Although Google+ has been greatly lauded for tackling (and side-stepping) certain privacy issues that have plagued Facebook for the eons it’s been since its 2004 inception, what is actually being referred to here is a revolution of social networking heads of state. More specifically, the fact that Larry Page, Vic Gundotra, and Sergey Brin, all three top-billing execs at Google, and numbers two, three, and four, respectively, on the Google+ rankings, have upped their privacy settings by concealing the number of people they have in Circles (friends) and the number of people that follow them. By concealing the numbers, they’ve lost their place on the rankings.
No one is thinking this is a coincidence, most especially because Google+’s most popular user, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, had the idea to change his Google+ account’s privacy settings at the exact same time and in the exact same way as the Google captains. There’s no official word about what prompted the apparently unified front to act as it did, or how Zuckerberg benefits from relinquishing a prized number one spot on his big competitor’s network. Nathan Olivarez-Giles, who covers the Los Angeles Times’ tech beat, is positing that the privacy revival at Google+ might be Google’s attempt to bring “content and interaction” into focus instead of “popularity,” which in some ways is at the very heart of Facebook. But his theory still doesn’t explain Zuckerberg’s involvement.
As things stand, the new number one is the technology writer Robert Scoble. (The new number five is Tom Anderson).