Google’s Not Evil (Yet) with the Social Graph

Sara Holoubek has a good writeup today on the latest with Google’s social graph API in DM News. She writes at the end:

Assuming that we do solve the technical ability to fairly map the
social graph, marketers will be waiting in the wings to append a set of
names with this connection data (who, what, how, when, why). Marketers
will, however, need to rely upon the techies to get there, and given
the backlash from the Facebook Beacon introduction, my guess is that we
will all be a little gun shy.

There’s a crucial difference, so far, between what Facebook has done and what Google’s doing (a difference I’m sure Sara appreciates, but these blasted columns can only go into so much detail).

Facebook is letting marketers turn consumers into corporate mascots without the consumers’ knowledge or consent.

Google is offering a way for marketers, publishers, and anyone else to build new applications allowing people to connect with each other.

Marketers can use Facebook for more benevolent means, but they need guidance making sure they’re adding value for their target audience rather than simply using their, well, users.

I’m also sure Google will find ways to empower marketers to do evil as well, or marketers will find ways to do evil with Google’s API anyway, but as of now, evildoing’s not an inherent part of the system.