by Gray Graham
This week two major things happened in the world of social media, Google+ became public and Facebook reinvented itself. Both of these things look to drastically change the social networking landscape.
Here is the rundown for those that missed it. Google+ is Google's latest, and it would seem greatest foray into the social media space. If you believe tech journalists they hit a home run. They learned from their past mistakes and created something that their users love. The thing about Google+ is that it appeals to a certain type of person at this stage of the game. It is simple and it allows you to get things done. It is clean and crisp like all of Google's services. It seems like no detail was left unturned. Little things like making the background black for photos, something that photographers love. Google+ seems to be everything you like about Twitter and everything that you liked about old Facebook. It allows you to discover new people and at the same time share privately with those close to you. Their real killer feature is Google Hangouts which allows you to have a group video chat while sharing information like a common Youtube video. Google took what people have said they wanted and delivered a product that everyone likes so far.
The biggest news are the changes that Facebook just announced. They have completely changed their service from what it was before and from what I seen people don't like it. I saw complainant after complainant from users about everything from the new Ticker ala Twitter Feed, to the disappearance of the ability control your news feed. I saw posts from people that could not even figure out how to use the service after logging into Facebook.
I am not going to go into detail about all the changes, because there are a lot. It seems the goal is to turn Facebook into the internet. They want people to spend all of their time inside Facebook never leaving the site. Not only that they want you sharing information with everyone you know so you can influence what they do. To say the internet has blown up on these changes is an understatement. I can only imagine what is going to happen when Timeline is released to everyone.
If you have read science fiction, then all of this probably sounds familiar to you. It would seem that these companies want to know everything about you but they want to limit your ability to learn things about others. Many business are upset because it seems as though the concept of fan pages has just been killed. Facebook is no longer the place to build relationships, it is the place to bring your relationships and therefore give Facebook tons of information about everyone and everything. That very thought frightens a lot of people.
This week Google went before Congress to explain how the use the information they have. Apple has done the same thing and I am sure a chair is warm for Facebook to do the same thing in the future. When you add Twitter and Linkedin, and Foursquare to the mix then these service probably know every aspect of your life. The ironic thing is that we the people gave it to them freely. It did not take soldiers with guns, hidden cameras, or pretty girls and guys. All it took was a quick search, a pretty toy, and a farm now everyone is hooked.
The thing that probably is the scariest is that people think that they NEED this services like they need air, water, and food. I am sure there is many a consumer and personal advocate that died to protect your privacy that is rolling over in their graves.
We are all part of this new social network that has the story of our lives; all connected, for the entire world to see.