Thursday, August 19, 2010

Google warning about social use of media

And on a personal note - it's good to see the contribution of @suw to this article!

Amplify’d from
Eric Schmidt

Young people may one day have to change their names in order to escape their previous online activity, Google boss Eric Schmidt has warned.

Google has acquired Slide and Jambool, two firms specialising in providing services for social networks.

Many believe the acquisitions are a sign that the search giant is about to launch another social network. Some commentators have already given the rumoured product a name:

It already owns two other social networks; Google Buzz, launched in February 2010 and its first foray known as Orkut.

Mr Schmidt told the Wall Street Journal he feared they did not understand the consequences of having so much personal information about them online.

The firm has been busy bolstering its social networking presence recently.

On his prediction that people may change their names, Mr Schmidt said: "I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time... I mean we really have to think about these things as a society."

But, according to some experts, his concerns about the future are "overstated".

"The idea that everything is stored online is not true," social media consultant Suw Charman-Anderson told BBC News.

"It will be quite some time before that can become true because of the enormity of the internet."

Archives such as Google Cache, which store older versions of websites, are selective, she added.

"Google Cache is a snapshot taken periodically of some of the internet. It's very hit and miss at the moment."

While companies specialising in "cleaning up" internet profiles already exist, Ms Charman-Anderson argued that social attitudes towards personal content on the web needed to change instead.


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