Google+: Friend, or Foe?

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“Google+ was built primarily as an identity service”

That statement, uttered by then Google CEO Eric Schmidt, was enough to initially steer me away from Google+. When did Google become the world’s identity archive? I’m skeptical that Google+ true intent is not to create the next great Social Network, but to collect data from all of their users for some sinister purpose not yet revealed. What’s all this I hear about “doing no evil”?

Being new to the Internet, I am hoping to bring a fresh perspective to what Google has to offer. Although hesitant, I’ll be creating a Google+ account soon to see with my own eyes to gauge how it affects my overall user experience. Rest assured, I’ve got my eye on you, Google!

My expectations for Google+ are admittedly biased due to my inexperience with the platform. I am not comfortable with the the idea of using a “Social Network” to gather personal information and make it searchable on the internet. The “oops” potential of exposing private info/pictures/videos of yourself or people related to your account, is a very real concern. The silver lining to all of this is that Google +,if properly managed, allows users to control what sort of data can be shared or collected. So, provided I don’t +1 everything on the internet, or publicly post pictures of a crazy night out, my “online persona” should be safe. Still, I wonder…

On January 10, 2012 Google announced that more content from Google+ accounts would be showing up in search results. “Search plus Your World”, they call it. This means that more user’s links, pictures and more will potentially show up in queries for the sake of “personalizing” the search experience. Again, my paranoia is taking hold. What “if” people think that you like that rash ointment you were researching for a “friend”? Well, at least there is the option to still search the regular, non personalized web (for now).

It appears that I am not alone in my concerns. Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan writes, “However, Search Plus Your World may cause some privacy worries, as private content may appear as if it is exposed publicly (it is not). It might also cause concern by making private content more visible to friends and family than those sharing may have initially intended. The new format and features will also likely cause Google to come under renewed fire that it is leveraging its search engine to favor its own content and crowd out competitors.”

My “Spidey Sense” is tingling! Would Google ever remove the ability of its users to control what is searchable on the internet? Should we expect an slew of updates strategically positioned to further integrate your life into Google search?

Arghhhhh!!!

Like it or not, the writing is on the wall and I am going to have to face my fears head on. Google +, I am coming for you! Check back in as I enter the G+ world with a critical eye. To be fair, I fully intend to keep an open mind towards the possibilities Google+ has to offer when I Google plus my world this week.

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One Comment

  1. […] I controlled the temperature, I jumped right in. I won’t say that my opinion from my previous article has changed dramatically, however, it’s been adjusted a […]

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