Google Just Stole Diaspora’s Thunder

There was a great New York tech moment back in 2010, when one of Facebook’s many privacy backlashes allowed a group of hackers from NYU to raise more than $200,000 on Kickstarter to build an open, distributed social network.

At the time Diaspora’s plan to build a platform where users could control their own data, and take it with them if they wanted to leave, was unique and appealing in contrast to Facebook.

Now Google+, which has massive resources and a built in user base of hundreds of millions is offering the same thing via Google+ checkout.

And as John Henshaw points out over at the Raven Blog, Google+’s main features, Circles, looks very similar to Diaspora’s central feature, Aspects. Both are aimed at making it easier to manage private and public sharing of social data.

Diaspora New Post Form

Google+ New Post Form


For Mr. Henshaw, the future of Diaspora is now in doubt. “Google took the best part of Diaspora and made it even better. Google’s version of Aspects provides a much more intuitive way to interact with your connections. The Stream list view of Circles and the new message interface are much more desirable than what Diaspora currently offers. Google+ also provides a lot more features than Diaspora – features whose only real competition is Facebook and Apple.”


  1. BirchWind says:

    With Diaspora, you aren’t an ad target. You are a person. You own all your info. You aren’t forced into ToS that include Real Name Only. You can use one of the MANY available pods to register on diaspora, no invite necessary. (list is here: , and another list here: ) I use, but regardless of the pod you use, they all interlink. I really hope Diaspora continues to go forward. I’d rather have a few less features, but keep integrity. As it is, there are new things being added to Diaspora, and chat is one of those things.