One might think that with the deluge of news about how Facebook has been manipulating you and violating your privacy — and neglecting to tell you about it — Google would be taking this opportunity to point out that their own Google+ social system is very much the UnFacebook.
But sometimes Google is reticent about tooting their own horn. So what the hell, when it comes to Google+, I’m going to toot it for them.
Frankly, I’ve never trusted Facebook, and current events seem to validate those concerns yet again. Facebook is fundamentally designed to exploit users in particularly devious and disturbing ways (please see: “Fixing Facebook May Be Impossible” – https://lauren.vortex.com/2018/03/18/fixing-facebook-may-be-impossible).
Yet I’ve been quite happily communicating virtually every day with all manner of fascinating people about a vast range of topics over on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/+LaurenWeinstein), since the first day of beta availability back in 2011.
The differences between Facebook and Google+ are numerous and significant. There are no ads on Google+. Nobody can buy their way into your feed or pay Google for priority. Google doesn’t micromanage what you see. Google doesn’t sell your personal information to any third parties.
There’s overall a very different kind of sensibility on G+. There’s much less of people blabbing about the minutiae of their own lives all day long (well, perhaps except when it comes to cats — I plead guilty!), and much more discussion of issues and topics that really matter to more people. There’s much less of an emphasis on hanging around with those high school nitwits whom you despised anyway, and much more a focus on meeting new persons from around the world for intelligent discussions.
Are there any wackos or trolls on G+? Yep, they’re out there, but they never represent more than a small fraction of total interactions, and the tools are available to banish them in short order.
There is much more of a sense of community among G+ users, without the “I hate it but I use it anyway” feeling so often expressed by Facebook users. Facebook posts all too often seem to be about “me” — G+ posts more typically are about “us” — and tend to be far more interesting as a result.
At this juncture, the Google-haters will probably start to chime in with their usual bizarre conspiracy theories. Other than suggesting that they remove their tinfoil hats so that their scalps can breathe, I can’t do much for them.
Does Google screw up from time to time? Yes. But so does Facebook, and in far, far more egregious ways. Google messes up occasionally and works to correct what went wrong. Unfortunately, not only does Facebook make mistakes, but the entire philosophy of Facebook is dead wrong — a massive, manipulative violation of users’ personal information and communications on a gargantuan scale. There simply is no comparison.
And I’ll note here what should be obvious — I wouldn’t use G+ (or other Google services) if I weren’t satisfied with the ways that they handle my data. Having consulted to Google, I have a pretty decent understanding of how this works, and I know many members of their world-class privacy team personally. If only most firms gave their customers the kinds of control over their data that Google does (“The Google Page That Google Haters Don’t Want You to Know About” – https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/04/20/the-google-page-that-google-haters-dont-want-you-to-know-about).
But whether or not you decide to try Google+, please don’t keep playing along with Facebook’s sick ecosystem. Facebook has been treating its users like suckers since day one, and there’s damned little to suggest that they’re moving in other than an increasingly awful trajectory.
And that’s the truth.