A recent presentation by a Google researcher called “The Real Life Social Network”, has been making news for quite sometime now. The hidden meaning of this presentation is deduced to be the next big plan of Google’s business ventures.

The presentation focuses on problems users face being members of social networking sites like Facebook. The researcher noticed that majority of people do not have a single group of friends but four to six groups of friends, including not more than 10 in each group. Apart from these friends all the others are just casual friends. The problem which lurks in the minds of most of them is something private in one group should not flow over to another one, because all the groups are residing at one place itself or so as to say at one site itself.

Brief details of the presentation

This presentation showcased the problem areas or loopholes in Facebook. The researcher found that members usually have four to six different small groups rather than one large group. These groups are mainly of school friends, college friends, work friends, relatives and colleagues. Of these groups only few people form the inner circle of friends rest are just casual friends.

The problem in this format is that when a friend posts something intimate on your wall, then all the others can see the same post. Thus, combination of different groups into one single group is a concerning matter in minds of many users.

For example if a school friend reveals some school secret about you on the site, your office colleagues can also know about it, which many of us may not appreciate.

The presentation also points towards the rising apprehensions of privacy standards adopted by Facebook and Google Buzz networking feature. It is seen that users do care about their personal privacy but often overlook its importance when posting something online or may be on a friend’s page. They take the enormity of the audiences, for granted. This can be termed as a form of privacy violation.

The researcher in his presentation condemns Google’s chat feature too, which is similar to other social networking sites, combining all the groups into a single large group.

Probable rationale behind the presentation

Many industry experts believe that this presentation may pave way for Google’s new social networking product. The presentation essentially points out the problem areas in social networking giant- Facebook’s application. The war between Google and Facebook in terms of their viewers has been a talk of the town for quite sometime now. Some excerpts from the presentation point towards an impending rivalry between Facebook and Google’s new plan of action, some of them are; “the word friends is unhelpful” and “If you give someone’s information more exposure than they expect, you may be violating that person’s sense of privacy”.

No confirmations from the horse’s mouth

Google has said that this presentation was part of routine analyses on the “industry trends and observations”. So there is no official confirmation from the company regarding an impending product launch but we all have sufficient evidence to believe the other way round.