewing habits of the cable customer and how we had to protect the consumer from the use of individual data... bill ending up protecting aggregate data use.

People thought I was crazy and told me I was the only who cared about these things. Look where we are now! The train has left the station and taken off for outer space!

I have changed some of my thinking, but I'm not entirely convinced this is a good thing. It all comes down to intent and "morality" concerning the use of this data. On the one hand, we can see improvements. On the other, potential abuses of all kinds. What will Google, Facebook and Salesforce do with all this personal information?

Will they eventually be treated like common carriers? I'm sure they will fight that scenario tooth and nail to stay deregulated, just like cable did.

What about the small business person or the doctor you mentioned? You can't run your business or treat your patients and tweet, like, share, post, etc. all the time (unless of course you're another Robert Scoble or Dr. Oz) What do we do in this new identity world? I suppose we get to look for new customers that fit our profiles and find new ways to reach out to them, if we can get access to the data. If it's all hoarded and sequestered and siphoned off to the large enterprise, very few benefit.

Where do we think this is going? For the little guys, not the gazillionaires running this circus?
The next 35 months will be interesting to say the least. Hopefully we won't have to wait that full duration for some of the more critical of the 400 planned features to get implemented.
so I just went to the link on your game of games post which takes me to your site, and I think I'm going to +1 this, but, er there is no +1 button there...
It's "masses are asses, not "masses is asses", not to single out Robert but I've always wondered why "A Listers" don't hire proofreaders (or brand managers for that matter)
Good post - but there's a dark side. We may intentionally post, but Google an others can see everything we look at online. I may not announce that I have cancer, but spending an hour searching for an obscure medical condition shows that I or someone I know may have this issue. It's not just Google watching - our posts are not well protected from collection by less scrupulous groups.
Are even small "private" circles really private when every word of every private post is used to add details to your identity file.
This leakage of my daily actions is a solveable technical problem - it's just that it's not in Google's interest to solve and most people see no issue in living in such a transparent fish tank.
If Eric says its all about identity what will the users do who want privacy? He says in that case G+ is not for you, how do some specific area of users see this? How do Facebook see this Identity issue? All of these questions will be answered in coming years...

[Trending App Of The Week - ]
Great post. BTW, Ronald Reagan's 'I hope you all are Republicans.' - replied to with 'Today, sir, we're all Republicans.' was made in the emergency room after he was shot before he was operated on.
Errr. about G Plus - how about the fact that it still doesn't have an official API?
+Michael D. Moffitt I like your summary and agree with it. The value is in content, not name (which is why names policy are a needless distraction and pointless digression). If content is tied to persistent identifier, then regardless of the form of the identifier, it builds up value and can be used to shape interaction and relationships. Users can then control the nature of the identifier and determine how to use the value built up.
The API thing is on purpose. Twitter's API is what killed it, turning it from a website/community into a data service.
Eric Schmidt has commented about G+. Does he have a presence on G+?
I do have a question, though. What about LinkedIn? Are you sure Salesforce chatter will be more important than that?
+Chris McIntosh Great example. The librarians know the books when you check them out - but there has always (at least in the past) a very strong ethic to not monitor or report the books checked out by patrons ( ). There are laws, at least in California, that limit the release of library records to the Government. In contrast - our new web economy is based on selling and using the access to "identity". There is no clarity between my private and my public identity. I don't mind most of the time giving up my information for shopping preferences - but I would like to have a sphere of communications that was clearly private and subject to a well defined set of ethics/rules for disclosure. Health records from hospitals luckily have some legal protection, but this is only a small sphere of information.
Well I agree that there should be the ability to do so. But think of the amount of data google has... You are a bunch of drops in a bunch of buckets. Tallying up numbers where you are in essense 'just a number'. This data is valuable however. You should be able to keep it to yourself if possible if you desire.

Then there is always plan B ... unplug
I shudder the thought
Question I have for Mr. Scoble is - if Facebook were to remove the char limit on posts and comments - will you use Facebook for social blogging or still stick to your guns and G+? as for me, I will stay loyal to G+ no matter if fb removes the limit. 
+Robert Scoble while I absolutely agree that this is the way we are headed I just saw a link (posted by +Jess Pearson - sorry no linking via iPad) to this TED talk by Eli Pariser where he makes the point that "as web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview and argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy." Unless there is a way to build some checks and balances into the system htttp://Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles"
It truly is a double edged sword. There are benefits on both sides.Privacy is important but there are benefits to being public as well.
Fantastic stuff. Just listened through it all and you have some amazing points. I think though that Google's got a LOT and I mean a LOT of work to do to beat Facebook. Facebook is ubiquitous these days and Google+ isn't (yet, anyways) and while Google has all of the info from the billions of searches that people make every day, they don't have this notification/activity/whatever streams that you talked about. And it's gonna take a while for Google to get there. If they get there at all. I mean, a LOT of people look at Google and think...Well they already know more about me, then they should, so I won't join Google+, since then they are going to know even more about me. So they just stick to Facebook and Twitter and whatnot. Google basically has to convince people that, what they are doing is superior to Facebook and Twitter and that privacy is going to be top priority for them. It's gonna be interesting to see though where this leads. :)

EDIT: What I forgot to say is that, Google and Facebook and Twitter want certain things and want a "piece of the pie". The problem is only that they need US, the user/the consumer, who HAS to want to share all this information. Without US they can't build anything, really.
Isn't it possible that G+ is "just another app" in lieu of being sliced bread, night baseball and candy covered popcorn, peanuts, and a prize all rolled into one? Let's all take a deep breath and count to 10 before we decide that every next thing is the "gamechanger". Computers turned out to be a big deal as did the WWW as did mobile devices. That much I buy. G+? Errr, not buying it. Yet.
I think +Robert Scoble is right. Technology will, and continue to, make our personal lives better. I look forward to meeting you at the photowalk in Austin, Mr. Scoble.
Awesome 40 minutes, Robert, truly. Thanks. Also Cinch looks pretty cool, gonna give it a try...
I think you are right +Robert Scoble But I'm more bummed by where social media is going than excited by it. I just hate being a pawn in anyone's game.
+Robert Scoble Is there any chance for Yahoo! to get any of the pie in this game of games?

I preferred Yahoo! Pulse to Facebook if only on aesthetic grounds. Facebook always looked ugly to me. But even though Yahoo! updated Pulse to permit reading content from Facebook and Twitter feeds, all of my friends and relatives remained on Facebook so reading and posting to them via Pulse seemed pointless. And now Yahoo! seems to be giving up on Pulse by disabling their Pulse guestbooks and blogs.

So is there any chance for Yahoo! to get some of the pie or have they fallen forever by the wayside?
I disagree on some points though.
Google has been doing this kind of searching for a long time in gmail.
No doubt increasing tech is and will continue to progress the sophistication of it though. But to simply start with google using mentions as the main algorithmic point for its web search and then go on to say this other world is new to them is not right I think.
To that end this is not a mystery. However it is being searched google has come right out and said that the increasing use of facebook and google being closed to searching that usage is a problem.
Facebook is becoming so huge that it is becoming a defact web within a web.
The idea of 'how' you are searching that is technically interesting but the main point is there and easy to see - access to data.
It's interesting that google has also said that once it has all of this going it will make it open.
Essentially it has implied it is trying to set up a paradigm of usage and services which will then flow back into a new usage of the web beyond just http. Make social another internet service basically - with broad and sophisticated technology and usage.
Two other things though.
1. Is how stupid the adoption of the term 'identity' is by these companies.
It has an extremely negative connotation of privacy ingress. Especially today when we use that term about 'identity theft', etc...
This is only going to confuse and turn off the public.
Really dumb. Frankly Google, or somebody should be promoting the idea of an abstracted market-id. Companies don't actually care too much about who you actually are. Only who you are in a list of metrics to run algorithms on, advertise to, and sell for marketing purposes.
2. Just because large companies see this as a nirvana of micro-targeted marketing and sales does not mean the public is going to happily clamber on board.
We have seen companies salivate before at some brave new world that does not come to pass. This goes back to point one. Because, regardless of how much general users like to share pics with friends etc online - if you scare them enough about people tracing all that stuff and obtaining their 'identity' you could well end up with privacy legislation which might halt a lot of this stuff.
You are probably closer to this in the EU than the States but it could happen here to.
Robert, great post, really eye opening for me.
I agree with the premise that as we share more and more information it will be possible to get better, faster, information as long as we look for it. I think that it will also be true that a large number of people will be content to be "fed" information that outside entities tailor for them based off the greater level of information available. While I agree that there are a number of negative results that might result from this, (apathy, lack of privacy, etc) I would argue that there are also some positives results that would directly affect the more passive consumers. Algorithms that are designed to find new areas of interest based off of current likes could very possibly expand people's worldviews in very profound ways for example. As with most things the devil is in the details and the more we as active consumers can try to steer things in a positive direction, the better off we will be.
you could be a screen writer Mr. Scoble. Not sure whether this will pane out this way but you kept me interested the whole time.
+Robert Scoble , What do you think is up with Google's web-wide +1 button. It ishasbeen available for chrome browser from chrome web store for some time.

I can't help but think that since Google already has the web on some hard drives, in addition to mapping user information foraging habbits, +1 is also is a key allowing Google to enter walled gardens such as Facebooks Social graph with you. The way I understand it +1 makes available to Google all the sites one visits and the ones that they +1. Is this Google'w way of quietly web crawling Facebooks Social Graph?
+Robert Scoble -- the real new frontier for identity has the moniker: Personal Data Spaces or Personal Data Lockers. Labels aside, it boils down to individual management of identity that leverages:

1. distributed nature of the InterWeb
2. URIs (scheme agnositic)
3. structured data representation -- universal graph model (which is syntax agnostic)
4. PKI -- without the broken centralized CA network as sole arbiters of verifiable identity associated with X.509 certs.
5. trust logic that resides in InterWeb accessible and addressable structured profiles.

Google, Facebook and friends (no matter how hard they try) are but a piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, it is "You" and only "You" who knows "Your" state of "Being".

The great thing about exponential times is the rate at which it has brought the thorny but critical issue of identity to the floor, due these times of immense inattention to critical details.

"You" will someday negotiate with marketeers for access to key enclaves in "Your" personal data space. At sometime you'll realize that Facebook, Google and co., can't hold you hostage, they actually need "You" and "Your Network" more than "You" need "Them".

For now, they are successfully feeding on the prevalence of inattention due to flux state of the InterWeb inflection :-)
Thanks for that. And the discussion (whew!)
My 2c - to join the rest:

Privacy online is about control of personal data, and this is what we are starting to call our identity: how we represent this. This data is a valuable commodity as well as private, in many ways because it is private. However, very few of us are able to exploit that commodity.

We deposit bits of ourselves with these organizations and they, in return, give us a share of their earnings in the form of digital services. It's like a bank. But they probably don't think of it like that.

The main differentiation between the big boys is that g+ hands a great deal of the fine-grain control to the user. Facebook is starting to follow suit.

Facebook users leverage the lax profile names policy there to control how they are presented in the face of periodic privacy policy reversals and changes. In Googe+ a great deal of those concerns are removed by the circle system - but only if you trust google not to change things later.

This is a big ask so it is no wonder there is a lot of noise on this point.

G+ is supposed to be a different kind of social media. It is an experiment and there are bugs to work out. And I agree - the scope here is very wide.

Robert, I havent had a chance to listen as am at work but have you recently thought about Diaspora? Hope they are not dead!
Unless I am misunderstanding this, I can't see this game of games happening until everyone has their own, mandated, enforced, secure authenticated on-line connection tied to the person.
At the moment, my connection to the identity scrappers is getting a family of five down the pipe and even our private email addresses and phones carry other family members information. So what they would see is a weirdly skewed composite persona.
Robert, in your text you talk about "But in the future it will come to us via notification streams on our phones. What content will come there? Your identity system will decide for you based on your context and actions you take." I am working with an Australian company that does this, not yet on phones but via a web portal. So I fully agree with you and the thoughts in your piece. The advantage something like Chatter/Salesforce has is a large base of users, not just customers but actual users, and can get a large reach relatively easily.
+Robert Scoble
Let me analyze the real name policy as identity services theory.

1. Google may want you to use G+ account as login to many other websites
2. Google may want to identify what you want to buy & market to you direct based on your NAME, Location, Interest, shared data, comments & more.
3. Google may want to greet you by your commonly known name next time you walk past local google "store", google "security", google "gantry" and more.

Personally, real name policy for commerce is bs because anyone can buy stuff online with paypal or credit info without giving out their real name.

Playing games with real name are asking for trouble as online bullies unknowingly can find out their victims real name, emails, mobile number, home address, photos with geo tag and more via google+ & google search.
Google wants your ad dollars and in return free great progs. I'm OK with that.
+Robert Scoble social is alive and well in the Enterprise. Benioff validated it and has a large megaphone, but don't count out the traditional enterprise software players. Microsoft and IBM, in particular, are fully entrenched and savvy on social (in different ways). The recent acquisition of Socialcast by VMWare is already producing some interesting intra-enterprise social capability. (See the Strides announcement that came out last week Any time you want to talk to our large enterprise members in the Council, I'm happy to set that up. Hundreds of the largest companies in the world are busy retooling their workforces for social/mobile and becoming better brand stewards by engaging with their customers via social channels.
well, they deliver apps, until they don't anymore. nothing is forever at google
i want to be able to post my resume up and just share it with employers. that would speed up that littel process greatly. and it could be a better automation system for finding the most qualified ppl rather than some guy saying
"idk these ppl, and im rich and in this position of power. how could i make a mistake by making a choice" throws 2 dozen applications away without looking at them
"oh i dont like the penmanship on this one" tosses it
and so on...
Whenever this discussion appears the privacy and confidentiality problems arise. I work at a company which is building a service and platform to resolve both issues. It´s a solution for personal and public security and convenience. Check out our patent-pending feature METHOD FOR CONTROLLING TRUST AND CONFIDENTIALITY IN DAILY TRANSACTIONS OF THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT (
Came to this late via the summary post. I confess to skimming the comments and have probably missed out on a lot of great thinking. For what it's worth, what I'm taking away is:

- this is a logical continuation of the teaming behaviour which has got us to where we are today
- dropping out of the team will put anyone at a huge disadvantage, as it always has
- it would appear to be in everyone's interest for the system to maximise the "benefit" to all the players
- the nature of the "benefit" maximised will emerge over time and may be unexpected
- it is not obvious (to me) whether there will be a single winning strategy for individual players (i.e. me)
- it is not obvious (to me) whether the system will be catastrophically unstable
- it would appear that it will get progressively harder to keep sins secret
- making everybody's sins public would be quite a major change from everything that has gone before - everything else is extrapolation
- it is not obvious that there are significant forces which could stop this happening in the long run
- if it is going to happen eventually, the early entrants may have a significant advantage
So we are all to be lovingly and securely wrapped in an opaque yet invisible bubble woven from our own needs, fears and desires. Let's take care that our new internet overlords are well aware of our need to understand people whose bubbles are very different.
+Robert Scoble Isn't twitter basically a free floating notification system? Notification of what? Of whatever people who interest you find interesting.
Facebook is in it evolved over time and had no competition ( well MySpace but that's history). Google+ is a bit more revolutionary and is not seen as the "day to day" connection for the general public..which means everyone. G+, is becoming more sophisticated and in many ways a clearing house for everything "social media". Good, tell me.
One more comment....take if from a 63 year old business man and professional blog guys are way over-thinking this issue.
That this discussion is on G+ is precisely why I have little time for FB. Amazing stuff THX RScoble!
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