July 2, 2012 at 7:10 PM ET
It's a party! And parties are a good thing, right?
That's what the good folk at Google seem to think, and may be why they've built a feature into their new Google+ Events software called "Party Mode" that automatically uploads all photos taken at a party to the Internet.
On the face of it, it's a great idea. Everyone invited to a party through Google+ Events, or at least everyone with an Android phone and a Google+ account, can see all the smartphone photos being taken at the party, as they're being taken — and then all the photos can be collected in an online photo album for posterity.
However, as the B-52s warned, parties tend to go out of bounds, and people tend to do things at 2 a.m. Sunday they'd rather not remember at 10 a.m. Monday.
Would you really want your boss, your co-workers or your grandmother to jump onto Google+ and see you drunkenly making out with provocatively dressed strangers?
With Party Mode, it's all too easy for such embarrassing photos to end up online, as Androinica's Andrew Kameka noted in a blog posting July 2.
"I accepted a bunch of Google+ Event invitations the day it launched [last week], including the uber-popular one associated with the Google I/O after party," wrote Kameka.
"But the next day, I suddenly realized that Google+ keeps accepting photos until the time that event creator sets it to end," he said. "So if someone fails to exit party mode when leaving a party at 10:00 p.m., photos you take will continue to be added until the event closes at 11:00 p.m."
To be sure, Google+ has smartphone controls that can stop automatic uploading of photos, and also exit Party Mode.
"It's easy to turn off Party Mode at any time," notes the Google promotional video (shared below), which shows the same kind of smiling, pretty, multicultural twenty-somethings as appear in Apple and Facebook ads, right down to the upbeat indie-folk soundtrack.
However, everyone knows that when a party really starts raging, such cautions can be easily forgotten. That's how random pictures of the birthday boy in the closet with a girl — or boy — who's not his girlfriend are going to end up online.
"I've already seen a couple of guys taking some shirtless pics, and I can’t help but wonder if they intended to do that (possible that they did)," Kameka said.
"I'm definitely sure that another guy taking bathroom pics did not intend to share his junk with the world. (I sure as hell wish he didn't.)"
If you're going to Google+ Event that might get wild, play it safe: Take photos, but don't put your phone into Party Mode. Make sure your friends don't either.
Save the uploading for the next morning, when the clear light of day will tell you which images are fit for public consumption.
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