Google Plus has been controversial right from the beginning, and it might continue to be for as long as Google whips up policies that might be too hard to accept for many people.
They were disliked when they decided that every Google+ user had to use his or her real name, raising concerns about online privacy, and impersonation at the same time. This time around, Google+ seems to be promoting certain individuals and asking Google+ users to add them to their circles. Twitter does this in the form of sponsored and suggested user list is perceived to be less intrusive and offensive. Robert Scoble, a long time fan of Google+ who has been talking about its advantages right from the beginning did not seem to agree with the idea of Google suggesting that he should add Paris Hilton to his circles. He mentioned that it would be a ‘conflict of interest’ if he added certain people, just because Google+ asked him to do so.
Google+ VP of Product Bradley Horowitz announced the feature on Friday and it immediately drew a lot of criticism especially from the likes who use social media a lot. While Google+ did not seem like a very happening place anyway in spite of all the attention showered to it, it is quite surprising why people have been reacting so negatively about the suggested user list. Some have gone ahead to claim that the move is somehow racist. Controversial, the decision maybe but Google is not forcing anyone to add the people it suggests.
The keyword here is ‘suggest’ and if one thinks the people suggested by Google/Google+ do not match with their tastes, or would cause a ‘conflict of interest’ they always have the freedom and choice not to add them to circles. Even in Twitter, not everyone adds every Tweep that twitter asks them to follow. There are certain realities in Internet business, and that includes revenue and sponsoring. Google+, just like Twitter or any other social media company would need to earn money through its website, and if it decides to get celebrities to pay to be on the ‘sponsored list’, it does not seem like a major misdemeanour to me.