I am obviously ignorant in my belief:
privacy != Google obtaining and storing increasingly intimate personal data
Unfortunately the fashionable thing to do these days is to assume that everything will work out for the best on its own.
At least Google has aspirations of not being evil. Mark Zuckerberg only seems to aspire to eliminating privacy altogether.
I do find it amusing that the control of the web and computing by a handful of companies is now apparently ingrained in some people's heads as axiomatic, such that any apparent criticism of one oligarch is automatically a defense of the other.
FWIW: I dislike Facebook but I use it anyway because that's where everyone I know seems to be. If I could substitute it for another service that lets me more tightly control who sees what, then great.
Being entirely fair, Google is better about the whole privacy thing. This is undeniable: barring government requests and rogue sysadmins, only algorithms look at my data. It's plausible that an algorithm will remain impartial. Google just also has a lot more information about me already. I'm hesitant to hand over any more.
There is an alternative -- on the horizon, anyway -- that's all about privacy. You don't have to choose between privacy from your community and privacy from a faceless corporation.
The FreedomBox project -- http://www.freedomboxfoundation.org, inspired by Eben Moglen, who helped write the GPL -- aims to create a network where users own their own data. If you've used, say, Wikipedia or a site run on Linux, you know how projects based on his vision can work in time.
It's not ready here and now, but this community can help contribute to it.
One component to FreedomBox is to replace many current "cloud-based" services which gather and store personal data with peer-to-peer versions where you own your data on your FreedomBox.
Who in their right mind would use the social services of a company like this:
>"Google settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges of deceptive privacy practices related to Buzz and agreed to 20 years of audits."
a) don't know about the privacy issues, or
b) don't care, or
c) use it to promote their business (much like Pages on Facebook.)
But that is assuming that google does not pass it off also, which im not quite sure of
Yes, it is correct that google harvests your information to feed you more targeted ads. But it doesn't mean that if a startup, started initially as a "do no evil" company becomes as big as google or facebook won't do the same(targeted ads).
Since all these services are free to use, easiest or maybe only possible way to make profit off them is by advertising. Since nothing comes for free, you will pay for the service by sharing your personal information. Which in turn means onus lies on you to see what is it that you want to share.
I suspect that the New York Times would be more circumspect in their use of the word "privacy" and not employ it in such a narrow sense in their headline.
To put it another way, I agree with your argument regarding the relationship between free services and advertising. The lack of journalism in the article is more unusual, which given the huge changes in what constitutes news over the past several years, is saying a lot.
Connect with The New York Times on Facebook.
If your friends "like" a Stack Exchange post but not Experts Exchange, isn't it obvious how this would help them filter out the bad ones?
If the answer is no, then any algorithm that takes into account collective searches and 'likes' will ignore them because they wouldn't fit within the cluster of people relevant to that search term.
> What about Apple?
Steve Jobs: Just change your friends and family. Not that big of a deal.
After this announcement I'm not sure if I should continue working on my project...
But I understand what point you're trying to make. This will get used, but I don't see it becoming a true Facebook rival because of the network effect Facebook relies on. If users were to migrate in masses, on the other hand, Facebook would be dead within a short amount of time. Sadly, that's not going to happen anytime soon.
Friendster fought against MySpace et al, and still lost ground because of its poor architecture.
Facebook being 4th generation social networking won't fail because of poor architecture, nor because of poor UI.
It may fail due to privacy concerns though since its leadership seems fanatical about reducing restrictions to information, rather than allowing its users to segment themselves.
Care to illucidate us?