Friday, November 09, 2007

Stealth Vs Block

One of my friends once complained about GTalk not having the invisible/stealth feature.
Me: But don’t you know Google doesn’t like us becoming over smart? If I don’t want my contacts to know I’m online, I better be offline. I can’t be extra smart by being invisible myself and being able to see others who are online.

He: That’s not fair, even I admit but what if I don’t want this particular guy who I’m sure will disturb me when I’m chatting with my girlfriend?

Me: Block him. And he will be temporarily out of your list. I think that’s ok. Later when you are done chatting with your girl friend you can go to the blocked list and unblock the poor guy. He won’t have a clue that you had blocked him. He will see you offline through out your girl friend chat session and when you unblock him he will see you coming online.

He: Oh it’s a pain to go to the blocked list and unblock the user

Me: I know. They could have kept the user on the list till you say delete. On GTalk you have to go to the settings and then click on the blocked tab to see the blocked list, select the user and unblock. But I don’t think it’s a big deal considering you won’t be doing it on a regular basis.

He: But finding my friend in a big list is again a pain. Have you seen my msn and yahoo blocked list? It has people more than my friends list.

Me: Ah but Gtalk will probably have only your friends in the blocked list if you don’t have the habit of accepting strangers’ requests

He: How come?

Me: Well this is what I call addressing the problem at the root level. In Gtalk you can’t send message to someone unless he/she accepts your request. So there is no way someone unknown can get into your block list unless you accept strangers’ and stalkers’ requests.

He: Oh well then I think it’s usable…

Me: Yes even I think it works.

He: So are you saying the Invisible feature is useless?

Me: I’m not saying the “Invisible to all” feature in Yahoo and MSN is not useful. It’s useful in its own way. It lets you have privacy in your own way. It allows you to be smart. But Google took this stand to keep their application light in features which makes it more usable. You know they have a similar kind of setting in Orkut too. If you don’t want other Orkut users to know that you have visited their profile, even you won’t know who all have visited your profile. Fair enough.
That’s why I said Google doesn’t like over smart people, nor do I :-)
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