Having a large number of friends — and not in the Facebook sense — I'm not surprised that I received several invitations to Google's new "social network", Google+. Instead of rushing headlong into it, though, I let those invitations rest for a while, while considering whether joining would actually do me any good.
I'm glad I was cautious. In almost no time, and with no effort on my part, I received enough off-putting, if unsurprising, news to decidedly make my mind.
Google+ terms of service and policy are as always geared towards the benefit and safety of Google, not my benefit and safety. They are explicitly sex-negative, even going so far as removing a specific exception for art nudes which was previously in place. They are chicken-hearted blanket statements meant to empower the company to arbitrarily disallow content on a case-by-case basis, which amounts to censorship. Cue the completely arbitrary ban of Anonymous. What does that remind me of? Oh, yeah…
Well, I'm not joining. I didn't resist joining Facebook for so long just to impulse-subscribe a service which is just the same, affected by just the same liabilities and involving just the same dangers. For the time being, I'll go on using the Status.net (specifically identi.ca) as my sole "social network" provider.
My connections — the real-life ones — are an asset to a company like Google, and what has Google done to merit me gifting them with my assets? My demands weren't that high either: just by doing nothing at all they'd have qualified as exceeding my expectations. But no, they censored content and people, instead.
I'm actually beginning to feel uncomfortable having my e-mail, blog and a couple in-development websites all hosted by Google: surrendering this much of myself to a company was a mistake. At the time, they looked like the safest of companies, but I was just young and naive: big business is big business, and in the end their friendly facade is crumbling and revealing the extent of the lie. I will go looking for alternatives. So, maybe I ought to thank Google+ for raising my awareness of the problem.