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Google+ Personal Learning Project


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I set out to discover the purpose of Google+, see how it was used by subscribers and to protect my online identity and privacy. Would I recommend Google+ as a social media tool? Check out the slides and see!

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Google+ Personal Learning Project

  1. 1. Google+ Setting out to discover Google+ and secure my privacy
  2. 2. This is how my profile looked to the public at the beginning of my discovery process
  3. 3. Being new to this, there’s a lot to figure out so, let’s start with a few questions…..
  4. 4. Google+ ….. What did the developers design it for?
  5. 5. ** social.jpg “If you listen carefully to what Googlers are saying you will get some nice insights into what the intentions from Google are. They are going to change the online world with Google Plus and the crux is data, identification, personalization and integration….. …… Look at the different Google products and services, figure out how they could be social and connected and you will be a step closer to understanding where Google is going” (VanDenBeld, 2012)
  6. 6. Google + vs. Facebook? • Though many criticize Google+ for attempting to copy-cat Facebook’s model of a social networking platform, it seems that is not their agenda • Instead they designed Google+ as a data sharing platform with a social layer • circles are created to give the user options to choose with whom they want to share data
  7. 7. So, what can you do with Google+? • Hangouts: “a video chat platform that costs nothing… allows you to hold video chat sessions with an unlimited number of people…” • Communities: “public and private… make it possible to form groups around particular interests, or even brands” (Baker, 2013) • You can link your apps from your smart phone • Automatically backup and store data such as photos, contacts and documents • Create circles (ie. Family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues) so you can choose which groups see each item you post
  8. 8. Google + …… What do users say is their primary use of the platform?
  9. 9. Interview findings…. Speaking with Dan Valade on his use of the platform…. • How long have you been on Google+? “I’m not exactly sure, but I was beta” • What would you say is Google+’s Primary use? “To provide an online social platform as well as a single portal for news and information” • What would you say is your primary use of the platform? “I haven’t used it all that much” • Is there a future in it, in your opinion? “…As Facebook becomes more commercialized and has targeted ads, I for one am turned off. The idea of investing time into Google+ as my primary social network has a possibility.” (Valade, 2014) **Used with permission
  10. 10. “I have a Google+ account but I rarely use it because people are not really active on it.” (Walser, 2014)
  11. 11. My uses? Until this project it was nothing more than an involuntary photo storage box that uploaded every single shot I took on my cell phone as well as anything anyone sent me. I didn’t know where the pictures were uploading to and what was visible to the public. I will show you how I managed to secure my photos. And just a hint, you can also get them to stop uploading from your phone.
  12. 12. My uses? Now that I’ve got it to stop doing what I don’t want it to do…. I’m still struggling to find anything that I actually want to do with it, besides ensure that the contents of my phone are not ending up on some public forum without me knowing. I’ve connected with the two people who have added me and I added about 11 other people based on ‘suggestions’. None of which have active enough profiles to have accepted me into their circles or interacted with me throughout this project. Interesting.
  13. 13. What would you use it for? ** pictures from office clip art
  14. 14. It seems that none of the users that I have interviewed or encountered online really have found a distinct use for Google+ or are clear idea what exactly Google intended it to be used for.
  15. 15. “Dear Google: Please give Google+ a purpose” (Tosie, 2012) “… Social networking sites are defined by how people use them. Google's not interested in creating a social network for the purpose of being a social network, it's creating a social network in an attempt to stop advertising dollars from going to Facebook and Twitter..” (Tosie, 2012) “Beyond lacking a few features, however, why hasn't Google+ caught on? Simply put, the service isn't unique in almost any way….”
  16. 16. Google+ …. What can users do to manage their online identity and protect their privacy?
  17. 17. 3. Restrict visibility of individual posts in your Google+ stream” (O’Donnell, 2014) Some helpful hints I came across in my search…. 1. “Restrict the visibility of your Google+ circles to increase your privacy…. 2. Remove global access to the parts of your personal profile that you don’t want to share with the world…. Source ** m/od/security101/a/Googl e-Plus-Security-Privacy-And- Safety.htm
  18. 18. Time to tighten up on privacy levels! Found under the settings menu, this screen allows you to choose who can send you notifications or comment on your public posts. Each post gives you the opportunity to choose which circles you want to see that post, so they need not be made public ever, if you so choose.
  19. 19. Customizing Photo settings Changing my photo settings so that my location will not be shown and viewers will not be allowed to download my photos and videos.
  20. 20. Don’t Forget…. If you don’t want your YouTube uploads, playlists and subscriptions to be public on your Google+ profile, this will have to be changed from the settings in your YouTube account. I learned this after trying far too long without success to change video settings from within my Google+ settings.
  21. 21. A word of advice….. “As Google+ evolves, it will undoubtedly feature additional privacy and security options. You should check the "Profile and Privacy" section of your Google+ account every month or so to make sure that you haven't been opted-in to something you would have rather been opted-out of.” (O’Donnell, 2014)
  22. 22. But wait….What’s this that I’ve stumbled upon?
  23. 23. Not that I was even really on the fence about Google+ at this point, but these two little bits sealed the deal for me. To me this indicated a portion of Google’s plan behind this platform and I do not like it, not one little bit. Let’s look closer….
  24. 24. Wait… how is that me in control?
  25. 25. You can bet I unchecked that box!
  26. 26. Once changed, it should look like this…
  27. 27. What if you don’t want your social actions used at all? ….. According to Danny Sullivan, “There’s no global option to disable non-ad use of your social actions, short of not having a Google+ account itself.” (Sullivan, 2013)
  28. 28. My conclusions from this personal learning process
  29. 29. Has Google+ done a good enough job defining their purpose and showing us why we need them? In my opinion, no. I feel like Google+ is the weird neighbour that keeps taking my stuff and I don’t know why. In my research it became clear that they aren’t technically trying to be the new Facebook…. But then, what is it that they ARE trying to be?
  30. 30. Will I continue to use & add to my Google+ profile? Probably not. Honestly, I still am not sold on their purpose, why I even need it or to what advantage it I would use it in the present or future. Google+ hasn’t told me why I need them, and the users I interviewed can’t seem to figure it out either. On top of that, now I feel like I’m being used for my ‘1+’ data to make them advertising dollars. That feels sneaky. I don’t like it.
  31. 31. Am I confident in the privacy measures of Google+? About as confident as I am in Facebook’s privacy settings, which is why I put minimal personal information on any social media platform and tighten up the privacy and security reigns as much as is made available to me. Paranoid? Maybe. However, I still hail from the camp that says “I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
  32. 32. So, how does my profile look now…. After my “discovery”?
  33. 33. Not that different. A little more pretty and a lot more wise.
  34. 34. By: Amanda Kampers