Google+ to Facebook: TMI!

October 20, 2011

Vic Gundotra, Google’s head of social, doesn’t care about every song his friends are listening to and every article they’ve read.

“We do not believe in over-sharing,” he said at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Gundotra may not have said “Facebook,” but his comments were aimed directly at the world’s No.1 social networking service, which recently introduced a so-called “frictionless sharing” feature in which a user can elect to have all their online activities – such as the names of the videos they’re watching and the songs they’re listening to – automatically broadcast to their friends.

“Curation matters,” Gundotra said. “There is a reason why every thought in your head does not come out of your mouth.”

Gundotra’s fledgling social network, Google+, has only a fraction of Facebook’s more than 750 million users. And many observers have wondered whether the world really needs Google+, given that it doesn’t do anything drastically different from Facebook.

With Facebook increasingly pushing the boundaries on the amount of personal information that people share online, Google may have found a soundbyte-ready raison d’etre (that is, in addition to the strategic rationale of preventing Facebook from eating Google’s lucrative online advertising business).

“We want to do social in a way that is more like real life, where you actually take time to think about how you express your thoughts, your ideas,” Gundotra said.

Having just announced last week that Google+ has surpassed the 40 million user mark, Gundotra, who was joined on stage by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, had little to share in terms of statistics – especially when it came to any details about how active those 40 million users actually are on Google+.

But the pair did provide a few other interesting updates on the service.

Users of Google+ will soon be able to use pseudonyms, in addition to their real names, Gundotra said.

The company is still figuring out the best way to do that – so as to prevent creating an atmosphere in which trolls and creeps post inflammatory messages under cover of anonymity – but Google will eventually support alternative forms of identity for users of the service, Gundotra said.

He also said that “brand pages” will be available “imminently,” allowing businesses to hang a shingle on Google+ as they currently can on Facebook. And he said that Google, which derives 96 percent of its revenue from advertising, will not keep Google+ as an ad-free zone for much longer.

“We have some clever ideas we’ll be announcing shortly,” Gundotra said.

One comment

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“a user can elect to have all their online activities – such as the names of the videos they’re watching and the songs they’re listening to – automatically broadcast to their friends”

Wow, that’s just way beyond narcissistic. What in the world makes people think they’re so d*mned interesting that anyone gives a flying fig about what YouTube video they’re currently watching? I’ve even told my own brother to stop tweeting every restaurant he dines at. I would never annoy my friends like that. At least, if I want to keep them.

Posted by Nathanael | Report as abusive