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Google Won't Let Ex-Employee Release Book Called Social Circles

What follows is the awkward tale of Paul Adams’s (ex-UX Researcher guy at Google-turned-Facebook advertising product manager) Social Circles research book, which he wrote while working for Google. Research which contributed directly to Google+, particularly its friends groups.

Having joined Facebook in January some seven months before the launch of Google+, you can imagine he was both anticipating and dreading the launch of his pet project. Now describing the launch being like “bumping into an ex-girlfriend”, Adams’ obviously keen to finally launch his book – only trouble is, Google isn’t. Supposedly the big G gave Adams the thumb’s up in June last year, telling him to publish Social Circles – this was before he left Google, and before work on Google+ began. But since then, Google’s asked Adams to wait until after the launch before publishing the book – and now, they’re trying to block him from publishing his work at all.

Fair enough that a lot of workplaces have clauses written into employees’ contracts about any work done whilst on the payroll is owned by that employer, but you’d think a book about social-networking – a book which is practically a puff-piece for Google’s own service! – would be fully supported by them.

Adams has said that “the book contains no proprietary information, it is based almost entirely on research from 3rd parties (mostly universities) and any Google research referenced is already in the public domain”, so it’s not like he’s divulging secrets or anything.

Having written up a lengthy blog-post about the situation, Adams sums up that “the industry needed this book… the irony that Google is blocking this endeavour is not lost on me.” He is now working on a new book called Grouped, which he promises will be out soon. [Paul Adams via TechCrunch]

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