An Openbook to Your Facebook Status

Website rounds up public information

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, May 17, 2010  |  Updated 1:35 PM PDT
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Gone are the days that you'll hear reminders about who can see your "private" thoughts, we've moved on now, and bring to you the reason why you should keep those thoughts to yourself.

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We've been warning for a while: Be careful what you share on Facebook. Your boss, parents or mother-in-law might see what you really think about them.

But gone are the days that you'll hear reminders about who can see your "private" thoughts. We've moved on now, and bring to you the reason why you should keep those thoughts to yourself.

A few San Francisco programmers looking to demonstrate Facebook's lack of privacy came up with a way to search the status updates of the 400 million-plus Facebook users. It's simple, free and has an easy-to-remember name: Openbook.

Here's how it works. Simply type in a word or phrase and the tool searches the Facebookers' publicly available information and lays it all out, right there in a simple list, including each user's profile picture. Anybody can search -- no need to join the masses on the social networking giant.

For example, if you've had a wild night out and feel the need to let everyone to let everyone know you "woke up drunk," you'll be sharing that secret with anyone and everyone. And if you "don't want to be here," wherever that may be, it's open for all to see. It's actually pretty fun to type in a few different phrases and words to see what might come up. You might be surprised how many people recently "had a root canal."

Think of it as the Google of Facebook status updates.

The programmers haven't hacked or done anything wrong to gather the information for Openbook. They just used publicly available data from Facebook from people who have -- by choice or by accident -- left their data public.

It's hard to know which one is likely to become the bigger time waster, Facebook or Openbook, but one thing's for sure: It provides a rather scary reminder of what privacy really means in this day of uber-sharing.

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