“No, not really,” is not only my answer but also that of Hoover Institute Visiting Fellow and American University Law Professor Kenneth Anderson. Writing on The Volokh Conspiracy under the headline, “The Personal Is Not the Political Is Not The Professional,” Professor Anderson tells of his discomfort with Facebook: “I don’t really want to inflict my political views or professional concerns on all my nieces and nephews, and I don’t really want to inflict even the most adorable pictures of my grandniece on all my professor friends… Facebook is frustrating if you don’t believe in commingling all parts of your personal and professional life.” He then learned of an online challenger to FB: Google+:
“I read this account of it yesterday, and — true, great minds think alike, but the Big G is in a position to do something about it:
Instead of treating all of your friends as equals, Google lets you put them into different groups, called circles, such as ‘friends’, ‘acquaintances’, ‘family’, ‘sports fans’, and so on. These circles represent a powerful innovation. They allow us to send more personal updates just to our closest friends instead of forcing us to share with all of our hundreds of acquaintances. This simple task is not easy to do within Facebook.”
Unfortunately, the Big G is just as intrusive in Google+ as it is in Google Street View, so before Professor Anderson jumps from the frying pan of FB to the fire of G+, he might want to check out the Motley Fool’s tech analyst, Kurt Bakke, here, writing on Sunday:
Google+: And You Thought Facebook Is a Privacy Nightmare: Google Could Be Setting Itself Up For Massive Lawsuits
“What particularly surprised us here at ConceivablyTech is the virtually nonexistent privacy on Google+. If you have complained about a lack of privacy on Facebook before, you surely won’t like Google+, and if you freely voice your opinion that could get you in legal trouble, you may want to think twice about using Google+. The company’s general terms of service also apply to this new service, which would include these paragraphs:
‘By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.
‘You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
‘You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.”
Well, so much for Google+.