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This stat seems to explain why most people here don't understand why "tons of randos adding you" and "anyone can jump into your conversation by default" is a problem.
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Eunji Choi's profile photoHel M's profile photoTim Holmes's profile photoesteban winklevoss's profile photo
42 comments
 
Wonder what the ratio is for employees (source of initial invites) and their friends?
 
why are all your google+ posts about google+?
 
Yishan you keep belaboring this point, and I understand it (here I am commenting on your post) but I don't understand why you present this as if its a fundamental flaw of the system (here and on quora).

To fix this issue (if it turns out it is one) they would simply have to change the initial default of posts to "your circles" rather than "public"

Assuming they did that would g+ suddenly become a viable facebook alternative in your eyes?

Personally I believe these privacy cases are somewhat important but the long term success or failure for google here will depend much more on things like distribution (putting the activity stream on google.com for example). It's close enough to the right thing on the macro scale that they can iterate on privacy/defaults to get those right. Lets not forget that normal people happily interacted on myspace for quite some time.
 
Actually, yes. I think G+ did a pretty good job, and have only made a couple of misses; those primarily being the setting of defaults - the misses are severe, but easily correctable: it should be trivial for them to make the changes. I suspect that many people are taking my commentary as bashing G+ itself (i.e. like it's inherently bad or something), but I'm actually just talking about how, because Google decided quite deliberately that these were the most appropriate defaults, it signals that they don't really get social. That doesn't preclude them from making a couple minor changes and subsequently having G+ work more or less perfectly.
 
Wait, are you sure the defaults are to post publicly? I've never seen it do that to me and I don't recall ever choosing some special option to have my posts default to only my circles.
 
You know, Yishan, you keep saying the default of OMG STRANGERS is a huge miss -- have you never heard of a blog?
 
I think its easy to misconstrue what you're saying as a prognosis of failure rather than feedback.

I know I personally would be much more interested on your thoughts of google +'s chances of gaining any serious traction vs fb, though I guess thats the (multi)billion dollar question.
 
Actually, the billion dollar question is the entire reason behind my "complaints." See:

http://www.quora.com/Yishan-Wong/Why-would-you-post-publicly-on-Google+-if-you-do-not-want-a-non-friend-to-comment-on-the-post-Using-Circles-correctly-would-resolve-your-concern-for-privacy/answer/Yishan-Wong

I haven't posted this answer on G+ because criticisms about how I'm foolishly not able to use the features or "don't get it" (c.f. +K Tempest Bradford's incessant harping) have been split up into tons of individual threads on various other peoples' G+ posts so it's useless to answer them all individually, but that Quora answer is a good place to put the answer centrally.
 
you may be making some good points but your tone is fairly confrontational and I think that gets focused on more then the point you are trying to make.
 
Actually, because what's at stake here is accurate data for an investment decision, I need the most "adversarial" skew on the pro-G+ side. It doesn't do me any good if people agree with me because my writing was persuasive.
 
+Yishan Wong I totally get your position and personally sympathize, it doesn't make sense that one can't have a public conversation and some control over the discussion and who participates. I'm pushing my ideas, let's see what we can come up with.

[I'm just a systems web search guy, they shouldn't be listening to me anyhow]

As for the gender thing, do you think it's unusual in a techie early adopter kind of thing?
 
OK thank you, I get it. I think the point about attractive girls is pretty insightful. I personally still think your emphasis is wrong. Distribution is supremely important, and google seems bent on doing whatever they can to win with this. That mom that has a bad experience will continue to come back because she will still be using google, so they will have plenty of chances.
But if we sidestep this question, I'm still very interested in this hypothetical: lets say I get +Bradley Horowitz to read your feedback and change the default to "your circles," does Google have a meaningful chance to disrupt FB?
 
Maybe the point is that because they don't get it now (and are so far off base) they are unlikely to figure it out fast enough (if ever) and adjust in the right directions?
 
It does. This is the first non-ridiculous attempt by Google at a meaningful social product, and it's a good one, and that's why I'm here trying it out, doing "stupid user" things. The errors are in the defaults, not in structural flaws in the product. I have quite a bit of money riding on my being able to make an accurate determination, and that means cutting through both the fanboy-ism, the early-adopterism, my own FB bias, etc.
 
+Ashot Petrosian: Yes, that's my thought. The decisions to use the current defaults were not accidental; they were deliberate. This indicates strongly that they don't prioritize the needs of women (attractive/moms) in the design of a social network. It's not about which privacy features are available, but how well the defaults represent social dynamics as they pertain to core female demographics that anchor a social network's viability.
 
Ok, I got it. I will still maintain my original position, so you can take it as a vote in your decision. I think the rules you believe to be fundamental and set in stone are actually a little grayer. Not in the sense that the rules themselves are different, but in the sense that people are willing to put up with A LOT of mistakes in a website's design, usability, and yes privacy model if it is addictive and engaging. Supporting examples of course can be all three: myspace, to a lesser degree twitter (not mainstream), and yes even facebook has some warts:

http://www.facebook.com/search.php?q=pregnancy%20test&init=quick&tas=0.9055676660500467&type=eposts


I'm don't know if the effort will succeed but I believe at this point it all hinges on distribution strategy. This is where the war will be won or lost. Winning over some initial sub-networks and keeping people engaged before the network is sufficient to sustain itself. Subnetworks of individuals already tend to aggregate on different google properties (Maps, SERPs, Youtube videos) on a large scale so Google is in a unique position to distribute hard, the question to me is how aggressively will they push it and if it will be timed correctly.

Its also important to remember that the entire set of people that use Google services are relatively densely clustered in the social graph (I think I just puked a little) which will give them a better chance at the start.

If we are talking in terms of valuations you should also factor in that if Google can take just the 10% of the "upper class", define Facebook as the "dumbed down" for the masses network, and show that its not a winner take all space, this will reduce Facebook's valuation by much more than 10%.

There you go, not sure why I felt inspired to write all that up, but hopefully you can find in there something useful. I think its a very weird situation with this beta right now where we can test our internet prognostication skills since we can use and test this new product for an extended period of time before the public release. Of course, I don't have any skin in game, so take everything I say with a grain of salt ;)
 
I think they are off to a good start, and even if there're some bad deliberate defaults they are just starting to fine-tune the system. The features that will add real mass-appeal haven't even arrived yet and so it is good that they started with something simpler to polish the foundation.
 
Wow +Yishan Wong , you have just about the most condescending, patronizing tone one can have when looking out for the concerns of women. But only attractive women. Or moms.
 
Maybe he's only interested in those groups because he takes all the attractive women and turns them into moms.
Hel M
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I think you are perhaps discounting or unaware of how many random friend requests/follows most women already get anyway on all the existing social networks. Most of us are already perfectly used to going "what, I don't know you" and clicking ignore. This isn't a problem that is new or exclusive to or worse on G+. In fact, the worst random follow/friend problem on a social network for me is facebook, where it seems like there's constantly random guys sending friend requests.

Most of your argument about the problem with privacy on G+ seems to be "normal users won't know what to do with it and thus won't use it". But, the default action for adding someone (however you came to be seeing them, be they an actual friend or a random stranger) is to add them to a circle.

I don't think you can therefore draw a direct correlation between how people behave on FB and how ppl will behave on G+, because the stimulus they are presented with is different, and thus will lead to different actions. G+ is making circles/friend lists front and center, unavoidable, where as on FB you have to really WANT to put someone on a friend list to bother clicking through to where you can actually do so.
Hel M
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Also, I'm not seeing this "posts default to public" functionality. When I make a new post (I just checked), it defaults to blank, as in I have to click for the dropdown of circles to decide who it gets shared with, and nothing is automatically selected in the dropdown. My posts have been about equally split between public, circles, and certain individuals. So perhaps G+ is actually defaulting to whatever you do most often or some other metric?
 
based on my very few posts, I think if your last post went to a specific person/people, the default will be blank, but if it was a circle, the default will be whatever circle you last used
Hel M
 
It seems like it works differently on the website versus in the android app, just to make it even more complicated. The website seems to be defaulting to blank no matter how my last post was set. The android app seems to go with "public" if my last post was public, "my circles" otherwise.
 
I think Google's advanced algorithms have just determined that Yishan likes to broadcast his opinions to as wide a circle as possible and thus set his default to public. For me, the default is now to post to my circles or some such thing, but maybe it just remembers what I did last. I don't remember what it was initially set to.
 
Simply let users use it for twitter use (publish publicly to your followers) and facebook use (to circle which is equal to friend list in Facebook) in a single platform with smoother and clearer user interface, is that cool?
 
I'd like to see stats on Indian men specifically because I'm getting followed by many of them.
 
This is an interestingly relevant article: http://blogs.forbes.com/traceyjohn/2011/07/08/is-twitter-turning-us-into-twits/

The particularly interesting data -- [Excerpt] "According to the infographic on ProBlogger, a majority of Twitter users are young people and women: Of the 200 million accounts, 55% of Twitter users are female and 45% are ages 18-34. As for why Twitter is a waste of time, the infographic points out that 45% of the mass communications are 'nonsense' ... 40% of tweets are fragments of conversations, 25% of users have no followers and more than 40% of users don’t publish anything."

The current dramatically different user demographics for Google+ raise interesting questions about whether perhaps Google+ is having early success with the male demographic that's underrepresented on Twitter? And whether a big boon for Google+ in those regards will create two hemispheres of this particular social media usage, since apparently even the large number of young female users on Twitter didn't cause a mass influx of dudes trying to hit on them and get their photos etc. Is Google+ somehow more directly catering to the preferences of the male demographic, or is this happening for other reasons?
 
I hadn't thought about it, but now I'm going to implement the same rule on G+ as I have on Quora: no face pictures of me for my profile photo.

Sigh.
 
Unless I'm having a particularly shitty day, then I'm coming here and putting up a bikini pic and basking in the attention.
 
+Yishan Wong -- Might it be possible that Google intentionally did this but for the purpose of a "most open, male-centric" test run of the product first, perhaps to judge reactions before making what might be more nuanced alterations to the privacy issues? Just throwing out the idea, in case perhaps this testing phase was not designed to present the final version of defaults but to in fact make the final determination based on a big test of what most new users pick as defaults and how they change them around during this phase?

Maybe they are employing the "student footpath" methodology, like schools who don't put in the sidewalks and just let the grass grow tall, then wait a couple of weeks and see where everybody trampled down the grass in the most commonly used footpaths, to determine the best placement for sidewalks.

Google can possibly tell a lot about how the female users react and interact with male users, with forming circles and setting privacy defaults, etc, and get a lot of good data on preferences and the nuanced differences between male and female privacy setting preferences and interactions.

This is probably a long-shot, I know, but just wondering what you'd think of that approach, if that's what they were doing. Any thoughts about the likelihood of this approach, and (separately) the viability of such a testing phase?

(I know I'm speaking as a novice here, so if this is a totally stupid idea that nobody in social networking would try, then feel free to say so bluntly and don't waste time answering in detail, haha!)
 
The internet isn't unlike a bar. If the women don't come, the men leave.

Or turn it into something really awkward and cavemannish.
 
I'm curious what you think the posting defaults should be.

You bring very valid points, but given the model I'm not sure what default settings would address the issue.

When I signed in on Day 1 I was taken right into Circles. I'm not an average user, but it seemed straight forward enough for anybody to setup. There are default Circles upon sign in, but there are no users in them. Would you suggest the default posting settings be Circles? Where somebody could possibly post to an audience of zero?

How would your use case of mom/lazy girls play out if they were making posts to Circles with nobody in them?
 
I think they had no choice who they want to test-drive google+. Most of the normal web users don't even know what google+ is. And you needed to actively try to get an invite, you couldn't just join. Moreover, only the tech nerds (which are mostly male) read all the tech news and knew from day one when google+ opened, whereas the normal web surfer had no clue until the first news paper articles popped up. Yesterday I could use the invite button for the first time and invited some friends myself.
 
I don't see random people following me and jumping into my conversations as a problem. But then again, I am a big friendfeed user. You know friendfeed, that quirky fantastic social network where everyone loves to sip from the big public firehose?

And I never considered the male/female ratio here, and that's probably a good thing, as if I begin to notice it, it usually means there is a certain unusually high concentration of moronic cheerleaders that can't spell, at which point that is an indicator to me that I am using the wrong network.
 
so what does this say about people? is there an evolutionary reason men are flocking to explore and the women are staying where it's safe?
 
Maybe this isn't about social networking at all...maybe its more about virtual speed dating! No, No, HELL No, You're Cool!
 
Hey, it'd still be good for Google.
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