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More on Shared Items

Felipe Hoffa thinks that sharing items aspect of Google Reader invades his privacy.

I tend to disagree. When I share content, I know that it’s going to any who wants to read it. That’s what “Shared Items” means. Don’t want to read it, then don’t read it.

2 Responses to “More on Shared Items”

  1. bookbuster
    December 25, 2007 at 9:17 pm #

    I’m with Felipe on this one – this was an violation of privacy. It’s not actually the base idea of sharing that’s the problem, it’s the way it was introduced. If it had been a ‘share with everyone’ feature from the outset, this would be a non-issue. What instead happened was that google just took a lot of shared posts that were only intended to be shared and had only been shared with a specific few people, and broadcast them to everyone without giving folks time to prepare for the change beforehand. It’s comparable to discovering that some malevolent admin has added the rest of the company to the mailing list you an a few colleagues use to circulate sarcastic comments about your boss, and that everyone can see what you’ve been saying for the past year.

  2. Greg
    December 26, 2007 at 9:25 pm #

    I don’t know if “invasion of privacy” is an apt description, but the rest of bookbuster’s comments are on point.

    I’d only promoted my shared feed to a select group of colleagues for work-related purposes. You’d have had to go well out of your way to find it on your own (if that was even really possible – I admit I’m unsure).

    Then, without prior notification, my shared items were broadcast to everyone I’d ever happened to chat with in GTalk that uses Google Reader. Are you kidding me? It’d have been one thing for it to be a “moving forward” change, but it wasn’t, so items shared with a certain understanding were suddenly subject to a new context without any opportunity for the sharer to act.

    They created a fantastic feature that gave me a reasonable amount of control over how I shared info. Then they changed the rules without warning and, in so doing, lost a chunk of my trust. Was it within Google’s right to make such a chance? Of course. I don’t have any delusions that what I share in a Google feed is private, but I do think Google grossly mishandled this transition in a “Beacon”-esque fashion and left me pretty ticked off.

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