Google’s Social Media Critic “Paul Adams” Set To Join Facebook In 2011

December 22, 2010 0

Mountain View, California — In an ironic twist it seems that another Googler has ditched Google for Facebook, but this one may hurt a little more than the others. Paul Adams, one of search engine giant’s experienced researcher who, over the summer excoriated aspects of social networks in a popular slide deck, said today he will be heading to Facebook in the new year.

Adams, Google’s lead social researcher, who has an excellent grip on the type of social graph relationships Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is famous for, announced Monday evening via Twitter that he is leaving Google for Facebook. “After ~4 years in the awesome Google UX team it’s time for a change + I’m excited to be joining Facebook in the New Year,” he tweeted.

His report is said to have stimulated the Groups product, which launched earlier this fall after Facebook went into “Lockdown” to conclude it, said Inside Facebook, a tech website.

Nevertheless, the move which is reportedly considered as a setback for Google, however, shows Facebook’s reach across the web. In addition to a social project spearheaded by Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz, the team Google acquired from Slide also is starting work on an internally developed solution, InsideFacebook said.

Five months ago, Adams had released a report on the social network’s weaknesses, arguing that social network had not done enough to help people manage the distinct social groups in their lives.

Adams wrote:

“People have multiple facets of identity, there is not one profile that fits for all the people in their life. People appear differently to different audiences. They act one way with their family, they act another way in work, and they act another way with their best friends.”

Facebook at the time was occupied on its Groups product which allows users to chat with smaller groups of people that they know and can relate to, so whatever Adams did in his report must have given Facebook the ammo they needed to finish their software update (which they have now done). So it is not a surprise that they wanted to bring Adams over to their side.

He also discovered that people normally possess between four and six friend groups and only between two and six “close” friends. College friends do not necessarily mingle with work friends, who do not necessarily mix with a person’s family.

At Google, Adams worked on Buzz, YouTube, Latitude, and Gmail, and he also authored the forthcoming book, “Social Circles.” Before joining Google, Adams worked at Flow Interactive, where he was a user experience consultant. And rightly enough, some may also remember him from a highly influential slide presentation that he delivered at the Voices That Matter Web Design conference.

Adams, a senior user experience researcher at Google, released The Real Life Social Network, a 216-page slideshow that addressed the shortfalls of modern social media and privacy concerns in general (see below). The significance of his presentation is that while Facebook is great for sharing, its construct is that humans have one big social circle. Adams argued that people have multiple social circles and therefore need to have multiple privacy walls.

The Real Life Social Network v2:

In the presentation, Adams described that aim of his study meant questioning real people about how they use social networks, and he gave an example of a woman named Debbie who was a swim instructor and had friended a number of her students on Facebook. She also commented on other peoples’ pictures, such as suggestive photos from a rowdy bar. Adams said that halfway through the interview, Debbie suddenly realized that her students could see those pictures and was “angry with the system” for letting it happen.

Adams foretells that as the Web continues to evolve, users will need more than one profile and new social media will need to be designed with privacy as the main concern.