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You will recall the point from my lecture that Google+ is positioning itself to limit sharing. This ad from them makes the point well …
Nilay Goyal, jovanatanackovic, Siamak Kolahi, and 32 others are discussing. Toggle Comments
This is preciously why I would use Google+ but not Facebook. I have no secrets to hide but once in a while I’d like to control to whom I release certain information. Information wants to be free but there are consequences if information flow is not controlled in all circumstances.
completely agree…it just gives one more control over what they share and what they dont. moreover it just makes relationships more personal i believe which is something facebook lacks
Here’s the thing… people don’t like managing all of this…
Agreed. Here’s some support http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/28/new-google-ad-shows-off-the-social-networks-biggest-problem/
Those who don’t like to manage their info flow can choose Facebook. Google offers a choice, a good one in my view. It’s true that managing info flow in Google+ requires some effort but so does human relationship in real life.
There are definitely pros and cons to each side of the argument – I believe both platforms can happily co-exist and cater to their respective segments of the population . Google+ has tons of potential still with the imperative integration of their other tools that everyone uses.
I completely agree with Karan. If Google+ is going to survive without allowing the level of sharing that Facebook has how is going to acquire a large enough user base? The only way I can see this happening is by creating a tight knit integration with other google services such as google music, search, books, youtube to make google + a focal point of sharing content through other google services. And if they get it right this should create a 2-sided network effect by boosting google+ membership and also consumption of other google services as well.
Of course, you can simply have just one large circle with everyone in it, to eliminate any management issues.
Does this just require training on the user’s part? I wonder if users would become accustomed to this or whether it’ll just become a hassle as one’s contact list grows.
We have to keep in mind we aren’t just adding our friends but also people we just want to follow, in which case Google+ is like a bookmark.
I find the interface a little cumbersome … there’s definitely a bit of overhead in managing the account.
I wonder if all of this is really necessary. Do we really need this? I mean, are people really sharing confidential information online? I can understand the odd party/drunk pic being slightly embarrassing in a professional setting, but what else are people sharing?? Will this open up the floodgates to real sensitive, private information to be uploaded online…?
Also, how will people react when they find out they’ve been downgraded by one of their friends? ie. One day I see all the pics you’ve posted, and the other day I don’t. Would this increase social tension?
I don’t think people should be encouraged to share confidential information on any of the social networks. However, sometimes we would want to have an ability to control certain information (e.g. avoid sharing private life with your co-workers), or to re-frame same information differently depending on audience (e.g. the details about your wedding). People may, if they choose, tell others the same info. But the option (or the ability) to control the release of information is quite important.
It’s not really about the occasional drunk pic — or for the occasional goofy pic of, oh, I don’t know, a certain plastic crown we might have found in the trash.
At this point in my life, I have several categories of friends:
1. The professional friends, with whom I mostly share industry-related content and news
2. The school friends, with whom I share some social things but mostly school-related things
3. Personal friends. for whom I share things that are of our common interest.
Even though none of the content I’m sharing is particularly sensitive or private, what I do share is tailored to the audience reading it. After all, my school friends likely have no interest in the weird music I listen to and aren’t interested in my posts about tours; likewise, my personal friends most likely don’t have any interest in the social media/pervasive communications things that I post to my professional feed.
These things are easier to control in G+ than on Facebook, but I think different social/sharing levels are really where things are evolving. The social space is becoming less about “Me sharing EVERYTHING” and moving towards “Me sharing what’s relevant for each type of follower”.
I agree. Facebook is a lot of information, too soon too fast for people just met. Learning about someone and why they believe what they believe should be more gradual through conversation that arrives naturally. For example, in a job interview would you discuss your entire thought evolution of your entire life on religion, politics and sex? If you would, more power to you but I’d rather take it slow so I have a chance to contextualize it for them and connect through understanding even if there’s disagreement. Full sharing sets up conflict immediately. That said, there’s a lot to be said for sharing the true you and not hiding what you truly value just to be liked. I’m just an advocate of introducing it more organically. For this reason, I even split my twitter accounts in to business (@BusinessTaylor) and personal (gotta ask me)
I’m so lazy that Google+ requires too much work for me to get started. I probably *should* care about privacy and all of that, but I’ve grown up on the internet since I was a kid doing such wild stuff and nobody has said anything that I just don’t care. If a picture of my bare ass from a crazy night of drunken debauchery shows up on the internet, so be it (it has, and much worse has as well). I have dropped so many F bombs online and said such stupid nonsense over the years and gotten into so many flame wars that I’ve lost count. Nobody has said anything, not even my employers, managers and the like who have me on FB, etc. Maybe if I was running for president or something I should care, but that ship has sailed. I’m not that important.
In short, the damage has been done. If I’m screwed, I’m screwed. Playing with circles isn’t going to fix that for me.
I think it is difficult to get this to become popular when most people have already set this up on facebook. If you want to do this on google +, you have to add your friends again and maintain it. Therefore, facebook had the first mover advantage here. I don’t see enough of a difference to want to post on google +, as opposed to facebook which you have already invested time in.
I guess that is true if you already spent the time to set this up on Facebook. I, for one, have not sifted through all my friends to sort them into groups once this feature was added. I’m not even sure how to do it. I think Google+ achieved a nice clean way of doing it right from the get-go. I think there are definitely advantages, such as cleaner design, when you aren’t first mover and don’t have to worry about backwards compatibility. You do, however, suffer from the high switching costs needed to port your entire network and convince them that the new platform is better.
Good point you raise, Mark. If you haven’t organized your facebook friends, then google+ does provide an easier and cleaner way to do this. My question then becomes, if you didn’t do this with facebook, what are the chances that you will do this with google+? You could decide to start doing this, but what about the portion of the population that doesn’t. How does google+ differ from facebook in that case?
I agree sorting your friends on facebook is a nightmare!
In my case, its not that I didn’t want to do it with Facebook, it’s just that the option wasn’t available initially so I slowly lost touch with it and never bothered to go sort through my list of friends. This new option allows me to build up my network from scratch again. Let’s face it, how many people have a personal relationship with the hundreds of Facebook friends they have. It does make sense to have the friends divided, so information can be shared appropriately.
I agree Maryam. If you are already heavily invested in Facebook friend arrangements, you really need a good reason to spend same time on doing this somewhere else as well. Plus not only you, but your friends and circles should have done that as well, to enable you get to the same level of privacy. This in turn increases collective switching costs for users, something Google+ and its interface havent address (yet)
I think what is interesting is that Google+ has chosen to position itself this way in order to attract those people like me who are not a fan of Facebook. However the reason I love Google+ has nothing to do with information control, although I do REALLY appreciate it, what I love about Google+ is the ability to control everything from one interface. I have my email, my documents, my pictures ( Google+ makes sharing pictures with individual people through picasa super easy, ). Facebook does not facilitate the transfer of such item in the same manner, I actually think Google+ might being marketed wrong.
Interesting point. I can see the ease of use with other google+ services, but what i see that hinders this is that in order for google+ to work, others must be signed up as well. If others are not, you cannot share with them. This is not the case with facebook. It is becoming more and more popular with time. The majority of my friends have facebook; this is not the same with google+.
Where Google+ is now is not necessarily where it could be in the future. Let’s be reminded that Google+ is new and not too many people know about it. It also took a while for people to accept Facebook. So if we look forward, and assuming Google+ continues to improve itself, its user base will grow.
I agree, the bar will grow. I just think the switching costs are high at this point. I have google+ but i use facebook much more often. Without the majority of my friends on google+, it becomes useless for me.
Google+ fans argue that Google+ has ramped up its user base much more quickly than Facebook back in times: http://www.buzzom.com/2011/07/growth-of-google-plus-vs-twitter-vs-facebook-stat/
What they are missing though, I would argue, is that this is not the same crowd Facebook was attracting in 2007. User awareness, expectations and reliance on social media is totally in a next level now than the time Facebook appeared. Now everybody expect his/her friends to be in some social network site, and every company to have a page on Facebook. Actually some of the rush to Google+ are Facebook addicts opening account in latest Google offering. So I believe Google+ is just building on top of such social media hype, and I actually dont think they are doing a good job on convincing people the switching cost
Yes, exactly! That’s what I was getting at with the integration of other services. It has a lot of potential assuming the integration with everything else stays smooth (I don’t see why not). It’s also interesting that celebrities are slowwwwly starting to get onto Google+ primarily to test out the Hangout feature, and have had an amazing experience. I see Google+ as an extension of the Google suite of products, not a standalone social network.
I could not agree more. I don’t see Google+ as a social media alone. What will be interesting to see is with the growth in the Android market, how Google+ will do. Will it become the medium of choice to organize a person’s ‘life’
Definitely will be interesting! There are rumours floating around today about a potential Facebook IPO in early-mid next year, with them wanting to raise $10B and thus valuing them at around $100B. That is just RIDICULOUS.
I agree with Kumar, Google+ value proposition is not only “selective network building” but also a tighter integration of Google’s services between Google+ users. I think that this is huge driver that would be able to offset the negative effects of positioning itself as a limited sharing social media platform. I believe that one of the bigger agenda’s for Google+ is promoting and integrating its other services such as Youtube, Google music through its very own social media.
I am wondering (just as a joke maybe!) if this is a legitimate business driver for Google. I mean using the appeal of integrated Google services to attract people to Google+ does not prove Google+ superiority of + over facebook. Microsoft has been (and still is) dealing with antitrust cases for doing similar with IE back in 90s. You know, just sayin…!
This whole organising your friends concept is a little bizarre for me. Both Facebook and google+ have one thing in common, and that is the need for its users to categorise people. Google+ simply puts more emphasis on the categorisation. But the main reason that i don’t use either of these two sites is because I’m not really quite sure how to categorise people. It’s something i do subconsciously in my head, and I’m not sure this categorisation process can really take place through a bunch of rules. So when FB gives me a bunch of privacy controls, that control who can see my information, i’m not quite sure what to do.
What i’m trying to say is that, what sites such as facebook and google+ have done is try to essentially break down your friends into groups. But in my head, these group of friends can’t be given a label. The relationship that i have with them can’t necessarily be described in one word. Whether that word be “friend”, “acquaintance” , “creeper” or a “maybe”.
The Google+ users can easily import contact from other social platforms, like Yahoo! and Hotmail, but to import from Facebook is way more complicated. (good news are they may overlap) Almost everyone has his/her Facebook account and it has been operated for long times. Moreover, people’s major “social circles” would not significantly change, and Facebook owns them all. (First mover advantage) Thus we say, it is suffering for users to restart a similar social network (switch cost is too high). Certainly users can try to set feet in new circles (have different experiences, or get new information), but in most cases these circles are not dominated. (those people in circles may have the same identities, interests as you, but they are not your closest friends somehow~ (or we say you do not see each other in the real life)
To manage contacts is also tiring. As we see in the vedio, users need to move one person from here to there. That is what they say “The right people, in just the right place”, but it is time-consuming. ( only has one person in vedio, imagine some users have a lot of contacts and do these movements all the times~)
Lastly, I would like to say most people have been spent too much time on social network platforms, the idea of devoloping a new one itself may not be wise, because at this point, it is better to do the substraction instead.
I think it’s really interesting that Google has actually bought airtime for one of their services. I have never seen any other Google ad on TV before this one, which coincidentally I saw last night. While the commercial is cute and shows what differentiates Google+ from the other social networks, I would have to agree with Myra – the need to constantly monitor circles, while initially a benefit, would just become a bother over time. Facebook now has lists that divide contacts into groups which detracts value from Google+ since people dont need to move to a new platform. However, if they can increase their value proposition over time we may see a shift of (at least) Google users embracing the service. We should remember, there was a time where MySpace was the big name in social networks….
@Elyte great point. When Robert Wong, Executive Creative Director at Google came to the Design Thinkers conference here in Toronto this month he made it a point to reiterate the Google philosophy of focusing mostly on the products and letting them tell their stories more naturally. The only exception being the super bowl ad of the Google search stories we mentioned in the class but that ad was mostly created just by a couple of young engineers. Google realizes how much is at stake with the future of search being social and failure really isn’t an option and at the same time recognizes their failure in achieving traction quickly enough. Timing wise, had they come up in when dissatisfaction with Facebook and privacy issues was at it’s peak it would have been a huge boon but now I think it’s a bit lukewarm.
To the point about limiting sharing, I believe that in itself is not not going to make or break Google+’s fortunes. There’s a huge network effect in favor of Facebook right now which cannot be overcome by merely providing more privacy through limited sharing (assuming that is what a substantial portion of the consumer base wants).
Google needs to leverage its network effects in email, photos sharing and maps etc. to build an equally popular social media network and then maybe its superior privacy settings will be better appreciated.
This is good for marketing. Interest Segments are clearly divided and Google’s algorithm can identify target markets more specifically (i’m not sure about privacy laws, but I write an email on Gmail and get the relevant advertisement). Assuming this takes off, Google allows companies to directly target their audiences with more relevancy.
Limited sharing is not always negative. The more connections on Facebook, the more clutter one has to deal with. Moreover, Referring to Clay Shirkey’s problem, sensitive information sharing can be easily adjusted on Google+. In fact, this method of dividing groups of friendship will take more mental energy. But it will also promote more relevant sharing among various groups, hence may foster higher communication. Just a thought…
I love Google ads.. They’re some of the best online, I still remember Google Search Stories with the Paris Love one, it was really well done, and emotional. They prompt imagination if anything.
Agreed to the above with ‘people don’t want to manage this’, but maybe that’s the point!
As can be seen in the video, she doesn’t have that many connections, and that’s GOOD!
Personally, I’ve been deleting about 2 friends per day on Facebook who I realised I don’t even remember the names of. I’m down from about 500 a month ago to less than 400! I’m going to continue ‘trimming the social fat’ until I get down to about 200-300 connections, which is much more realistic.
In my opinion, i dislike Google+ because i have to do a bunch of set up in order to let who can view my profiles and who is in my “circle of love”. This is hectic to me and i like Facebook “one-clink then you are good to go” set up. Another good thing for Facebook is that it automatically cateogrize people into different group according to their “networks” or “relationship status to you (say family, school buddies, etc.). This has almost the same functions as Google+, and so why would i bother to spend time on choosing WHO and WHICH to put into my circle? Last but not least, Facebook is still the nom nowadays so FACEBOOK wins !
I really doubt that Google+ can be successful. I mean, privacy and confidentiality are important but who would take the initiative to share the stuff that he/she doesn’t want people to know? And, nowadays network website like Facebook start paying attention on privacy protection and you can control whom you want your information share with, what is the point with those different friends circles? Same as Facebook, you will still have many strangers trying to add you to friends, which circle are you going to put them? If you refuse them, trust me you can do the same thing on Facebook so that you won’t have so many “stranger friends”.
It is no doubt a good initiative for people who want to control what they want to share and with whom. I believe there is a market for such users but my concern is that Google cannot attract and retain net users based on this factor alone. It should concentrate more on the integrative factor that comes in by using other Google services and platforms.
Moreover as mentioned above, Facebook and other social networking sites have already enhanced their privacy setting. So I don’t see a huge market shift as of now. At least not on this factor!!
I agree that Google should focus more on integration with the rest of the powerful Google Suite. That said, while Facebook has added smart lists and other features for selected sharing, it’s not intuitive. While I love that new lists feature, even used it to merge my self-made Rotman list with the Smart one Facebook made with an algorithm…. there’s no way in h*ll this passes the mom test. Google has made this part almost fun, dropping people in to circles is almost like a game and quite enjoyable. It’s also more obvious when sharing than hidden in a tiny menu dropdown. It seems people use Facebook, don’t understand the privacy and resent it later. I think Google makes for a more pleasant experience in sharing in this respect at least.
I also agree with Kamal and Taylor. Though Google+ circles’ UI looks much better than Facebook’s on this video, only this function would not encourage FB users to switch. They should integrate Google+ with their strong user based platforms such as search engine, maps, and You Tube, leveraging network effects
As much as I love organizing my facebook friends into groups…
Google + provides a good information sharing option for people, they can choose the certain group to share the information and receive news from them. For the groups that they don’t want to share some personal information or receive mass news feed from some social network crazy fans, Google+ makes the news massage management much easier than Facebook, they don’t have to delete friends or spend long time doing the privacy setting. It is a better way to organize the info flow and it is more like real life situation as we don’t want to hear too much news from people that we don’t know very well or people we barely talk to each other. The info flow feature will get more accepted by people.
I doubt your argument. There are numerous ways to control what info we share and with whom we share. I have a group friends among whom we communicate regularly. The info we shared is mostly stuff that we won’t like to share with general public. What we used was the dinosaur called ‘yahoo groups’ (I hope you remember it). We still use it and are too comfortable to change it.
Google+ provides a great alternative, but really, does anyone want to change?
I think the video is great from a marketing standpoint because it clearly explains the circle functionality of Google+, which has kept some people from adopting it because it has just seemed to vague. From a social platform standpoint, I don’t find Google+ to be nearly as user friendly as Facebook because of the added effort of managing different circles. Facebook does this for you by creating networks based on school, geography, etc. I can see how Google+ would appeal to someone who feels weary about sharing all their info on Facebook, but I don’t think there are enough people that have that mindset for Google+ to rely on it.
Sharing is good for a sicocial network, it enhances interactions between users/friends thus creat more value for the users. However, since we are in information exploding era, we often find it hard to manage the huge amout of information.
In the traditoinal social network system like facebook, information will shared between you and another user if you allow him/her to be” a friend” with you on facebook. You’ll see the shared information on facebook about him/her even if you don’t care about him/her too much. Which means, you’ll get many useless and meaningless information on face, unless u change some settings. However, in Google+, there’s no such a thing called “friendship”. U only need to “follow” the people you want to follow. What’s more, as is shown in the video, Google+ makes it easier to classify people who u follow into different categories. It helps users to categorise people who common interests with them. For example, the cars owners, the clubbers and so on. This funtion helps uers to get only the information that they are interested in. This is an advantage of Google+’s srategy.
I’m not sure how I feel about google+. I was really excited when it first launched because it seemed like such a good idea and a good ‘fix’ to all of the privacy issues that Facebook has. However after hearing Joshua give some insightful feedback during class the other day, I realize that network effects makes a big difference on whether a platform will be successful (i.e. google plus limits sharing and thus network effects are not as great as FB). Although I have a google+ account and I love the interface, I’m not motivated to go on it too much because none of my friends are congregating on google+. It will be interesting to see whether google+ ends up being successful or whether it will have the same fate as google wave!
Exactly Connie. What you get in a social media like that, is not look and feel, and I would say, is not even some privacy bug fixes based on a retrospective insight into your competition. What you get is the entire network effect of your circles. A new fancy (Google-style) look and feel with some privacy consideration fixes is something you happily give away in favor of a huge community of friends you have already built-up, unless you have good reasons. We are here to share after all, not to constantly fear for privacy and play “hide and seek” with our associates!
I think Circle is the best feature of Google+. Pretty simple and intuitive. Hmmm makes me wonder iPod click wheel might have been the inspiration
I want to take the opportunity and ask a question arose to me: Which one is harder to engineer and manage in social media settings? Inbound flow of information or outbound flow? In order to be qualified as an information overload (preceding privacy issues), which one is more challenging to address?
My crack on this is that the problem of managing outflow of information to your circles, even if interfaces are unintuitive and hard-to-use, is still possible to be solved deterministically. You can have an interface to choose the exact people to share a certain information with (Facebook has one now). This to me sounds like solving the problem in a sound and safe manner. However its always hard to find the optimum level of inbound information sharing. You can restrict the level of information you are willing to receive from certain individuals. But its easy to over-do it, and hence loose some valueable information they might share in future. You dont know what you can expect from people, and that makes it hard to manage through filters.
Even the most comprehensive and flexible interfaces can not guarantee you finding the optimum level of restriction on information inflow. This second problem, I would then argue, is undeterminstic in its nature, and hence much harder to solve and engineer for.
Whatever happened to the first mover advantage! Having people register on to a social network is different than making them use it.
Plus, its a fact that on facebook, most people use little of the rich feature sets and have little patience for managing all the settings. In fact, most don’t even bother with them. Google+’s feature set is more organized, but also pretty highly visible. I think this turn people off more than encourage usage.
Last post. It’s amazing how effective Google’s commercials are. Maybe it’s the music and simplicity.
Here’s another Google commercial that I found to be quite appealing:
This is not a Google commercial. Its a Youtube Search Story (http://www.youtube.com/searchstories). Do you remember one of the first posts on this blog. It was a search story made by Prof. Gans for this course. It was an awesome commercial to introduce the course. Here’s the link again:
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