Last summer, I became involved in a plan to do a makeover of social networking. We designed thefacelift.co as a simpler, more secure spin on social networking.
And then, we stepped back. And because nothing happens on the Internet that isn’t worked on hard and carefully curated, Facelift has attracted only a few dozen registrants, many of whom have simply posted spammy links there.
Ahh, to be Google.
A couple of weeks ago, Google began opening up the doors to Google+. If you click that link you can see my profile there, which so far I’m only playing around with.
Google+ is better than Facebook, if only because when you add friends Google+ compels you to categorize them—at least minimally. This matters. Having your friends at least a little bit organized is where social networking becomes useful. But of course, until Google+ attains a large enough user base to attract a large enough user base to matter to a large enough user base … well, you get the idea.
Then again, this is Google we’re talking about. They’ll get there. And when they do, we’ll get to see whether bigger is always better.
Enter Facebook. Obviously, Facebook should be afraid of Google+. But in feeding their fears, Facebook is (already!) looking like someone trying to stick fingers in an ever-increasing number of holes in a leaky dam; Facebook is shutting down tools that help you migrate your information from their social network to Google+.
So let’s get this straight, Mr. Zuckerberg: You believe that privacy is dead and that all information should be open and easily available, but if your users want something as simple as a list of the names of their own Facebook friends you won’t let them have it?
Certainly, we can all understand the business/competition part of Facebook’s paranoia on this issue. But aside from the fact that users are going to get their information out of their Facebook accounts and imported to Google+ whether Facebook likes it or not, this just re-opens what I said when I started talking about The Facelift Of Social Networking; social networking only makes sense when it does what you want it to do. Facebook doesn’t fit that bill. And Google+ is starting in the right direction.
More on Google+, soon . . .