Google+ doesn’t care about you or social networking, it cares about selling your name and tracking your moves

I’m not under the impression that Google really know how they’re going to use the information they get; at the moment it seems to be mostly about ensuring that they don’t get left behind. Their goal has always been to, “organise the world’s information”, but to what end, it’s never been clear. Undoubtedly, they’ll use it badly, though.

Beyond technical gripes, my two biggest problems with G+ are the pseudonym policy and the hand-on policy they’ve adopted (the former perhaps being a symptom of the latter). These services have a habit of evolving to meet their users interests. Flickr began as a game but became a photo hosting service. Twitter began as a kind of web text messaging but most of the features that define Twitter were user-created and the service is becoming increasingly abstract and more of a backend tool. Facebook seems to be slowly turning into Steam-for-your-parents, given usage statistics (and despite Facebook’s efforts to diversify).

Meanwhile, Google seem to have decided for users what G+ is all about. The service hasn’t evolved much since it went up, it’s mostly just minor technical changes, while games were planned from the beginning. The pseudonym policy is outright hostile to existing online communities and vulnerable individuals. The poor integration of certain ‘social’ features is beginning to be addressed: +1 is no longer ghettoised but Sparks remain entirely algorithmic and impersonal and have a way to go. The pandering and grovelling to make it suitable for celebrities and businesses is alienating, to say the least. The overt pimping of Google’s other services has gotten worse, with the black toolbar now following you, no matter how far you scroll down the page. The whole thing is very austere and there’s no illusion that users have any real part to play in this service’s development and the ‘this is Google’s playground, like it or lump it’ PR sentiments are only making things worse.

I’d hope the service fails but then we’re still stuck with facebook and the only thing worse than a duopoly of douchebags is a monopoly of such.

+1ing this for irony.

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