Google+ minus Linus Torvalds

New Google+ Events feature sends the father of Linux packing

It must be nice to be someone everyone wants to invite to their party. Apparently it's not so nice when everyone can actually invite you. Just ask Linus Torvalds.

One of the gee-whiz moments of the Google I/O conference in San Francisco this week was the launch of Google's new Events capability, which integrates Google+, Calendar, image slideshows, and Hangouts to create a flexible invitation system for event organizers of all sizes.

Events is a very cool feature, one of which Google executive Vic Gundotra is justly proud. But Events is social with a capital "S" -- and a cape. It allows anyone to invite anyone to anything. That means anyone in your circles or who you can identify on Google+ can be added to your invitation, and they will receive it via Gmail, on their Google Calendar, and on their Google+ timeline.

While there are ways to change the default settings to stop the emails and the calendar updates, the postings to the timeline are mandatory. If you're someone like Linus Torvalds, with huge numbers of people hanging on your every word and treating you as if you're their best friend, it has a sting in the tail.

From the moment the capability was turned on, well-known figures on Google+ were deluged with event invitations from people trying out the new capability. With no way to control which invitations are actually displayed on the timeline, users like Torvalds found that the Event invitations became their dominant form of communication on Google+.

Torvalds' solution? Quit Google+. I have a hunch that chasing away Linus Torvalds was not the outcome Google had wanted.

This story, "Google+ minus Linus Torvalds," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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