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How Google+ Measures Up On Privacy 164

Posted by timothy
from the circling-the-wagons dept.
itwbennett writes "The slow rollout of Google+ has led some to wonder whether Google was trying to create demand through scarcity, but it might just be that the company learned its lesson from the privacy fiasco that was the launch of Google Buzz. 'I think it is very smart of Google to restrict Plus to a "limited field trial" — they aren't even calling it a beta. Google made a misstep with the roll out of Buzz. They've already avoided that mistake with Plus with this limited release. And because it's so exclusive, tech savvy individuals are fighting to get in — just the type of folks that you want as beta testers,' said Sean Sullivan, an F-Secure security adviser. Of course, fixing bugs doesn't necessarily mean that Google will have privacy issues buttoned up. 'Google Plus is clearly designed to give people better control over their privacy with respect to their family, co-workers and friends, [but] there are other types of privacy that it simply can't provide,' says Peter Eckersley, a senior staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'Nobody has succeeded in building a social network that can offer those kinds of privacy protections yet.'"
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How Google+ Measures Up On Privacy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:14AM (#36718862)

    Host 1: [Camera zooms in on the two hosts] Welcome back to Money Quest. [Kyle looks at the show] In just over two weeks, young financial genius Eric Cartman [his picture appears on the screen behind the hosts] has managed to turn a theme park that was seeing less than a hundred attendees a day into a thriving park with attendance in the thousands.
    Host 2: And the way he did it is with the brilliant "You Can't Come" technique. For the first several days, the young businessman saturated the market with the claim that nobody could get into his park. It made the public crazy. So then, weeks later, when he opened the doors, they were lining up around the block. Simply amazing.
    Host 1: Well, ahah I thnk we should point out that this technique is already being applied by businesses all over the country.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) * on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:16AM (#36718870) Journal

    'Nobody has succeeded in building a social network that can offer those kinds of privacy protections yet. And nobody ever will.' - Networked computer will do everything but protect privacy. It can't be done any more than you can protect a radio broadcast. Even the best encryption depends on trust.

    • 'Nobody has succeeded in building a social network that can offer those kinds of privacy protections yet.'

      Yes, but do people in general care enough for it to actually matter?

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Sigh....
      A social network is for sharing. I find it just so odd that people expect that what they post on a social network would be private. I find that idea as dumb as a candy bar that will protect you from over eating.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Do not consider digital communications from your perspective, consider them from the technologically inept's perspective, not to be discriminatory let's just say the sub 110, that's nominally 75%.

        The KISS principle has to apply to security. Of course Google has yet to make any great claims about keeping your content private from their professional marketdroids and psychologically targeted advertising or from government intrusion or from for profit rentals and buys or from their own staff and management (

    • 'Nobody has succeeded in building a social network that can offer those kinds of privacy protections yet. And nobody ever will.'

      1. "Nobody has succeeded...yet" and "nobody ever will" are kind of mutually-exclusive conclusions, yes?

      2. If it's impossible to pull off, why are they even bothering? If they're just doing it for the money/marketshare, I wish they would stop trying to make it sound like a noble enterprise or some such bullshit.

      Or is your use of a quote confusing me? I'm not sure whether you meant the "and nobody ever will" as a response or if it's in the actual article (obviously haven't RTFA). If the former is the case, ki

    • by BitterOak (537666) on Monday July 11, 2011 @03:03PM (#36724786)

      'Nobody has succeeded in building a social network that can offer those kinds of privacy protections yet. And nobody ever will.' - Networked computer will do everything but protect privacy. It can't be done any more than you can protect a radio broadcast. Even the best encryption depends on trust.

      Your italicized statement is correct, but not quite for the reason you describe. It is possible to build secure computer networks: banks do it all the time. The problem is that social networking sites are all about sharing personal information. They would hardly be successful otherwise! Asking for a social network site that didn't compromise anyone's privacy is like asking for a non-flammable fire starter.

  • by PARENA (413947) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:17AM (#36718876) Homepage
    If you want to have big big big privacy, then there's no use in joining any kind of social network. The whole idea is to share information with others. Now, you can lock down showing private information (or don't even need to fill in that information), so what's the problem? If you want most control of your privacy, I don't see why you would want to join a social network. As far as I can see it's "fine" as it is: you can share the information with the people you want. The only bad thing is when EULA's or whatever say you give the owner of network a license to do with your stuff as they see fit (usually for advertising). But if they didn't do that, it'd be a quick end. That's the idea: you give them your stuff, they give you their stuff.
    • However, you could set up a social network via an onion style system - similar to some of the marketplaces used for certain bitcoin transactions. Thus, you would have a non-centralized system which is not automatically mined for advertising data, or something easily forced to hand out information via court order (although with a social network you're still most vulnerable to the least-secure member of a circle). You could even go so far as to create a validation system for virtual identities which can't ne
      • While I accept that I'm not a social person and thus have little use for social networks. My biggest beef with it is the matter of centralisation and control.

        No matter how much they insist that you are in control of your privacy, Google/Facebook are ultimately in control, your information is their for use or abuse as they, their business partners, their disgruntled employees, lulsec intruders, unsanctioned and sanctioned government officer and divorce or SLAPP lawyers see fit.

    • by Xest (935314) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:02AM (#36719168)

      I don't think it's so much privacy per-se that people want out of this systems, it's merely the ability to know and control what vectors there are to access you information.

      Google+ attempts to achieve this by making it explicit who you're sharing what with but Facebook never has, worse Facebook masks certain vectors, for example most people don't realise that just because their profile is private to everyone but their friends, this doesn't mean that their friends can't grant permission for apps to see their friends profiles bypassing any settings about "friends only" that their friends may have set- if you don't set all the options right "friends only" actually means "friends, and any app my friends use", which is quite different to friends only- it's a stealthy vector for your data to leak out to people you never wanted to be able to access it which can catch you unawares. Worse, Facebook when introducing this feature originally actually enabled it without telling anyone so that it applied retroactively- you may have thought you'd set things to friends only, but Facebook can change that when and how they want, even though doing so is a clear breach of at least the UK's data protection act, if not many other similar acts in other countries. Yet still they get away with it.

      Most people realise to use these things you have to lose some privacy, but just as I only give my e-mail address to select people to minimise that chance its gets into the hands of spammers, I'd like to be certain that my personal information is only going to who I've said it's going to- sure it may leak out if my friends get a virus, but at least I've minimised the vectors, and can narrow down where and how it happened just as I can tell that it was some forum that gave my e-mail away to spammers if I used a special forums account for all forum activity separate from my main e-mail account.

      Again, this is where Facebook fails- they let your data leak out left, right, and centre, and you have no idea to whom, where, or how- the only option is to not use it- Google+ is trying to do better than that, it can't guarantee perfect privacy, but at least it helps you understand and manage the vectors for data leakage better. and that's a good enough compromise between not using social networking at all, and your data goes everywhere to anyone who asks type wild-west of Facebook for many people.

      • by brunes69 (86786)

        This is true. One of the best features Google+ has is the ability to disable re-sharing of your posts. This way when you post an update you can disable your friends from attributing it back to you.

        • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday July 11, 2011 @11:22AM (#36720816) Journal

          Nope. If it is on the internet, it can be shared, and attributed back to you. Screenshots do this marvelously, and there is nothing you can do to stop someone from screen scraping.

          • Certainly, if they INTEND on re-sharing it and attributing it to you for some purpose. If they're going to do that they probably don't belong in the circle you're posting that particular message to.

            The point of the "disable reshare" option is to stop clueless people from mindlessly re-broadcasting every last thing that they read to the entire world.

            Nothing is perfect, but this certainly beats the "Default spew to EVERYONE" model that facepalmbook uses.

            • I prefer the Google+ method, because it tends to keep what you're spewing contained better. But I still wouldn't post something to my "friends" that could be used against me should I look for employment again.

              That being said, we need to educate people that their life on the internet is open for the world to see, and that is kind of the point here. Circles and other things are just another form of "security through obscurity" that we all know is broken.

      • I would phrase it more in terms of betrayal.

        When you are sharing with a circle of friends, anyone who betrays trust can be found out, and then not trusted again. But in some ways, the "betrayal" of facebook is the obtuse settings; if a human being were as pedantic and unforgiving, you would consider them a huge jerk. UIs always have that problem; they're interacting intelligently, but they're not intelligent. Every time you scream at your computer because "it's being stupid", it's the same. In this case

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      You do not have to go that far. The solution is not that hard. Just don't put anything on a social networking site that is private. The problem really seems to be that people don't know the difference between public and private. What you do in the privacy of your own home is private. Other things like medical and banking are private. What you do outside those areas is public. You funnel a beer naked at a party and you are doing it in public. The idea of a "private party" is a mistake because just because ev

  • Privacy Settings (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:17AM (#36718878)

    Allowing people to specify who can see their information alongside inputting that information itself is a big plus (pun intended). In Facebook you have to trawl through confusing menus, and are left not knowing if you've really set the privacy settings you intended.

  • Wouldn't I have to sign up to the service to discover what they're doing with my non-Google+ profile? I hear that if you have a public Google Profile then you can be added to the "circle" of a Google+ user. I have no idea if others can see that someone has added my profile to their circle. So far as I'm aware, Facebook has never done anything like this.. pulled in profile information from other services to add to their social network. I expect the inevitable result of this will be an automated service t

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Spad (470073)

      I heard that Google employees rifle through your stuff while you're sleeping and then post the information they find onto your Google+ profile even if you haven't created one.

    • Re:How would I know? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Needlzor (1197267) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:35AM (#36718984) Homepage
      Not exactly. Nobody can see who other people have put in their circles and that is the whole point of it: only you see how you have compartmentalized your contacts. In addition to that, if you don't have a Google+ profile (doesn't matter if you have a Google normal profile or any other email address), you can still be added to a Circle and when someone who has added your address in a Circle shares something into that particular Circle, you will only receive an e-mail with the message/video/thing shared and a link to join Google+. Nothing more than that.
    • by xaxa (988988)

      Wouldn't I have to sign up to the service to discover what they're doing with my non-Google+ profile? I hear that if you have a public Google Profile then you can be added to the "circle" of a Google+ user.

      Any email address can be added to a "circle". When I joined, the suggestions were all taken from my Google (GMail) address book, split into people already in Google+ and others. Either public Google Profiles are in with the others, or none of my contacts have one.

      I have no idea if others can see that someone has added my profile to their circle.

      The contents of circles is private. That was made quite clear while setting up the account.

      So far as I'm aware, Facebook has never done anything like this.. pulled in profile information from other services to add to their social network. I expect the inevitable result of this will be an automated service to badger me to join.. or just an attractive slippery slope of integration.

      AIUI you can opt out completely.

      • I have no idea if others can see that someone has added my profile to their circle.

        The contents of circles is private. That was made quite clear while setting up the account.

        That's not entirely true. You can generally see if someone has been added to someone else's circle, but you can't see which circle they have been added to.

        • unless you disable that also
        • by bberens (965711)
          This isn't true. From the profile, on the left where you see the icons of people in the user's circles you can click "View All" and see which circles people are in. This is a setting you can turn off, but by default everyone who can see your profile can see your circles.
  • I just can't see Facebook following suit. Their entire system is based on the fact that wall posts get shared with everyone. It's really easy to share because you don't have to think who gets to see it. Everyone does. Games post messages to everyone, third-party apps post ... Etc.

    When I was gaming regularly on Facebook, I would have -loved- to restrict game posts to only fellow game-players. That was most of my list, but I knew certain people would never play the games and didn't want to bother them.

    • When I was gaming regularly on Facebook, I would have -loved- to restrict game posts to only fellow game-players.

      You actually can, although the process is a bit convoluted.

      Say your game gives you some popup to share something (perhaps a request to help in the game, or some bonus to share). You can click the little lock that lists the options, Everyone, Friends Only, Friends of Friends, etc. Pick "Customize" Then from the customize menu select "Specific People". Then you can type in individual people or whatever groupings you've created. For instance, I created a "Game Friends" list that I add people to when they bec

      • by Aladrin (926209)

        Then I think I have just given away how long it's been since I played a game on Facebook. I have never seen that option. ;)

  • by jimicus (737525) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:20AM (#36718894)

    Let's say you want to invent the Next Facebook Killer But This Time With Privacy.

    Your system needs to allow:

    - People to make just enough information public to identify themselves (so friends can find them).
    - People to send messages and make photos and other media available to others with whom they may not have connected but may have a legitimate interest in seeing it (that's pretty much the point).
    - Assuming you're planning on monetizing this by selling ads, some sort of network effect to encourage more and more people to get into it. Facebook has this in spades with things like tagging; LinkedIn gets it by essentially asking its users to spam on its behalf.
    - While at the same time ensuring that the above information doesn't end up in the "wrong" hands. The wrong hands doesn't have to be just advertisers - the most common example is if you have your colleagues as friends on facebook and they get to see all the drunken photos of you going back years. We all have something in the past that we'd rather stayed there; the only way a lot of people can function in society is because by and large it does stay there.

    • by KlaymenDK (713149)

      Ah, but there's your problem: step #3.
      You cannot expect private interests to be respected in a commercial undertaking.

      • by w_dragon (1802458)
        Sure you can, Google does it quite well. Adds are automatically chosen based on what they know about you, marketers give Google adds, and Google decides who sees which adds. More money means more people see it. It seems to work quite well.
  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai l . com> on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:20AM (#36718896)

    Giving people tools that make it easier to keep private things from being seen by prospective employers, parents, the world at large is a good thing. However, the centralized nature still means that Google gets to see everything -- as well as anybody else Google lets in on it.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Giving people tools that make it easier to keep private things from being seen by prospective employers, parents, the world at large is a good thing. However, the centralized nature still means that Google gets to see everything -- as well as anybody else Google lets in on it.

      The problem is, once it can be seen by someone, it can be seen by everyone. Privacy doesn't exist, and the old maxim of "don't put online what you don't want the world to know" is still true today.

      Post big news about some (marriage, di

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:21AM (#36718904)

    'Nobody has succeeded in building a social network that can offer those kinds of privacy protections yet.'

    I can't believe that at all. Diaspora has clearly become a huge success. That's why all of my friends, neighbors, and even my frail old aunt and uncle are using it.

    Diaspora has also shown the power of Ruby on Rails, and how easy it is to use Rails to create web sites that are bug-free and totally without security issues.

    Diaspora is where it's at. Diaspora is the future. Once Diaspora and Bitcoin are integrated, it'll be an unstoppable force of social change.

    • by wed128 (722152)

      Diaspora is a great example of nerds marketing to other nerds...

      It was entirely designed to be attractive to the sorts of people who would put up Diaspora nodes, and not the people who would actually populate those nodes. Google+ is designed to cater to actual users, not administrators.

      • Diaspora had the right idea, but at no point did it ever look like a well done implementation to me....

    • by Jeremy Lee (9313)

      Really? With an install process that requires an advanced sysadmin and half a day? And a digital money system that's already having leakage troubles?

      I wanted to like diaspora. It has great ideas. But to have any chance against Google+ and Checkout, Diaspora better have a 2-minute install process and close to a million user by tomorrow. I'm in the trial. Half my friends are now too. It's _nice_. I wrote a review:

      http://unorthodox-engineers.blogspot.com/2011/07/googlepuss.html

      Bitcoin's time window will last u

    • by Xugumad (39311)

      > Once Diaspora and Bitcoin are integrated, it'll be an unstoppable force of social change.

      Dude, that's harsh on Bitcoin!

      (Not, admittedly, very harsh...)

  • by Lord Grey (463613) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:24AM (#36718914)

    All that yammering about privacy that can't be provided by Google+ but no actual references. Here is the full excerpt from TFA:

    "Google Plus is clearly designed to give people better control over their privacy with respect to their family, co-workers and friends, [but] there are other types of privacy that it simply can't provide. If you want a communications tool where the information you're sharing can't be read by Google, or by governments or lawyers in western countries, Google Plus isn't the service to use. Nobody has succeeded in building a social network that can offer those kinds of privacy protections yet," [Peter Eckersley] said.

    With that clarified: I thought that some of the distributed social networking projects offered exactly that (superb privacy capabilities). Regardless, Google+ seems to be a step in the right direction. Maybe not what everyone wants or needs, but a decent start.

    • by KlaymenDK (713149)

      With that clarified: I thought that some of the distributed social networking projects offered exactly that (superb privacy capabilities). Regardless, Google+ seems to be a step in the right direction. Maybe not what everyone wants or needs, but a decent start.

      I couldn't agree more. But we're not the press, so we're not allowed to form independent opinion. Or at least, that's what I've been told ...

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:26AM (#36718928) Journal
    I've been largely assembling circles these past couple days and was undecided about uploading an actual picture of me because there's no way to suppress that from being visible to people outside my circles. Sure, Google's put out an informative privacy center [google.com] but I'm pretty sure in Facebook there is a way to hide nearly everything from people searching for you on the site.

    Google seems to be offering me a different strategy. I found the option to make my profile unsearchable but if someone got a hold of the crazy URL for my profile, they can see my name and picture without being in my profile. I'd rather be searchable and when unknown people find my profile they don't get much (maybe my name and nothing else) until they add me to their circle and I subsequently add them to mine. I think this is the desired functionality of nearly all my friends and that's how we use Facebook.

    I haven't said anything about this as when I first joined, I could not even control the access to my picasa albums as they were automatically imported. This was particularly worrisome as I had some photos of my family around Christmas so I just deleted the albums. A few days later I saw the privacy controls though so I'm guessing the above should be added. Google+ is really undergoing a lot of changes still.

    One complaint I had that isn't privacy related is how taxing the UI is. I just deleted a circle this morning and the action failed twice and then worked the third time. When it worked, there was a row of circles on my screen and the circle I deleted was pushed forward and rolled to the left in front of all the other circles off my screen and then the circles closed their ranks. Cute and pretty ... but not when you're on a low performance computer. Granted, it was probably a lot lighter than Flash, I'm not interested in a social network that's going to include elaborate animations for very simple actions. At least give me a way to disable that.
    • by Mr_Silver (213637)

      I've been largely assembling circles these past couple days and was undecided about uploading an actual picture of me because there's no way to suppress that from being visible to people outside my circles. Sure, Google's put out an informative privacy center but I'm pretty sure in Facebook there is a way to hide nearly everything from people searching for you on the site.

      One of the nice features of Facebook is that if you go to Account > Privacy Settings > Customise Settings [facebook.com] then you can find a butto

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      I really wasn't impressed with having my circle suggestions pre-populated with people I've exchanged messages with through gmail. I was even less impressed when I tried to change some settings to 'only me' and they consistently reset to the 'circle' and 'global' level.

      Then I remembered that I prefer to make people work for this sort of data, so I killed my Google+ account and public profile.

      Then the next morning I was still getting e-mail from the service because someone had added me to their circle.

      • I really wasn't impressed with having my circle suggestions pre-populated with people I've exchanged messages with through gmail. I was even less impressed when I tried to change some settings to 'only me' and they consistently reset to the 'circle' and 'global' level.

        Then I remembered that I prefer to make people work for this sort of data, so I killed my Google+ account and public profile.

        Why not send them feedback instead? After all, it is a limited field trial, and you were notified at the beginning that it would still have kinks. For me, the settings didn't revert from "only me" to anything else so it seems like a bug. And I am happy to see suggested contacts based on my Gmail contacts. What else should they be based on?

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:38AM (#36719008) Journal
    would be to have the ability to drop a circle into another. IOW, the ability to create friends, family, and then 'friends & family'. So, it still requires work. But overall, I think that we are going to drop facebook (like anybody ever can) and simply switch to google plus.
    • by Carnivore (103106)

      There's no real reason for that functionality. It's easier to simply select both circles when you're sharing something. Your previous selection is set as the default for your next post, so you don't get frustrated with having to click the same buttons over and over.

      • by Altus (1034)

        An extra step every time you post something you want to share with a larger group is easier than a single one time step to set up the group you want to use?

    • Agree. I want to add my whole "friends" circle to my "acquaintances" circle. After all, what I want to share with an acquaintance, I typically want to share with my friends as well.
    • by aneroid (856995)

      would be to have the ability to drop a circle into another. IOW, the ability to create friends, family, and then 'friends & family'. So, it still requires work.

      I don't think that's necessary, mostly because if you want to share something with 'friends & family' then you share it with 'friends' & 'family' - which is simple enough; note the 2 circles.

      What I would actually like is Circles* + Rating ("how well do you know..." or like) the way Orkut had it. Have ratings from 1 to 5**. In the sense of social circles, there are those you prefer more than others or rather, those you share more with than others. Example: Colleagues can know about work things but no

  • ... it is rough around the edges. But hey, a week old and already better privacy than my years on facebook, and far more addicting.

    • it is very rough around the edges. As well, I'm still working out the whole 'sparks' thing.

      Really, until more of my friends are on it (I have exactly one) it's about as useful as Diaspora. And even then, maybe. My biggest thing is that any new social networking profile will be minimized from here on out. No wild party photos, no divisive status updates or posts. Even with Plus' security features, this is Google weren't talking about and the info will be seachable at some point. I don't need one crazy night

      • That is true, but that is also true in the real world. The first thing I did was invite everyone I could. And I treat it more like Twitter, and immediately followed about half a dozen people who post regularly... MG Siegler, Leo Laporte, Gina Trapani, Jeff Jarvis, Marc Andreesen, Tom Anderson, and Kevin Rose.

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:56AM (#36719120) Homepage Journal

    I have two invitations in my inbox. None accepted. All this exclusivity BS is IMO BS. Everybody who wanted to connect to each other electronically already do it in Facebook or one of its clones.

    Main question to me is: Why would I want (potentially) ruin my main e-mail account? by linking it to a social network??

    Google's Reader shared items are already more than I need. I do not see the need to broadcast my occasional musings to even more people. If nothing else, I want to have the reaction of my friends on the news item or funny picture - not jerk off comment from some strangers. If I want reaction of a particular person I would rather send it via the e-mail or the Google Talk.

    • by jdray (645332)

      You, though, aren't a good fit for a social network. Freedom's a beautiful thing, isn't it?

    • by slb (72208) *
      Two ! Hey can you tell your friends I would love to have an invitation ?
    • by Animats (122034)

      I have two invitations in my inbox. None accepted. All this exclusivity BS is IMO BS.

      Agreed. The first time I got a "Google+" ad, I wrote back to the person who sent it asking if they knew Google was spamming using their name.

  • Privacy, BS (Score:4, Funny)

    by pooh666 (624584) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:06AM (#36719220)
    When I went to use my invite, Google asked me for my birthdate, just one of those most imporant piecies of info for idenitity theft, I put in a fake one a usual only this time I made the mistake of making myself too young. Google then disabled my account AND my gmail account until I gave them 30 cents from my credit cart to prove I was old enough!!!!! So that led me to getting all of my email off of google via POP and saying fuck you goodbye.
    • Re:Privacy, BS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by repetty (260322) on Monday July 11, 2011 @09:25AM (#36719438) Homepage

      I know that you want me to be appalled but, instead, I find that damn funny!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What did you expect? Lol @ you!
      "I'm a minor"
      *click, account locked because you're a minor*
      "Google is evil because when I intentionally lied to them they reacted by requiring me to prove what was true!"

      Seriously...

    • I put in a fake one a usual only this time I made the mistake of making myself too young.

      You are the first person I've ever known to do that.

      Everyone I know picks the maximum setting, which is why all of my friends are like 108 years old according to the computer. I thought that was pretty much the standard thing when asked for a birthdate?

    • by hldn (1085833)

      everyone knows when giving a fake birthday to make it at least 21 years ago. now you know too.

      • by pooh666 (624584)
        yeah, I get the funny, haha on me. Why I picked a diffrent date? Don't know, I was just irriated to start with on the question being asked yet again. Yes, they did the "right" thing, except my birthday is none of their business to start with. They could just as easily ask, are you over 18/21 whatever and I was a little shocked that it wasn't an error message! Instead it was a full account block at first click. So yeah, that pissed me off..
  • The "Buzz fiasco" wasn't a fiasco because they rolled out Buzz too quickly. It was a fiasco because someone who is out of touch with people enough to think people wouldn't mind having everyone who ever emailed them privy to their web doings also had enough authority at Google to release Buzz that way.

  • From the article:

    'Google Plus is clearly designed to give people better control over their privacy with respect to their family, co-workers and friends, [but] there are other types of privacy that it simply can't provide,'

    Well, it could provide those other types of privacy, but that would defeat the whole purpose which is to make money by exposing people's information.

  • The circle thing is something Facebook really should have implemented. Right now I have LinkedIn for my professional contacts and FB for friends and acquaintances. I put nothing on there that I'd be embarrassed for the world to know because I assume there's zero security.

    Google+ seems even more interested in getting all of that information aggregated and out there. There's a minority backlash against this sort of thing and I know of a few people who have opted out of social media entirely. It remains to be

  • by kyoorius (16808) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:23AM (#36720086) Homepage

    (posted on my G+ wall last week, but I thought it might be worth pasting over here also)

    There’s something creepy about Google+. It’s not so much what is seen on the surface. You have the power to manage your own user profile, the people you add to your circles, and what you want see. What you don’t have control over are the circles you are placed into by everyone else.

    As users become more familiar with Google+, they will begin to create more specialized circles. For example, a sampling of circles I have currently have configured are "friends, family, acquaintances, following, paraglider pilots, hackers, makers, the press, ceo’s." Someone else might have me classified in their circles under “pilot” or “robot hacker” or “exboyfriends” or “high school buddies”. Whenever someone adds you to a circle, they are essentially profiling you, and the more people who add you to their circles, the more detail the profile about you will become. This is not something visible to you nor I. It’s visible only to the wizard behind the curtain (Google) and whoever they wish (or are forced) to share this information.

    In the near future, ads may be served which relate to you, yet have nothing to do with anything you ever posted or mentioned on the internet. Your Google+ friends have inadvertently ratted you out.

    So, who is really in control of your profile?

    • by jdray (645332)

      If someone put you in their "BFF" circle, and you put them in your "Acquaintances" circle, do you really want them to see that and potentially move you into their "People to Stalk" circle?

      • At the moment, they can't see it. People don't know what circles you've placed them in.

        I think he's complaining that people who are describing you are describing you.

    • by arkhan_jg (618674)

      What you don’t have control over are the circles you are placed into by everyone else.

      The flip side of this is you have total control over what circles you put other people in - which then follows naturally as that then allows you very fine-grained control as to what you want to share with who. It is a far better way of managing what other people see about you than the ;one giant circle of equals' that facebook defaults to.

      I think google can do a hell of a lot more behavioural profiling if they choose

  • by molo (94384) on Monday July 11, 2011 @10:38AM (#36720262) Journal

    When attempting to sign up for G+, I received a query about whether I wanted to join G+ and change my Picasa settings or leave them as is and not join. Here is what it said:

    Linking Google+ with Picasa Web Albums
    When you join Google+:
            [...]
            Your albums' visibility settings aren’t changed, but people they’re shared with can now share them with others.
            [...]

    So invite-only albums would now allow re-sharing, which makes them no longer invite-only. This alone made me decide to not join G+.

    -molo

    • G+ will automatically link your Picassa account to your G+ account, yes. But it WON'T go and change the settings on all your albums to automatically share them. Those that are currently private will remain so; those that are currently public will remain so, but also be visible via G+.

      Now go take off that tin-foil hat before pictures of you wearing it appear all over Google+.

      • So his albums aren't automatically made public, but those who have access to them can do so. You have refuted his point how, exactly?
        • OK, let's break it down.

          Option 1: You want nobody to see your pictures. So, you make them private.

          Option 2: You want anyone to be able to see your pictures who would want to. So, you make them public. If you're on Google+, maybe they get re-shared.

          Option 3: You want your friends to be able to see your pictures, but no one else. Even if you use Google+, you use the Picassa "only those with the URL" privacy setting, and don't post the link to Google+.

          Option 4: You want to share your photos with only your frie

          • by molo (94384)

            No, there were three privacy settings on the old picasa:

            1. public and searchable
            2. limited access - only those with the URL auth code can view (pass around the URL to your friends)
            3. invite-only access - only specific google accounts can access.

            The problem is that users of #3 could now re-share pictures they have access to. This breaks the invite-only capability.

            -molo

            • I guess they should simply add the possibility to disable re-share for photo albums as it exists for other posts already.
  • From the summary:

    "The slow rollout of Google+ has led some to wonder whether Google was trying to create demand through scarcity, but it might just be that the company learned its lesson from the privacy fiasco that was the launch of Google Buzz.

    No. I don't think Google is trying to create demand through scarcity. If they are, it's likely to backfire on them, social networks aren't like Gmail. The value of an email system varies with the 'buzz' and is independent of the number of users. The value of a s

  • As Josh Topolsky pointed out, you have to enquote "Google+" to search for info related to Google+ #Fail
  • Overall, I think Google+ looks more like LinkedIn, but for friends rather than professional contacts. Here are some suggestions for LinkedIn and Google+ to improve Lessons for LinkedIn from Google+ [4bearsonline.com]

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