First thing I thought of when Google+ launched a few months ago was that they were making a big promotional mistake by making their USP (unique selling proposition) the fact that they allow users to create “circles”.
Why did I think it was a mistake?
One of the key things I remember that my strategic management prof would drill into our heads back in business school was to always differentiate between a “competitive advantage” and a “sustainable competitive advantage”. In Google’s case, the circle feature was clearly the former. In other words, a competitive advantage with a short lifespan; something that competitors could easily replicate.
Sure enough, today Facebook rolled out its latest privacy changes allowing users to easily control who sees their posts from within the status update input box. You can select if you want your post to be public, go out to your “friends” only, or to specific people. One thing I haven’t determined yet is whether or not I can save a custom group for use later on. Surely, that will likely be the next update if it’s not possible just yet.
Note that they also added an easy way to add the names of people you happen to be with (if applicable) along with your location (an old feature). It’s scary just how quickly Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of people exchanging “privacy for convenience” is happening. This latest update is about to take that exchange to a whole new level.