Link Boxers: Google+, Picasa and Privacy

Wherein we wait for our Google and Facebook overlords to tell us what to do next. Hopefully, it involves slipping cold bottles of a nice pale ale while sitting on a lakeside dock somewhere.

Google+ for business… and Higher Ed?

By now, you know that Google has lauched Google+ as it hopes to truly lock horns with Facebook in the social media battles. And you may have even gotten into Google+ and played around a bit.  Now the question is, “how do we use it?”

While Google is asking universities, businesses and non-profits to stay away from Google+ for now –and even deleting non-authorized accounts it’s clear that won’t last forever.

Currently focused on consumers, the team behind Google+ is now dedicating time and innovation to creating a “similarly optimized business experience for Google+,” said Christian Oestlien, Google+’s advertising team lead, in a YouTube video.

The Ford Motor Corporation is the first non-individual to receive an official go-ahead and establish a presence on Google+. As of Monday evening (7/11/11), Ford was included in almost 3,000 Google+ circles.  Ford appears to be using Google+ as it does its Facebook page, offering contests, asking questions and providing a forum for users to talk about all things Ford.

Google+ for business is slated to roll out this fall but is currently accepting applications for business beta testers. Meanwhile, The Chronicle of Higher Education caught up with some professors to see how they might use Google+. Ideas include circles for different labs and class sections and the use of hangouts for online office hours.

Google Rebrands Blogger & Picasa

Mashable reports that Google will rebrand Blogger and Picasa as Google Blogs and Google Photos by the end of July — the same time Google+ is slated for a public launch.

A good guess for the exact date might be July 31 — the day Google+ will delete any beta user accounts currently set to private.

Other Google services will likely be rebranded to become more tightly aligned with the Google brand.  YouTube, however, will reportedly remain untouched.

Photo courtsey of hyku@flickr

Harvard on Social Media: Privacy, Schmivacy

From the birthplace of Facebook, comes a Facebook Scandal. No, you haven’t already seen this in The Social Network.

Harvard researchers are in trouble for purloining private data from the class of 2009 during 2006. About 1,700 records were involved, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. One researcher calls it a “sociologist’s wet-dream.” (There’s a vivid picture.)

It was supposed to be a sociological goldmine of data, but ethical privacy concerns have created a quagmire. The data was pulled from students’ profiles without their knowledge and shared with other scientists publicly. And that’s got other academics debating the nature of privacy in social networks and just what research can be released publicly. It’s the type of question sure to come up more and more as researchers try to tackle the trends of social media.