Just between you and me…
(Making everything "social" may not be so private -- or good.)
Facebook regularly gets pummeled for its approach to privacy -- and rightly so. In contrast, Google is being lauded as having gotten privacy right with G+. Here the privacy controls are front and center. It's easy to fine-tune the visibility of the individual components of your profile information. A "view profile as..." search box provides immediate feedback to ensure you've got it just the way you want. With every post you're asked to choose exactly the people you want to share with, from single individuals to the public at large. Add in the ability to easily edit, disable re-sharing, and delete a post, and users are given yet another level reassurance. +Craig Kanalley
gathered up some privacy tips here: http://tinyurl.com/4xm92os
With all this goodness, what's not to like? Perhaps nothing.
But if you're used to the way you share on Facebook, you may be getting broader exposure than you realize by being part of G+. What's more, you may be getting a different Google search experience, and not necessarily a better one.
Here are a few things to be aware of:1.
When someone on G+ places you in a circle -- whether or not you reciprocate -- your G+ profile picture, and sometimes a note to the effect "shared this (where) on (date),” could appear in that person's search results. This happens not only when they are specifically searching for you (that's to be expected); you could also show up in searches they conduct that are unrelated to you. For instance, when I search "Apple", +Louis Gray
, someone I follow, shows up attached to the apple. com result. (See images.)2.
It's not just the posts you've shared publicly on G+ that can be associated with your profile picture in Google search results. If you share other people's posts on G+, those could also be tagged with your
picture and name. That means you're associated with that post, regardless of the reasons you shared it (e.g., it may not be because you "liked" it; you may have shared it because you strongly disagree with it -- but the only note will be that you've "shared it.")
Additionally, content that you've shared prior to the launch of G+ on blogs, Buzz, other sites -- as well as any sites you've +1'd -- also appear to be part of the algorithm to deliver "relevant" search results to someone who has you in a G+ circle. And what if you share something publicly, but didn't mean to? That will be indexed too. +Rebecca MacKinnon
posted an interesting article by Julian Sanchez who writes about G+: "I wonder whether it doesn't actually make inadvertent privacy breaches of the 'DM #fail' type more likely." http://tinyurl.com/44gxgmr
(It's unclear what deleting G+ posts will do in terms of cached results.)3.
Finally, becoming part of G+ means you're automatically opting in to a different online experience -- one that will be increasingly shaped by your social circles. And it's not just search results that are being "socialized." Other Google products may soon be (or already are) populated by the people in your circles: Maps, News, Images, Calendars, Docs, Offers, News, YouTube, and so on. For some, the promise of greater relevancy is the grail; imagine a web experience that is tailor-made for you and your interests, based on what you search for, what news you read, what you express, who you share with, who you have in your circles, who you chat or hangout with, how you share, where you are, who you're with, what you buy, and so on. (Bring on those micro-targeted ads and merchant offers!)
But leaving aside the potential for abusing such a vast amount of personal data (Google's not evil), there may be a real downside to living inside a "filter bubble" world that serves up search results based on signals and algorithms that decide what you see…and what you don't see. +Eli Pariser
makes a persuasive case for traveling through this emerging, socialized world with eyes wide open. Rather than summarize the implications here, I would urge you to listen to his TED talk: http://tinyurl.com/4xkj8hm
and visit his blog http://www.thefilterbubble.com/
and then draw your own conclusions.
Just thought you might want to know.