Google's reshare button lets others in a circle broadcast content they like. Users may disable reshare, but only after a user posts something. Google is working on a solution.
Google has left a small privacy hole in its Google+ share
button design that could put off some users who are trying to keep photos and
other content close to the vest.
is the search engine's riff on a Facebook-like
social network, albeit with more nuanced and granular controls for sharing
contacts to Circles, or buckets of family, friends, acquaintances,
people they want to follow or custom-crafted hub. When users go to
share comments, links or videos, they may choose what Circles they want
to share content with each time they post content.
The Financial Times noted
that when a user decides to share something with his or her Circle, the
item may be "reshared" or rebroadcast by others in the Circle to
Google does have an option to disable resharing, which
prevents others in a user's Circle from resharing that content with his or her
+ contacts. But this control only kicks into affect once a user has posted information
to share on + to their Circles. Theoretically, a user can hit share, then
immediately disable reshare after every post.
While this type of granular user control is certainly
appreciated, it's an inconvenience of disparate proportions. If a user posts
infrequently and wants to keep the content from spreading like wildfire across
Google+, he can disable resharing with little trouble. Frequent posters will
come to find this action tedious.
One solution might be to ask users if they mind if a
particular piece of content is reshared. This notification come via a pop-up that
surfaces when a user finishes typing or adding links to Websites, photos or
videos. As the Financial Times pointed out, offering an option to disable
resharing across all posts would also resolve this issue to a degree.
However, neither solution would preempt people in users'
Circles from copy and pasting the content and sharing it themselves. Google
told eWEEK it is considering its options for resharing.
A Google spokesperson reminded us: "Google+ is
currently in limited field trial. We're actively listening to feedback from our
testers. Prior to launching the product, we may make adjustments to the system
in response to this feedback."
The field test is in fact designed to mitigate issues
such as the resharing design. Google has opened access to Google+ to thousands
of users early to solicit feedback, so the product is clearly unfinished and
not to be confused with the social network that has 700 million-plus users.
The thorny issue in Google's new brand of social network
is: how much control should Google grant users over their content. If the
answer is absolute control, then Google must include an option to disable
Privacy on social networks has always been a sticky
issue. Facebook faces myriad privacy complaints and Google took the grand prize
last year when it launched its Google Buzz social conversation service as
Google+ largely succeeds in letting users control their
noted, Google's pains to ensure users are properly protected have made
the friending procedures very complex.