Google exec says Facebook overshares

@CNNMoneyTech October 19, 2011: 6:57 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney) -- Google's head of social had some sharp words for Facebook while speaking Wednesday at a tech conference, where Google co-founder Sergey Brin also showed up as a surprise guest.

Vic Gundotra, Google's top executive for social products, and Brin talked mostly about the company's Google+ social network during a discussion at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.

"We want to do social in a way that is more like real life," Gundotra said. "So I think you're going to see us taking a very privacy-centered approach."

Conference moderator John Battelle asked Gundotra what he thought of "the open social graph" -- that is, Facebook.

"There is a reason why every thought in your head doesn't come out of your mouth," Gundotra replied. "We do not believe in oversharing. We think curation matters."

Brin called himself "not a very social person," but -- shocker! -- "Google+ I instantly found compelling."

Brin talked up Google+'s "Circles" feature, in which the network's 40 million users can put their connections into different groups and choose with whom they'll share their activity.

"At first I found Circles complicated, but now I love them," Brin said.

But not everyone loves Google+. Battelle asked about a leaked memo, posted in Google+ itself, in which company engineer Steve Yegge accidentally posted public complaints about the social network and how it was launched -- and Google's management style.

"I mean, we never like to see that," Gundotra said. "But it gave people a view of what we do internally. Within the Google family, we are very honest. And critical about our efforts."

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) didn't fire Yegge, Gundotra said, adding that the company took the attitude that "the outside world got a peek at what it's like to work at Google."

Brin stayed mostly quiet on the subject. "I didn't make it past the first 1,000 pages myself," he laughed.

Brin's new role: Brin, who stepped down from his role as Google president in January and is now simply "co-founder," said he's been happy in his new spot and enjoys the chance to explore "more technical work."

Brin acknowledged that some of Google's "products and services can seem scattered brandwise. But we've always run the company as 'let a thousand flowers bloom.' But once [they] do bloom, you want to put together a coherent bouquet."

An audience member asked whether Google's strategy will change if and when the Motorola Mobility (MMI) acquisition goes through, but Brin ducked the question, deckling to comment while regulatory approval of the deal is still pending. To top of page

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