I guess I’ll get the useful stuff out the way first:
Add this to your Adblock custom filter list and all those silly ‘+1’ buttons on Google search results will go away.
Why would I not want to participate in Google’s glorious new social networking system?
They’ve tried and failed before, and I enjoy having a firewall between my email and goofy social crap.
If I had known that my Gmail login would become such an important part of my online identity, I would have chosen a better name. When I started, I thought “oh, I’ll just get a Gmail account and redirect my mail there”. I have mail for all the various domains I use pointing to Gmail and it’s fine. But now this goofy username I picked is becoming public facing, and becoming “my identity”. I don’t want that. Or at the very least, let me change my username to something actually representative of me.
If I file a bug on Google Code, my goofy Gmail username ends up being used. If I sign up for a Google Group, my goofy Gmail username gets the mail. I don’t want this.
Then along comes Buzz and Wave and Docs and in order to use any of those services, I have to… tell people my Google username, despite it being arbitrary and not something I want people to know about. Yet I have this nice email address - firstname.lastname@example.org - why can’t I just use that everywhere instead?
Unless I can change my Google username to something more suitable, I don’t participate in services that require me to use that username.
But there’s more. I don’t participate in Google social crap because I want to keep a firewall between public and private.
Social networks like Twitter and Facebook and my blog: that’s all public. I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that you should expect no privacy. I’m happy living in that world. If the complete contents of my Facebook account were published in the New York Times, there wouldn’t be anything that would actually damage me other than that I’m boring. I don’t put lots of personal or emotional crap on these sites because even when Facebook tells me that something isn’t public, it is a good assumption to act as if it one day could be.
If I want to share something with my friends, I put it on the public-facing web. Stand back, I know HTML! (And MediaWiki markup!)
E-mail is that little zone of private left. When I’m in e-mail mode, I’m in grown-up mode. I don’t want my e-mail dealings to be used to bootstrap some crap new Facebook thing. Despite this, they already have numerous times. First with Google Talk (which I’m okay with and do use), then with Google Reader’s social features (which you can turn off, thankfully), then with Buzz (which I opted out of almost immediately because… it’s shit). And despite all this, Google still wants to take my goddamn email and bootstrap a bloody social network off the back of it. No thanks, fuck off.
What have I gained from Google’s repeated attempts to try and make my life more social? Absolutely nothing. I want nothing more to do with it. I want to opt-out of any future Google related “social” things. I’d also quite like to change my Gmail username without having to transfer gigs of email.
I don’t want to “like” things or “+1” things or “share” things. I already like things using this thing called a brain, and I already share things by posting them on my blog.
If, like me, you enjoy having a clean separation between private and public, tell Google+ no thanks, fuck off. And before anyone asks whether I’ve tried it: no. I don’t need to try it to know that it’s something I don’t want. If someone had started making toasters that hook up to an iPhone to operate, and sync your personal browning knob control settings to iTunes or the iCloud, I wouldn’t have to try one to know I’m not interested. Anything Google and social, I’m not interested: no thanks, fuck off. That is all.