Google plus turns off its circle sharing…
Google+ recently decided to let go of its function of sharing Circles with other users. These Circles are similar to Twitter lists and Facebook groups, containing a list of followers in one’s Google+ account around a certain theme or context such as colleagues, teammates, or family members. Circles off-course continue to exist, but the sharing of these lists with others no longer does. So… who cares that Google Plus turns off circle sharing?
Circles originally were a novelty within the social media scene when Google+ announced them four years ago. The ability to create viable subsets of one’s users allowed significantly more precision and usability in managing one’s internal network. Circles were initially restricted to 250 members, though over time that limit grew to 500 members. The reasons seem to be multifaceted. Namely,
Further, there are privacy concerns involved, not necessarily because the names are confidential, but because these Circles might have originally been intended for personal use only. Thus, members within these lists might feel uneasy with their names included in a list given out to another party, in the same way it is poor business practice to share one’s email list with other companies without their permission. As a replacement for Circle sharing is Collections sharing — a feature introduced recently by Google+. Collections sharing differs from Circle sharing in that it is content that is shared, not user lists. This provides a greater context for the participation of each member in a particular collection, as well as provides a starting point for further discussion for new users introduced to the Collections. That is what their data tells them. Google+ is still struggling to find not just its own personality in the social media space, but its own relevance.
Last year, there were major shakeups involving divesting Google+ integration from a wide variety of Google online offerings including YouTube after widespread commotion cropped up about obligating users to participate in Google’s social media service. In addition, there have been a wide variety of corporate shakeups within Google, with the star team involved in Google+ being transitioned to other Web development streams within Google. This all comes within a context of an Internet that is rapidly evolving into one that many would say is unrecognizable compared to even a few years ago.
As of this writing, Google hasn’t officially stated why it turned off sharing of circles. In addition, the new Collections feature has yet to be tested in the real world in terms of its viability. However, one thing is clear. Google has not abandoned its social media presence, and is fully committed to persistently exploring, experimenting, and innovating its place in the field, with the intention of providing a viable, relevant alternative to options that currently exist.