I have seen a lot of discussion on the privacy of Facebook vs. Google+ and have felt the need to really dive into this topic as it seems most are unaware of the functionality and/or actual usage of information we as end users provide to Facebook and Google.
Unlike facebook, which allows access controls at a very macro level (e.g., at the account level), Google actually allows access controlls now via multiple catagories on who and how people view your information they have linked across all of their acess points. You do point out the simple fact that Google has a LOT of our data, however you incorrectly correlate that Google is “evil” and that they are out to make all of said data available to anyone who comes across it in a search. This is simply not the case, and trust me I’ve been looking it over ALL weekend, as probably the BEST feature of Google+ is now that it allows you to choose your level of access control for EVERY component you are linking and/or sharing via Google. Now granted this means a user needs to go in and set every stinking piece of information Google can share, let us at least be glad they have given us the ability to do so.
So, let’s revisit the Facebook issue of being “less evil”: As mentioned previously, Facebook has decided to allow access control at the macro (read=Account level). To an extent this is good control as it requires individuals to request access to your entire existance. However, I think Google correctly makes the correct decision to allow the user to decide what information is discoverable and sharable at a very specific level of control. This means that information you CHOOSE to share can be shared openly or information can be controlled that you wish to keep only between friends and family. Furthermore, Google+ also provides you the ability to set up notifications for just about every account level interaction. (Annoying to most, interesting to a few, and useful probably just to one or two of us.) Now, all that being said, let us also remember that Facebook has branched well outside of just profile based sharing and is now used across the board as a form of “authentication” for third party websites. (e.g., flash games, news media websites, blogs, etc.) To assume this information is protected at the same level by your account privacy protections may be a tad on the assumption side. (Note that each time a website asks to use Facebook for authentication most are informing you that the same privacy controls DO NOT APPLY.) As proven by past articles and even law suits, we know Facebook collects all of these interactions and information just as Google does. My argument, for consideration here, is that, at least with Goolge the control of your information is transparent, where the jury is still out with Facebook.
..buyer beware..things are not as they seem..
Least we forget that BOTH organizations are out to gain market share, increase advertising dollars, AND make money. When these things combined we must remain well educated end users to ensure we know exactly what is taking place with our information. Like most things in life, nothing is easy, but always worth a closer look. Take the time and understand what privacy controls BOTH Facebook and Google+ have to offer and control your information as YOU see fit. You may be surprised to find out just how much control you really have, or don’t have as the case may be.