...Apart from thinking that Facebook like cigarette co's should have a Govt. health warning words to the effect of 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, unless we decide to change our TOS's and use that information we now have on you'; I think it's ironic that the overwhelming majority of people commenting on tech publications like TC are negative on Facebook and ambivalent at worst on Google. This seems to be increasingly at odds with the publications themselves who seem to me at least to slant in the opposite direction. Is the rising prevalence of FB Connect pure coincidence?
Perhaps Facebook are playing neatly into Google's hand, because when push comes to shove the deal was we built our 'private' digital identity on Facebook's free platform in return for having adverts adjacent to our data. The subsequent and abhorrent 'opt out' rape of our privacy and implied ransom of our own data by Facebook's lack of an export function, has done nothing to create any brand loyalty and it seems to me Google has the aesthetic higher moral ground with the all important users. Should they overcome the simplicity, style, integrity, portability, longevity and privacy issues in a new social product under wraps or support/ invest in another start up version, I think the latent bad feeling Facebook seems so complacent about, could be catastrophic.
A persons' digital identity is their currency not Facebook's or Google's or any other providers either. Continued reliance on a business model or political ideology which trys to sustain a value out of ransoming that asset is both morally suspect in my view and simply not logical in the long term. The old adage that if you love people set them free, rings bells with me especially and I've been saying for some time (see blogs) that if each individual controlled their own digital identity, got paid for the ads on their pages and on a user-generated basis chose what categories those adverts should be to suit their social graph and to ensure maximum relevance, then noone would have to rape your privacy to achieve that by stealth and under the spurious excuse of 'failing forward fast'. Everyone would share freely and the social graph would be trustworthy and free in the spirit of the internet. I also think a platform provider like Facebook would increase revenues tenfold and the Kirkpatrick assertions of altruism might start to be believable. Everything else is just further evidence to the contrary.
If I were Facebook and not forsaking the above, I would really question the Microsoft like approach to its corporate reputation. Even at its most greedy or arrogant, the prospect of Linux or Apple for most people was too much of a hurdle, but in Facebook's case, if a viable alternative arrives, Google or otherwise, you're really only talking about a refresh of your contact lists somewhere else. I keep a note of all my email addresses anyway, but if you don't, then as sites like Foursquare etc. demonstrate, the people most keen on communciating with you socially, will follow you werever you go.
I'm not frightened of sharing stuff and would love to embrace the social graph more freely. But it's my stuff and if anyone is going to make money from it, it's me. Likewise, it's noone's place but a parents to decide what private information their child, may have uploaded to the internet based on one set of privacy principles, should or should not be shared without notice by the host to that information. If you as the host abuse that trust then I look at you as I would any abuser, with a certain contempt and anger. If you don't understand that, then you really need to learn to, if you want me to respect you or your brand because in the abscence of that I just assume you don't care and certainly won't encourage my child anywhere near your platform.
If you genuinely just want the world to be more friendly and connected and that is your core philosophy, I guess it's time to prove it. Don't hold my digital identity and social graph to ransom, whoever you are! It's mine, not yours...and always will be!