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I'm a geek with a love for all things tech. I'm also an online business consultant with expertise in SEO, SMM, and digital marketing strategies.

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  1. 1

    Avi Burstein

    All well and good in theory, but if someone does share something with me online, how would I know that I am part of that select “keep it private” group, or part of the larger group that sharing it with indicates she doesn’t mind that it gets passed on?

  2. 2


    Jeff is wrong because people inadvertently make social gaffes all the time. If Google does something to minimize the frequency and severity of your friends blabbing something you’d prefer not be blabbed — great. If you made a mistake by telling your friends in the first place, so what? It’s still correct to minimize the harm of these mistakes regardless of how blame for them might be ascribed. Why should Google make yet another mistake by facilitating additional blabbing when it need not do so?

  3. 3

    Gina Trapani

    how would I know that I am part of that select “keep it private” group, or part of the larger group that sharing it with indicates she doesn’t mind that it gets passed on?

    You can see who the post was shared with, and that it is not public.

  4. 4


    Half the time, I don’t limit my sharing because the information is private, but because I want to keep my information relevant to my followers. (Thanks, Jeff, for articulating this on TWiG). Pre-Google+, I used Twitter vs. Facebook to split my social circles, but now Google+ makes this easy. For this reason, I like Google’s current implementation where they make sure you are aware that it was first shared with a limited group, but I don’t want to see Google disable sharing for limited posts by default.

  5. 5


    It’s sad that Google’s approach to this privacy is a lot like the way Facebook approaches these same issues. Basically they soften the wording, apologize but don’t change or update the feature to be more private. It’s a pattern of a lack of respect of users and in Google’s case, shows that Google+ is nothing more than a user grab.

  6. 6

    Steve Manke

    I’m going to side with Google on this one. The service isn’t trying to make the post bullet proof private. Its just trying to give the person posting the message a sense of limited privacy.

    This is how I expected the sharing to work. It seems 100% logical in my mind. That fact that it didn’t work this way initially troubles me because I just assumed as much and never considered otherwise. Not that I would post something online that is that unfit for public consumption but that’s really not the point here. Its a question of what people assume their inherent privacy is without having to read up on the services policy for each aspect of its features.

  7. 7

    Robert Bigelow

    While I am impressed with Google+, I still apply the same rule I’ve been Inter-networking by since I was posting messages and comments on the dial-in Bulletin Board Systems: assume EVERYTHING is public.

  8. 8


    What Jeff is saying is that everyone is too stupid to use technology properly so lets make it simpler, and tell everyone that everything they say is public. No one wants that. Look how upset people have been about privacy with Facebook! I think there’s a middle ground between providing privacy options and just making everything 100% public. Your point about how face-to-face communication happens illustrates that the best. However, I’d support an part of the initial sign-up that says “Hey! The Internet is public! If you say it here, someone can take it and say it over there.” Just a reminder that there are no real secrets in life except the ones that go untold.

  9. 9


    Maybe I’m old fashioned, but a phone call is still the best way to communicate with people if you can’t see them in person. In the way that Google Plus has initially structured, I feel like posting to a circle is like a conference phone call without the immediacy. That is what has been missing from what I know of all the “social” services. I also trust that the person I am speaking with is not recording the phone call so they could play it for someone else. This is why I feel the permission to reshare a “limited” post should not be granted by default. The only other way I could think of doing this is having the reshare permission assigned to the individual circles you create. Some of your circles could be phone calls, some could be megaphone announcements to a crowd. Both ways have benefits and I know I would like both.

  10. 10

    Lola Beno

    To Joseph, I respond with the fact that when the phone was invented, the networks were open to the public in that everyone who had a phone in the neighborhood could listen in on the conversation. Of course, now the phone technology has evolved so that the default is to private conversation unless you explicitly open up the speaker phone, or there is wiretapping operation going on.

  11. 11


    Jeff is wrong. If I share something, I shouldn’t assume it’s public, but I should be aware that it could intentionally become public.

    Let’s consider that I take some pictures of my kids and post them to my “Family” Google+ Circle. Grandma sees one and wants to share it with her “Bridge Club” circle. This would probably be fine, but maybe Grandma is not as savvy using the tools (we aren’t all technically adept) and shares it as public (assuming Google permitted that). Now, there are pictures of my kids (minors) for the world to see which are potentially tagged with their name and the location those pictures were taken. Let’s hope that creeps aren’t trolling Google+ public photos, and let’s hope that I’ve instilled wisdom in my kids when facing strangers.

    I love Google’s “be thoughtful” reminder. If you are so intent on sharing something, you can copy and re-post, but that takes intention, volition, and enough effort for you to truly consider if it is wise.

    I truly appreciate the extremity of Jeff’s opinion (both quoted here and on TWiG). He definitely brings an awareness that many will miss.


  12. 12

    Avi Burstein

    You can see who the post was shared with, and that it is not public.

    Gina, I just heard you say on TWiG (44:45) that you can’t see what circle you’ve been placed in. Doesn’t that mean you can’t see who the post was shared with? I’d assume so, since showing who it was shared with would also show who’s in the same circle as you. No?

    (I haven’t been let in to the beta yet, so apologies if this issue is clear to actual users.)

  13. 13


    Yes Lola. The phone technology did “evolve” to be private. That is my hope for this service. And as you point out, anyone, especially the government, can get around the privacy barriers built buy any communication service. Malicious intent can motivate people to do just about anything. But the beauty of a circle is that it is closed object. And I hope that Google intentionally used that symbol for that reason. They already know what we search for, who we email, and for some people who we stay in touch with by phone. I don’t know if the information that Facebook so desperately wants and keeps for their own is the goal for Google to obtain. They want us using the internet. And I know for myself that if circles truly stay closed, I will be using it much more than I ever have. I will have the choice to be private and trust people, as I do without a computer in front of me.

  14. 14

    Josef Ferguson

    Google could probably fix this “problem” if they added an ‘allow re-sharing’ check-box, but I don’t know if that’s the right solution. It could reduce content over-all since most people would probably default to ‘no’ in that situation and just leave it set that way, even for stuff that they intend to share publicly.
    Google+’s circles are not a perfect solution to the problem of privacy, but they are certainly a step in the right direction.

  15. 15

    Josef Ferguson

    (By the way, that was an intentional and correct use of “ironic quotes” in the first sentence of my previous post, since I’m not entirely convinced that this is a problem at all. Which is to say I tend to agree with Jeff. Once I put something online, I assume anyone and everyone is going to have access to it.)

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