kallistixf: A golden apple with Kallisti written on it in Greek (Default)
[personal profile] kallistixf posting in [community profile] googleplus

Steve Yegge of Google wrote an excellent rant on G+'s issue.  He's since taken it down, but copies are available -- for example on Hacker News.  Worth reading.

What's interesting is that he intended it for internal use, but instead posted it publicly.  Oops.   Yet another great example of how Circles don't necessarily solve all privacy problems. 

Date: 2011-10-12 04:58 pm (UTC)
lian: Klavier Gavin, golden boy (Default)
From: [personal profile] lian
Thanks for linking, that was very interesting (and fun to read!)

Date: 2011-10-12 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
Circles don't necessarily solve all privacy problems.

In this case it's more that maintaining two entirely separate accounts don't solve all privacy problems: it sounds like he intended not to post it to a different Circle but using an entirely different login. So really that's a problem for almost every site, it's certainly a mistake I've made on DW too.

(Just in case, I'm not a stealth G+ booster, I just think this particular incident shouldn't be read as "circles don't do what they're supposed to" but more as "switching accounts is hard" and that's not a G+ specific problem, although it's one they share in.)

I hope he doesn't lose his job. Google is twitchier than many companies about employees speaking publicly, and Steve Yegge is famously The Blogger Who Loves Working At Google So Much.

Date: 2011-10-13 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
he clearly feels the need for two accounts

It's mandated: I believe Google has a separate G+ entirely for internal use/dogfooding by employees and I'm presuming that's where he meant to post to. I would think it's standard: they really need to have separate versions of everything, so that they can roll out unannounced products and new versions for internal use before public release. I don't know anything about their internal G+ but I would expect it is weeks or months ahead of the external one in features.

If he wants to talk to the public at all, he needs a second account in order to do it, so it's not a person individually deciding to separate personas, it's that Google has built a wall between "employees speaking to each other" (their G+) and "members of the public, some few of whom are our employees, speaking to each other" (the G+ we use).
Edited (Nitpicking my expression, done now I hope!) Date: 2011-10-13 04:08 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-10-13 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
It does support your point though. Google feels that Googlers-speaking-about-Google-things should be strongly separated from their Googlers-speaking-about-stuff-with-their-friends. And this is perfectly correct! Otherwise it's impossible to have a frank discussion about their work given trade secrets and public company information laws and similar things, and just generally not wanting to have their internal fights watched by the whole world.

Admittedly, in the case of a company, even if Google themselves didn't think this, most likely it would be viewed very dubiously by their partner companies and so on to take the risk of allowing potentially extremely sensitive information (financials, contracts, unannounced products) being discussed on a public site that could be hacked, even if no Googler ever slipped up and used the wrong circle. (No insider information here, but I would guess that Google's own G+ would be stored in separate databases, on web servers that only face their intranet, etc, because that's just how it needs to be done in order to observe standard precautions for discussing corporate business.)

Anyway, given that this separation of work and other identity is so well established within Google (and within corporate culture generally) it seems very obvious to take the next step of agreeing that other parts of one's identity might be segmented too!

Date: 2011-10-14 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
It would make sense for Google to make sure it is styled differently at this point, if they haven't already, I suppose. They seem to have decided that Yegge's post is basically recruitment material ("look at our robust internal debate") but it seems from eg In the Plex (and just plain old SEC regulations) that if he'd leaked financials that way it would have gone badly for him.

Date: 2011-10-15 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] alexbayleaf
Correct. When I worked there, I ran internal Google stuff in Chrome, and personal stuff in Firefox, to keep them very separate. Google employees on public G+ are there using their public, non-google.com GMail accounts (i.e. when I was in that situation, I used skud@google.com behind the firewall in Chrome, and first.last@gmail.com outside the firewall in Firefox).


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