This image has been making it’s rounds A LOT over the last couple of days. Understandable since Google has just released such a seminal new Social Networking site, Google+, the first that has any hope of standing up against the current heavyweight champion of the world, Facebook.
Now in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been a user of Google products since they came out, including Google+. Not all products by any means (I couldn’t even tell you what practical purpose half of them even HAVE), but I certainly run my email through Google Apps and I literally would not know where I was supposed to be each day without gCal. In the interest of FURTHER disclosure, I woke up out of a sound sleep and jumped out of bed to write this post (how’s that for a visual for you), so you’ll have to forgive any mental leaps which may occur . . . but I feel y’all need to hear the ranting that was taking place in my head.
But here’s the thing. If you are the type of person who is concerned about Internet Privacy (and man are there a lot of you out there), then you probably shouldn’t be on social networking sites in the first place. If you’re REALLY that concerned, you should probably ALSO be running your email through your own dedicated server (which is in your house) and your internet through a Tor network.
You also have other problems. No, I’m not being snide, I’m saying that datamining is the next big thing and you’re going to need to cancel your weekend plans. You need to start hitting up sites like spokeo.com and getting your data removed, because there is WAY more scary stuff just out there floating on the Interwebz.
That said, if you’re not quite that far gone, consider this. Who would you rather entrust your personal data with? A company which, when they make mistakes (and do not misunderstand, ANY AND ALL COMPANIES WILL MAKE MISTAKES) admits to it themselves — even if it sometimes takes a bit. Or a company which is run by a guy who’s employees say doesn’t believe in privacy at all? The same guy who says privacy concerns are just anxiety people get over? The company where, at least up until 18 months ago, employees could access everything in your account (and I mean EVERYTHING)?
So I guess the question is, who do you trust more with privacy concerns?
A large corporation which you know has its hands in everything and is probably going to try and sell you something with targeted marketing . . . but at least it’s all completely automated and scripted and being perpetrated by a group who’s company motto is “Don’t be evil?”
Or a company which has had nothing BUT privacy concerns which has been run by a guy who you can’t block within his own social network if you find him unctuous and unpleasant?
Like I said at the beginning, I admit to being rather pro-Google. Believe it or not, I don’t have active plans on shutting down my Facebook account any time soon now that G+ is up and running. Nothing so drastic. But the fact that there is actually competition gives me smiles.
P.S. If you really ARE genuinely a privacy buff, give Google+ a try. I think you’ll love “Circles.” You specify for every post you make just who sees what you’re doing. Absolutely no one else sees it. It’s almost hard to grasp how much more of a lockdown it is. You can actually have work on your friends list! Wow.