Will Privacy Settings Help Google+ Beat Facebook?

Just May last year, more than 30,000 disgruntled users committed to end their Facebook account en-masse on Quit Facebook Day. ‘For us it comes down to two things: fair choices and best intentions. In our view, Facebook doesn’t do a good job in either department,’ the website owners told fans. Later they compared quitting Facebook similar to quitting cigarettes, humorously adding ‘having peer support helps, but the way to quit Facebook is not to start a group on Facebook about leaving Facebook.’

Meanwhile, Diaspora secured more than $200,000 of funding using Kickstarter for what they call ‘the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network,’ the group is yet to hit a stable release as of July 2011. In response, to all the media coverage of privacy policy, Facebook simplified privacy controls and made certain changes easier (though the memory of this event is still engraved in the back of many minds).

Though, Facebook allows users to download their account information, Facebook makes it hard to exit. Users must wait for two weeks in a ‘deactivation’ period, after these weeks the account is ‘permanently deleted from Facebook.’ Google already has a much easier system for users exiting services which have carried over to Google+.  One of the projects undertaken at Google is The Data Liberation Front, which allows users to easily exit from Google services. In a video (see above), a staff member says ‘we believe that if we make it easy for you to leave Google, we have to work just that much harder to make sure that you don’t want to.’

The very foundation that Google+ was built on is also very different from Facebook. Google+ makes uses of grouping friends (Circles), while most Facebook users don’t categorize friends using lists. By using Circles, the theory is that the information you want to share with your work friends , the people you meet at clubs and old school buddies are different.

Facebook still can make changes to better improve their friend list function to make it more visible but Google+ may just be the social network alternative that users are looking for.


One thought on “Will Privacy Settings Help Google+ Beat Facebook?

  1. I’m not sure that Google plus will be any better on the privacy side, in fact it may be worse. One of my concerns is whether the ‘places i have lived’ map intergrates with Google maps and whether this will allow others to get a streeview look at your house. But I do have to admit Google plus does look a lot sexier than Facebook.

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