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How Google+ Measures Up On Privacy

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the circling-the-wagons dept.

Google 164

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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Obligatory South Park reference (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

To finish the summary (5, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718870)

'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.

Re:To finish the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719062)

'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.

How about a great big "personbook" where you can search for your long lost classmate by name, place school, whatever and where you also enter info you'd be willing for this long lost person to see when deciding if they want contact.

The book doesn't give you any answer immediately, instead internally messages the closest match saying that a person so-and-so wishes to contact them...

Maybe also coupled with some reassurances regarding true identity... Signed keys... A photo of you holding a note with a key generated for the occasion by the personbook system?

Encryption out the wazoo everywhere. System administered by Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and the EFF...

Re:To finish the summary (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719174)

Encryption out the wazoo everywhere. System administered by Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and the EFF...

So your solution is a system operated out of South Africa?

Re:To finish the summary (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719136)

'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?

Re:To finish the summary (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720072)

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.

Re:To finish the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36720504)

Exactly. If you don't want a piece of information to be found out, don't tell anyone! Can't trust emails, sms, phone calls, internet, etc. Even a real life conversation can be eavesdropped on. All these social networks are are another way for you to blab your secrets and then act all surprised when someone you don't want finds out!

Re:To finish the summary (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720676)

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 (some of whom lack the maturity to deal with it).

The whole issue, seems to be how to management a main account with many sub-accounts, with access to the main or sub-accounts easily managed by the user and importantly those sub-accounts being invisible from a external viewpoint so as not to appear exclusionary or two faced.

So how your multiple pages appear to the user, say with large background watermarks to indicate which group, versus the visitor where it appears as the users main page rather than a sub-exclusionary page. The users home page being their most used page, rather than the public one that's intended to create a positive impression on strangers, employers etc.

Now they need to add, "How to create a well formed maintained public page to create a good impression on employers", automatic tools to keep that page looking active but still properly within the context of the impression your trying to create (or at least the impression marketdroids have convinced you, that you need to promote) and of course a separate public family page.

The catch is, when you put in those controls, exclusions and limitations to communications, you will also limit openness and that openness drives growth, all part of the need to access what 'might be' important and the need to respond 'just in case'.

Re:To finish the summary (2)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720482)

'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, kindly disregard this entire post :-)

But isn't that the idea? (4, Insightful)

PARENA (413947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718876)

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.

Re:But isn't that the idea? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719038)

+1

People the world over, but more concentrated in the USA and EU, have some of the most insane entitlement issues.
More often than not, people will look at a situation and tell you how it "should be" or "should work". They'll tell you things it "shouldn't allow" or "shouldn't do". Some of them will even give you some vague, thoughtless explanation of "how" it "should work".
But most of the time, they just make completely ridiculous demands and then call the experts idiots when they are unable or unwilling to deliver.

Secure social networking (an oxymoron) is not a basic human right (even if some insane nation declares it as such. Just wait, it'll happen) and there is nobody obligated to even attempt to provide it to you. They must be incentivised. They must be offered something that makes the attempt worth their time.
Even then, it's patently impossible to create a secure social network due to the very nature and definition of a social network, which includes things like sharing whatever data it is you've entered with someone else, or a group of someones.
If there is a legitimate way in, there is a way to hack it.

Also: If you give your information to an advertizing company in exchange for the use of their service... expect them to use that data for the monetization of said services via advertizing. Doing otherwise is just silly. Especially when the first thing you do is agree to terms which say "We're going to use your information for advertizing purposes".

(And I was targeting all of the social networks with these comments, not just Google+. As far as I've been able to determine, Google+ is much tighter with your data than Facebook is by about a brazillian percent)

Re:But isn't that the idea? (3, Insightful)

rust627 (1072296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719112)

Google+ is much tighter with your data than Facebook is by about a brazillian percent

a brazillian percent, is that a normal percent with all the private hair shaved off ?

Re:But isn't that the idea? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720324)

Google+ indexes every posting for the search engine, which you could expect I guess... I just hope I don't start seeing people's Google+ streams showing up in my searches on a regular basis.

Re:But isn't that the idea? (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36721190)

Waxed, but close enough

Re:But isn't that the idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719138)

Is a brazillian percent more fluent in Portugeese and more skilled at dancing the samba than your average percent?

Re:But isn't that the idea? (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719640)

I disagree. People can be social without sharing every bit of data they hold. When you speak with your closest friends, do you tell them every secret you hold? Of course not. You always hold something back even though it's stored in your head. The same social rules apply to a social network. You may want some data public and accessible to anyone, while keeping a more private set of data for your closest friends, and many levels in between those two. The current choices with Facebook assumes all data you put out is fair game (as shown time and time again by their willingness to 'opt you in' to sharing your data and then requiring you to go in and lock it down). Unfortunately, to share any data, you must put it online if you wish to share it in a social network. It then becomes a matter of how much control you will retain over that data, and how fine the controls are in regards to who you share it with. Unfortunately, you will always be forced to share it with Google since they are hosting the site. That alone gives me pause given how much data Google already has. With Facebook, I can disassociate them from my web searches, my personal email, etc. That line becomes much more blurry when the social site, my search engine, my cell OS, my personal contacts, my personal email, and my news feeds all come from the same site. The amount of data that Google holds about me has reached a point where I'm actually very wary about Google. Their primary business is data mining and selling such for profit.

I'm just not all that sure I want to line up for this.

Re:But isn't that the idea? (0)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719816)

Could you revise your post and add a bit more Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to make it truly a compelling argument?

Re:But isn't that the idea? (2)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720352)

Yes, you've correctly stated the situation at hand. Only put things on a social networking site that you want to be public. The same rules apply as when you send out any communication that can easily be tracked back to you such as e-mail. I don't see what's to be so upset about.

Re:But isn't that the idea? (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719126)

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 necessarily be traced back to a physical person. Although pseudo-anonymity or virtual-reputations are distinct issues from privacy control (they could be related though).

Re:But isn't that the idea? (4, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:But isn't that the idea? (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719940)

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.

Re:But isn't that the idea? (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720816)

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.

Re:But isn't that the idea? (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720890)

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, though, a bad UI or malfunction can have serious repercussions on the rest of your life. Well, I suppose every time the computer crashed with a document unsaved, it could impact the rest of your life, but the point is, it affects how you relate to people, and some things can't be undone.

But since computers and online social networking are seen as part of the future, many people can't cut them out like they could a traitorous friend. And since FB is used by hundreds of millions, that makes all of those people ripe to be "betrayed," in the worst case. And unfortunately, the people behind it aren't really all that concerned.

Re:But isn't that the idea? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719978)

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 everybody and their dog isn't allowed to be there odds are that people will talk. Now they will talk, blog, post pictures, and post video but that is just a matter of degree.
Think about it. Is it wrong to judge a person based on their words and deeds? Even if you have some fantasy perfect privacy social site nothing is going to stop some old classmate from publishing that picture of you on their blog with your name on it.
The Internet has made the world in to a small town where you really have a hard time just fading in to a sea of faces. That is just reality so deal with it and take responsibly for your actions.

Privacy Settings (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Privacy Settings (0, Troll)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719102)

Google doesn't care about anybody's privacy. They just noticed Facebook has figured out how to get people to volunteer a thousand times more information about themselves and their friends than Google could hope to extract from their search results. They just want all of those people giving that information to Google instead of Facebook. Nothing else matters.

Promising to protect your privacy means nothing because Google is not going to protect your privacy from Google.

Re:Privacy Settings (2)

d4fseeker (1896770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719204)

As others already pointed out, if you don't want a comany to know th color of your underwear - don't post it online.
If you really care that much about privacy, then set up a forum on your own dedicated server and chat with your friends there.
But be careful; now YOU have the capability to control and extract informations, thus you are no better than any of these companies...

On the other hand, Google does a really good job of protecting your privacy against those that could -and will- use it against you;
your boss, your fiancee, your drinking buddies, ....

How would I know? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718880)

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 to badger me to join.. or just an attractive slippery slope of integration.

Re:How would I know? (2, Funny)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718972)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719052)

How would I know? .....I can't yet join. How do YOU join? Where is the sign up? I've had a google account forever and have signed up for everything as soon as it came out. They invited me! What's the deal?

Re:How would I know? (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719882)

Post ur email.

Re:How would I know? (3, Informative)

Needlzor (1197267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718984)

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.

Re:How would I know? (1)

Serpents (1831432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719128)

Not exactly. At the moment you can add people to circels whether they have a google account or not (and in some strange cases you can't add people who do and are in your contact list even if they have a profile but hey! pre-beta) but you can choose which g+ circles are visible to public. Eg I keep my "family" circle only to myself, while my "acquaintences" and "following" circles are visible to general public. However, people without a public profile are invisible to anyone but you (or so it seems at the moment) even if you add them to one of your "visible" circles. Google announced that they would soon delete all non-public profiles, though.

Re:How would I know? (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720546)

Google announced that they would soon delete all non-public profiles, though.

Why have them at all if they're only going to delete them two weeks after they start? Yeesh.

Re:How would I know? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719256)

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.

Re:How would I know? (2)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719560)

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.

Re:How would I know? (1)

techiemikey (1126169) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720520)

unless you disable that also

Re:How would I know? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36721088)

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.

Facebook's Eventual Reponse (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718892)

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. Eventually they implemented restrictions on games, and the ability to filter each game individually, but my friends should never have had to do anything at all.

I look forward to G+'s social games and the ability to filter those posts to just my gaming friends, if those posts exist at all. (I have a feeling they will.)

They haven't done that because it's damn difficult (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:They haven't done that because it's damn diffic (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719076)

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

Privacy from Google (4, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a success? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a succes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36718964)

'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.

Random acts of senseless flaming.

Diaspora isn't even released. It's in alpha and under heavy and active development.

But don't let the truth get in the way! Flame on, brother!

Re:What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a succes (2)

wed128 (722152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718980)

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.

Re:What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a succes (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718992)

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.

Do they really claim to be bug free? That would be a reason not to use Diaspora.

Re:What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a succes (1)

Jeremy Lee (9313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719002)

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 until Google Checkout is available to merchants world-wide, rather than just the US and UK. No idea how long that will take.

Funny thing is... I bet the main use of Facebook right now is spreading Google+ invitations around.

Re:What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a succes (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719086)

The main complaint seems to be that the data is not secret from Google. Well, Duh. That is the point: Google wants all your info - for its own internal purposes. It won't intentionally share that data with anyone else, but it will use that data to target ads on you. And the same point is true for any other social network: you cannot offer privacy from the operator of the network.

Re:What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a succes (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719096)

> 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...)

Re:What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a succes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719632)

Bitcoins are doomed to fail. The original concept might have worked, but they're far from that now.

Re:What? Is he saying that Diaspora isn't a succes (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720618)

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.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA good luck with that. And I shall laugh when the first big bug is found.

Expand that quote, please (4, Interesting)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Expand that quote, please (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719068)

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 ...

They Still Have a Ways to Go (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36718928)

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.

Re:They Still Have a Ways to Go (2)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719092)

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 button labelled "Preview my Profile".

From here you can see exactly how people see your profile, right down to what invidual friends can and cannot see. Extremely helpful in working out what information you do and do not want to share with other users.

I only publically show my picture, my home town and my current location. Just enough information for people who are trying to find me to know whether or not I'm the person they want - without giving away my life history to anyone who comes knocking.

Re:They Still Have a Ways to Go (5, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719140)

Yes, and Google+ has the same feature. :) You can view your public profile, your profile as visible to a given other Google+ member, or your profile as visible to a member of a particular circle of yours. It's pretty trivial to figure out if you are accidentally oversharing in your public profile.

Re:They Still Have a Ways to Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719208)

You have that preview thing in g+ also...

Go your profile, and at the bar that shows the different categories of sharing (photos, buzz, etc) at the right side you have a textbox

Re:They Still Have a Ways to Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719236)

Google has a very similar feature - you can browse you profile as if you were another user, and even a specific user from one of your circles.

Re:They Still Have a Ways to Go (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719446)

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 button labelled "Preview my Profile"

Google+ has a similar option (while editing your profile you can choose to see the profile as any circle/user/anonymous user would see it).

Re:They Still Have a Ways to Go (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720648)

The way I see it is that half the point of being on facebook etc. is so people can find you. And how can they be sure it's me if they can't see a picture, or hometown and school attended? Or are you afraid that people you don't want finding you will? Because I can understand that.

Re:They Still Have a Ways to Go (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720688)

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.

so exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36718934)

i don't know, man
it is so exclusive, that everyone is still waiting for the account. Probably this google+ doesn't even exists, imho it is just photoshop fake screenshots.

you know... when waiting in line to get into a club sometimes you realize that "this is taking too long", and simply lose interest.
the kind of places you find years later completely empty...

Re:so exclusive (2)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719010)

They're trying to avoid the "Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded" problem.

I've been handing out invites to people brave enough to give me their e-mail address.

Exclusive? (1)

luder (923306) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719436)

Seriously, everyone I know (at least in IT) has Google+...

One change for circiles (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719008)

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.

Re:One change for circiles (1)

Carnivore (103106) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720536)

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.

web search visibility (1)

valugi (1069088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719014)

your profile is visible by default and some of the things you cannot change to be invisible, like the name and the line afterwards and the gender. People need to know my gender right? You are in google plus, therefore I exist (mandatory) in google search.

"nobody has succeeded"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719020)

> Google Plus is clearly designed to give people better control over their privacy with respect to their family, co-workers and friends... 'Nobody has succeeded in building a social network that can offer those kinds of privacy protections yet.'"

Umm, of course they have. It's called the internet. Without uploading my every life detail to any for-profit web site, I seem perfectly able to communicate with my friends and family online. I seem perfectly able to decide which data which of them get to see.

I do this through various amazing new mechanisms called: SMTP, HTTP, and IRC. Standard protocols that any application can use, and which I and only I get to decide what is released, and on which no multinational has a say.

What on earth is it that makes everybody want to give all their private data to Facebook or Google or Myspace? Why not just give it directly to the people you want to have it? I keep hearing things like, "Facebook lets me communicate with my friends!". Well, I can communicate with my friends just fine. That's what the entire damn internet DOES, it lets me communicate.

I'm just hoping everyone jumps ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719046)

I'm just hoping everyone jumps ship and abandons Facebook. I won't, I'll just quietly delete my profile and move on.

I like it, but/and... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719060)

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

Re:I like it, but/and... (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719780)

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 to get me turned down for a job or have the cops knocking on my door. Sadly, with social networking even in your downtime you have to be professional.

Re:I like it, but/and... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720172)

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.

Exclusivity BS (2)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719120)

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.

Re:Exclusivity BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719646)

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

Just use a throwaway gmail account.

Re:Exclusivity BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719650)

You have 2 invitations in your inbox, both of them invalid or expired.

Re:Exclusivity BS (2)

jdray (645332) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720252)

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

Re:Exclusivity BS (1)

slb (72208) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720426)

Two ! Hey can you tell your friends I would love to have an invitation ?

Privacy, BS (3, Funny)

pooh666 (624584) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36719324)

You DONT have to give your birthdate, you can skip that.

Re:Privacy, BS (4, Insightful)

repetty (260322) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719438)

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

Re:Privacy, BS (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36720030)

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...

Re:Privacy, BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36720082)

You won't be missed.

Re:Privacy, BS (Or: Entitlement and Idiocy) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36720214)

So...

You screwed up.

Google reacted properly. ...and you nao hatez them!

Cool story, bro.

Re:Privacy, BS (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720432)

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?

To be clear.. (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719280)

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.

excuses (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719580)

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.

I remain skeptical (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719766)

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 seen whether this will become a trend or if they'll remain a small percentage of the overall population, the same as with people who opt out of watching commercial television.

Elephant in the room (1)

Tomsk70 (984457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36719824)

No-one is mentioning the lack of connectivity with FB. *Anywhere*.

Why is this? Are the fanboys/ Google really so keen that they think their grandparents will gleefully be waiting for Googlebook? Or does everyone who's keen simply accept that they'll have to run multiple social networking sites, as has happened with browsers (as I warned would happen, on this site, four or five years ago. Got a slashdot score of 1 for that, too).

We've been here before, though - with Macintosh vs. Windows - unable to compete, Apple concentrated on everything that had nothing to do with the mac's biggest fault - the lack of integration. As a result, it's taken them twenty years to reach a 1 in 10 market share, all the while pretending that Windows simply didn't exist (they only sorted out printing to a windows queue in a way that wouldn't lock your AD account with 10.6 - that's how 'business' Apple are).

Googlebooks's 'circles' aren't going to convince my gran to migrate, so it's either run one or both...the fact the Google seem to be pretending that this isn't an issue is laughable.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720552)

It's obvious that while Google would like to integrate with Facebook, Facebook does not want to integrate with Google. And that's exactly what has happened.

Google+ circles = crowdsourced user profiling? (5, Interesting)

kyoorius (16808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720086)

(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?

Re:Google+ circles = crowdsourced user profiling? (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720238)

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?

Re:Google+ circles = crowdsourced user profiling? (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36721162)

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.

Re:Google+ circles = crowdsourced user profiling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36721050)

I guess I need to really reconsider my "Drug Dealers" circle then...

G+ requires Picasa album permission changes (2)

molo (94384) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720262)

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

Re:G+ requires Picasa album permission changes (2)

Chonnawonga (1025364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720678)

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+.

Re:G+ requires Picasa album permission changes (2)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720770)

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?

Re:G+ requires Picasa album permission changes (2)

Chonnawonga (1025364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720922)

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 friends, but no one else, via Google+, but the privacy settings don't allow for that. You post to Slashdot about how horrifying this discovery was, and declare that you have decided not to join the service for this reason alone.

Jumbo Shrimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36720350)

Military intelligence.

Google and privacy.

So far I'm enjoying it... (0)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36720562)

Right now, due to the lack of mouth breathing masses on the site, it's actually kinda nice. For instance, I've yet to see a single "OMG SO MANY H8TRS SO JELOUSE OF ME U WISH U HAD THIS!!!!!1!1!" or "SUM DAYS I JUST WANT 2 SCREAM BUT THEN I REMEBER JESUS LOVES ME AND U 2, PASS IT ON!!!!" there, and that in itself is a big plus.

I'm sure a lot of people felt the same way about Facebook before it made the leap from college students only to mainstream, and I'm sure that will be the eventual fate of Google+, but for now, it's nice having a quiet place to have intelligent discussions with small groups of people without all the stupidity. I'll probably bail once Zynga gets their fingers in it, though.

What's the difference? (0)

Sygnus (83325) | more than 3 years ago | (#36721308)

I've been on G+ for a couple of days now (admittedly not too long), but I simply do not see the difference between Google's Circles and Facebook's friend lists. From what I can tell, the functionality is identical in that I can use both to limit who sees what. I'm really not understanding all this "Circles are better than what Facebook has" hubbub I'm seeing in various places (including /.).

Can someone enlighten me?

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