Google blocks ex-employee’s “Social Circles” book over Google+ launch

Jul 13, 2011
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Google has blocked an ex-employee from releasing a book titled Social Circles, despite having previously approved the project, in what the company has admitted is a Google+ related decision. Paul Adams previously led Google's social research team in the UX department, but defected to Facebook after growing dissatisfied with how his strategic ideas were ignored by the search giant; while with Google, however, he wrote a Social Circles, a book translating social behavior research into lessons for designers and developers, and which Google has now rescinded permission to publish.

According to Adams, Google green-lighted the book back in June 2010, when the concept, title and cover-art - which consists of multiple overlapping circles - all pre-dated the "Emerald Sea" Google+ project. Following leaks regarding Emerald Sea in July 2010, however, Google backtracked and blocked Adams from publishing his book until after Google+ launched.

"I understood and respected their decision at the time" Adams says, "however, they continue to block it." That's despite none of the information in the book being based on confidential or proprietary research by Google, and anything referenced from the company being already in the public domain.

"The goal of the book was simple: to take the complex body of academic research about social behavior, and make it accessible to the many designers, developers and marketers who need to know this stuff. The industry needed this book. You might say I’m trying to organize some of the worlds information and make it universally accessible. The irony that Google is blocking this endeavor is not lost on me" Paul Adams

Adams is now writing a new book, called Grouped, about how small user-groups can shape social web influence. There's no word on when - or even if - Google will grant permission to publish Social Circles (the listing for which has been yanked from Amazon) though we've a feeling it won't come until Google+ has finished grabbing headlines during its rollout.


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