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!
Setting out to discover Google+ and secure my privacy
This is how my profile looked
to the public at the beginning
of my discovery process
Being new to this,
there’s a lot to figure
out so, let’s start with a
What did the developers design it for?
“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,
…… 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
Google is going”
Google + vs. Facebook?
• Though many
for attempting to
of a social
platform, it seems
that is not their
• Instead they
as a data sharing
platform with a
• circles are created
to give the user
options to choose
with whom they
want to share data
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
• 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
backup and store
data such as
• Create circles (ie.
colleagues) so you
can choose which
groups see each
item you post
Google + ……
What do users say is their primary use
of the platform?
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
• 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
“I have a Google+ account
but I rarely use it because
people are not really active
on it.” (Walser, 2014)
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.
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
use it for?
** pictures from office clip art
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.
“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,
“Beyond lacking a
caught on? Simply
put, the service
isn't unique in
What can users do to manage their
online identity and protect their privacy?
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
2. Remove global access to
the parts of your personal
profile that you don’t want
to share with the world….
Time to tighten up on
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.
Changing my photo settings so that my location will not be shown and
viewers will not be allowed to download my photos and videos.
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
A word of
“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,
But wait….What’s this that I’ve stumbled upon?
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
platform and I do
not like it, not one
little bit. Let’s look
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.”
from this personal learning process
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?
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.
Am I confident in the
privacy measures of
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.”
So, how does my profile
look now…. After my
Not that different. A
little more pretty and a
lot more wise.