#Google+ Circles or TRUST and the IDENTITY CIRCLE – The Past Rehashed :)

July 11, 2011

in Digital Identity, innovation, Social Networks, Trust

I’ve been trying out Google+ and I like it. I like Circles and Hangouts (I’ll provide a separate post on Hangouts) the names even mean something to me. By referencing the notes below I draw one conclusion – yet to be proven re Google’s longer term intent. I’ve also added additional links worth reading at the end.

Zuckerberg and Facebook – you are in trouble! Why? Because “Circles” is a metaphor about trust and Google+ will keep growing as long as it provides a “higher order” of trust. I don’t think Facebook has the conceptual framework today embedded in “trust circles”. Twitter? Simply, Twitter isn’t interested in conversation – it is broadcast.

Circles is a metaphor I have used from before I first blogged it way back in March 2003.

What I wrote about Circles: In March 2003 in an initial blogpost called “Identity Circles” I wrote about trust and your identity and how we naturally share. I also put it in a context for a business model based on your “attention”.  The interest today in the economics of attention are still growing. I was also not alone writing about some of these issues then. Hat-tip to Doc Searls, Mitch Radcliffe, Eric Norlin, Ross Mayfield and many others.

I also wrote many posts at the time around Identity, social capital, trust circles.  So you will see below I have no issues or problems with the basic Circles metaphor. Fact is congratulations to Google+ for using the natural choice.  In playing with Google+ I also know we just didn’t have the technology or the standards in place then to make it all work or scale as fast as Google+ is apparently scaling today.

These are some quotes from my Identity Circle Blogpost. Its a great affirmation that what I wrote then still seems to apply and is potentially playing out right now….

IDENTITY CIRCLES: CIRCLES enrich and enhance life’s many connections. Whom you know has never been so important. Professional, Business, Community, Friends, creating circles of trust that you control. Now you can be more connected and share what and when you want. In CIRCLES you can discover a whole new range of connections, intersections where you connect for fun, influence, advice, learning. Today’s world is connected. Sometimes for fleeting moments or maybe for a lifetime. We move, we change addresses, our contacts change from year to year. Yet serendipity still strikes.

We meet friends in unexpected places, and find old work or college colleagues when we least expect them. CIRCLES let’s you grow and learn from whom you know. So together we travel many different circles and through many different roles. Collectively we learn we have a lot more to offer, when we don’t always know what we can do for each other. Cooperatively we learn together, individuals can create more value from their profiles that they can individually seeding them at many different destinations. There are valid reasons for public and commerical interests. Under Circles you control access.

I then went on to write about how it works. And introduced it like this.

So what’s different? Safe and secure in your circle, you are part of a many circles environment that makes up, many trusted circles. CIRCLES guarantees your privacy and the privacy of your friends. Under Circles there is no more spam. The information is yours alone to share and trade as you wish. Circles is merely a commerical and public broker of information.

What’s interesting here is what I saw this morning in another chat although I’ve not checked it yet where there was reference to Google TOS seeking to represent you… more and more. Ie as your agent. I foresaw a P2P cloud at the time. Google now provides the cloud and the credentialing process.

I also predicted the rise of a Circles like address book, the chatting and talking to friends… and that fact that this must be mobile.  As a consequence you will never have to update your address book again. Some connections will also be temporary (eg Child’s sports team parent list). Circles makes these easy.

Within Circles, the Jabber IM solution (?) automatically lets you chat and talk to friends. You can send messages, share files or simply VOIP, while also enabling new conversations and searches to connect with friends of friends. Circles helps those important introductions. Similarly, Circles will keep you private if you don’t want unwelcome intrusions. You control the access to your profile. This becomes even more important as your profile becomes increasingly mobile with you.

If you want to read more about where this model was headed then…. These points may provide an illustration and thoughts from that time…. Perhaps the opportunity remains for Google to do the same today.

Circles approach is to create a cooperative connectivity system. Imagine the post, phone fax and e-mail service owned by you and me. First and foremost you serve your own information.  (Note this is even less farfetched today with webRTC solutions coming to browsers)

Circles simply provides the enabling and verification service for public and commercial access, those not in your friends list, and all commercial contacts…. Correspondingly your employer may open and verify an employee account. (How Google introduces “Business” / “Commerce” will be telling. How will they broker my access? What will I get for it?)…. When you activate your CIRCLES account you join our cooperative and are paid for your attention dependent on the commercial and pubic content consumed….  That way Circles earns it’s transaction fee (Visa) on each delivery. That is the economics of attention. The sender pays, not the receiver.

Similarly, small commercial transactions (eg the plumber, lawnmower, acccountant etc) may request to sign and leave a commercial greeting card. (Think Ryze guest book) Your rating and reference will then be available for other friends etc in the neighborhood. (Xpertweb??)

Some Benefits:

  • Only you control access to your information.
  • Circles brokers introductions and eases personal, social, business and professional exchanges.
  • Circles creates a valuable economic asset, that grows with the collective value of shared information assets in the community.
  • Circles aims to connect everyone on earth digitally, just like the original post and telephone, but this time for free.

In another post Identity Trust Circles (Unbound Spiral) I wrote:

Consumers you and me think about trust not contractually rather they think in CIRCLES. In circles we are safe and secure. For example MyCircle, OurCircle, TheirCircle. “TRUST CIRCLES”.

This is important because the my/your/their definition leaves out the aggregation power of “OurCircles”. It also forgets the vast number of “CIRCLES” we move in:

1) my circle of friends
2) different social circles (neighborhood, community, friends, etc.)
3) business circles (colleagues, mentors, suppliers, industry, professional, etc.)

This is used in many more ways from “reading circles”, to running round n round in circles, and circles round the campfire. Yet CIRCLES is the better metaphor. For what we want are new capabilities that expand consumer’s “circles of influence”. For once the internet can do what it was designed to do and I might add already does very well for those that use it….

“Expand your Circles”. professionally, financially and socially. The disruptive revolution is now in the wings. It’s more than matching, it is about creating environments where you can learn and grow from whom you know and the transactions you have completed. Collectively and individually we move in many different CIRCLES and that’s where the real value opportunities are to be created when we discover we “collectively” have a lot more to offer, even when we can’t possibly know what we can do for each other.

See also:
Like it or Not: Great comments
Or this example where Kevin Rose points his blog to Google+. Why, because he gets more comments than he would otherwise.

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