Earlier this week, I heard about Googles latest social offering. After checking out all the videos and information about the Google+ Project online, I was eager to hop in and try it out. I quickly put my name in for an invite, and the. I waited. And when I got tired of waiting (a few hours, pretty sad), I started looking for people that had invites. I think it was the next day that I found a friend on Facebook had some, and I quickly leaped at the opportunity.
For the last few days, I’ve been using Google+, and I can quickly see the potential for this to become my number one social network. Hangouts are pretty awesome, and though I’ve only used this a little, I could see the potential for this to replace Skype plus. One of the biggest sells to be though was the ability to select groups of friend with whom I could share content. This made some much sense to me, that it wasn’t until this morning that I found a problem with it.
It wasn’t a huge problem, it just caught me a little off guard at first. When you first post some content on Google+ you select a group that you want to share it with. For example my wife shared a few photos from a recent trip that we took. I thought these were pretty cool, and I might want to share them with my colleagues. To my surprise, I did. It was kind of odd really, it seemed clearly like a bug. But after checking the help dialogs, I found that this was in fact intentional. You could on the other hand disable sharing on a post by post basis.
A friend of mine brought up a good point. Enough if you were to disable the ability to share a post, picture or otherwise, they could just as easily screenshot it and share the screenshot, or just telling others what you said.
This is where I believe the basis of any true trustworthy sharing should come in.
You should never share anything with someone who, knowing your wishes, you can not trust to abstain from sharing beyond those wishes.
But what if someone didn’t know it wasn’t ok to share with others? Can they really be to blame? Of course not. Although we can all believe in common sense, there are situations where a user might feel that certain content is worth sharing, but doesn’t realize this is ok. But setting every post to disable sharing can be very tedious.
But what if there were a better way? You probably have social circles which which you would be more comfortable sharing more personal details than you would with other groups. These personal details you likely wouldnt want being shared. So why not be able to set the sharing defaults based on your circles?
Although it can’t replace the trust rule above, it can augment it. The sharing link would then act as a flag or a signal to your circles. Share link is there would mean “feel free to share this”, and no share link would imply “please respect my wishes and not share this”.
This is just my idea for what could make Circles on Google+ even more useful, but I would love feedback.