Google Plus understands you're nervous, baby. That Facebook, he cheated on you, embarrassed you, and keeps promising to change. But you can trust Google Plus. He's different. Really! Dump Facebook and tell all your friends about your new, richer social network.
Here's the lowdown on Google Plus, which was announced today in hopes of seducing you away from Mark Zuckerberg: It's like Facebook but with much better groups (purportedly), so you can segregate your relatives and friends into different "Circles" that get different streams of information from you. You can name your circles and add whoever you want to each one; the relationships can be one way, so you can receives shares without sharing back. There are some other features, but that's the only one you need to care about. Google is touting Plus as a big improvement over Facebook:
The subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools [*cough Facebook *cough*].
In this basic, human way, online sharing [Facebook] is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.
The thing is, history shows Google is itself awkward and broken when it comes to sharing information. Last year Google Buzz became a privacy embarrassment due to how it interfaced with Gmail (Google+ will be hooked into Gmail too). A few years prior, Google Reader had a very similar oversharing bug related to its Gmail tie in. Google has been in trouble with governments around the world for accidentally (it says) collecting passwords, emails and instant messages from people's home Wi-Fi networks using its Street View vans. And in at least one instance, a Google staffer went gone rogue and accessed teenagers' private messages.
The team behind Google Plus are saying they were chastened by the Buzz scandal and have learned from it. And maybe they have! Google seems to be testing Plus more thoroughly than it tested Buzz. It isn't available to the public yet since it is still being vetted.
But Google Plus is produced by the same company that made the aforementioned privacy blunders, a company that today has the same goal, mining profit from personal information, and the same employee incentives, to herd in users and grow quickly to get big bonuses and stock grants. And it follows in the footsteps of another large corporation that swears over and over that it too has changed, really, we mean it this time. If it builds a better tool, great, use it. Just don't buy all the sweet talk about Google being more "human" than Facebook. Same shit, different stock ticker.