Finally Getting It

by on Jun.28, 2011, under general

Computerworld, on Google+:

However, what Google hopes will set its social network apart from Facebook and the smaller social networking services is that Google+ is set up to allow users to communicate within separate groups of their online friends. Instead of posting an update that goes out to everyone, Google+ enables users to create “circles” or groups, such as a user’s poker buddies, college friends, work colleagues and family members.

Now a user can communicate separately with each group.

“The “circles” idea makes a lot of sense,” said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research. “It’s smart, and while you can do something similar in Facebook, it’s not Facebook’s main thing. It’s not as easy to do.”

From Google itself:
Screen shot 2011-06-28 at 4.19.18 PM

You share different things with different people. But sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself, just like real life.

Called it.

e: from the Times:

“In real life, we have walls and windows and I can speak to you knowing who’s in the room, but in the online world, you get to a ‘Share’ box and you share with the whole world,” said Bradley Horowitz, a vice president of product management at Google who is leading the company’s social efforts with Vic Gundotra, a senior vice president of engineering.

Architecture metaphors and everything!

:, , ,
2 comments for this entry:
  1. Matt Hauger

    That’s a helpful feature, no doubt.

    But could it cause more problems than it solves? A Google+ user might reasonably assume that things shared with her “Friends” circle are inaccessible to her coworkers. But social networks are privacy sieves, and word gets around.

    Will Circles lull us into a false sense of security and invite oversharing?

  2. chris

    Matt –

    Seems like a reasonable concern. I think there is always the worry that people will think they understand what they in reality do not – in fact, that’s pretty much the problem on Facebook, where a lot of people simply don’t realize their degrees of oversharing.

    I view Circles as an incremental, comparative improvement, not an absolute solution. I have to believe that Circles will be more effective, even in its imperfections, than the status quo of Facebook confusing users entirely.

    Put another way: Facebook et al already invite oversharing; it seems to me the really relevant question, for the privacy pragmatist, is whether Google will be materially better at managing the oversharing.

Leave a Reply