Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Google Plus Should Add Minus

Project Status: Feature Request

In Google Plus we can add circles which are allowed to view specific posts, but why can't we just as easily subtract circles. For example; if I want to share a post with my family and my friends but I don't want any of my coworkers to see it, even if they are also in my friends group.

Google Plus with Minus Circles
Of course there is a work-around for now. You can make new circles, in this case another circle which includes family and friends who are not coworkers. Who really wants to do that though and have to keep up with changing multiple groups each time one person changes. I would guess nobody wants to.

One key point of this feature to note is that typing -CircleName to hide a post from a group of people should always out weigh +CircleName. This means that anyone in a subtracted circle is unable to view the post no matter how many other circles are added in which they are also a member. The only way that an individual in a subtracted group may still view a post is if they are individually added back to it. For example; if Bob is my friend and my coworker when I post something for my friends minus my coworkers, Bob wouldn't see the post unless I also included +Bob. Adding + or - to one person should always override any group actions.

The part that people will worry about is when they edit their groups down the road and forget something from a long time ago, fearing that something once hidden now suddenly shows up to a person it was not intended for. First off; if they are worried about it that much they shouldn't be posting it on the internet in the first place. Second; Goolge Plus would need to account for this by automatically handling the situation while always allowing the person posting to have final say.

I think Google Plus should allow users to go back and edit the +/- viewer lists for any post at anytime. I also suggest the best way to handle this is by treating any post with a subtracted viewer group as a sensitive post. In which case the viewer group pool is locked once posted. Meaning anyone added to any of the + groups already attached to this post will not be added to the pool for this post unless the person posting specifically goes back and adds the new person to it. At the same time anyone placed into a subtracted group which is already marked on this post will not or will no longer be able to view the sensitive post.

Let's say that sometime down the road I add Sally, my long time friend, to my coworkers circle. As soon as I do this Sally will no longer see my post where I added my friends and subtracted my coworkers. If I move Timmy from my coworkers to my friends, he will still not be able to view this post because he was never in the original pool of friends given permission to view it.