“Social circles are an approach to privacy user experience that takes us a step closer to the main point of social networking: To let the user have control of her social fabric in order to leverage the most from social and data effects. Ultimately the design of social interfaces should help users to communicate more effectively, be less misunderstood and increase tolerance while protecting the user’s privacy and personal situation- whatever that may be (defined by them, not the system).
If you are involved in designing a compelling customer experience with social media, social networking site or app or social software, you should pay close attention to the approach of the social circle. One of the proven benefits of conducting field studies is to extract real-world social phenomenon and accommodate for it in your interface and user experience strategy.
Google’s Social Circles if anything opens up the conversation toward what might be a better social networking user experience. It’s also a potential signal from a major player with a lackluster track record in privacy, that privacy does matter to user adoption, as a CNET analyst noted.”