So with trepidation I've signed up for Google Plus (Google+?) with an invite from a buddy.
And right away I feel a touch of fear as I read the disclosures about how they'll share advertising info and Plus One info... and then I realize, they have a check-box next to them. I don't have to let Google+ share with other websites and I can change that option later. Hm.
Okay, so after that, I signed in and was greeted almost immediately with the warm glow and excitement of "Circles" -- there are times in your life when you have something just beneath the surface of the ripple of thoughts, you've been organizing it a certain way and all of a sudden its as if someone said, "Oh, yeah that's how I do it and here's how I improved it!"
In Facebook I struggle (and I do mean struggle) to organize my contacts, having finally arrived at:
A couple years ago a really embarrassing picture was uploaded and tagged of me - sharing it automatically with basically everyone! In hindsight, it's kind of epic and funny and awesome but my family and certain friends/coworkers/future employers/students/etc would not have approved (that was such an epic understatement I trembled a bit). So I needed to lock down my profile.
They had "Friend Groups" and after hunting through the site (I really don't know why it's so hard to find, it used to be on the sidebar then it went somewhere else... ugh) I was able to get these groups. The Aces, the Jacks, the Family, the "WTF" (seriously, I don't think I've ever met you but... uh... maybe?). Now they've changed it to "Lists" (I think).
In short, Facebook's mantra is "Privacy is Dead, Long Live the Share Everything!" (except if you're famous then you have to protect yourself.. poor, poor Zuckerberg) and I'm not alone in this belief: NYT Article. It wasn't always like this but I'll spare you the rehash.
I hate that attitude -- it's prevalent in everything Facebook does and it means that at a fundamental level, I do not trust Facebook. I may have to use it but it's with the same sort of begrudging, pride swallowing anger that you trudge through airport security, taking off shoes and belts in front of complete strangers and rude (not always but as a rule) TSA agents.
So, when I saw this:
My eyes widened and I was all "Whoa!" and "Yes!" - this is basically the default screen. No, we don't want to share every little detail of our lives with every person on this big rock! We do not. Facebook keeps pushing, prodding and even pulling us into their vision of "share everything!" It's begrudgingly they add any support for any "privacy."
So I can't review Google+ -- It may completely suck! It may be horrible! I have barely got past my Circles and Profile page but on those two pages I see something attached to almost every item (In fact, I haven't found one item it isn't attached to). "Share With..." or "Who Can See This?" - A drop down that lists "Anyone" "Your Circles" "Your Extended Circles" or "Custom."
That is a major win for me -- right there, it's RIGHT THERE! No hunting through the long-list of privacy items on Facebook's somewhat buried privacy settings.
Google+ acknowledges that we wear different hats in different settings and sometimes for really good reasons. I don't want to share with my Auntie Aggie that I was so trashed that I stumbled home at 1am on Hollywood Blvd singing "Start Spreadin' the News!" (which invariably pissed off some Angelenos). Nor do I want to share with all my coworkers that my little cousin just made it onto the Cheerleading squad and will be even MORE squeaky the next time I see her.
What's even more astounding? That such simple settings are lacking so completely that I get excited to have it.
I may find severe deficiencies over the next few days but for now +1 to Google+ on making Usable Privacy.