Posts and google indexing

A group of geeks (of which I am part) is starting an initiative to educate public on privacy and the web (with an emphasis on mobile phones).
Last night we had a public meeting at a libertarian circle in Verona, and I was asked to do a brief presentation of diaspora*. I created a temporary user on an open pod and demonstrated few concepts and ideas.
I was asked the question in the subject:
Are diaspora*'s posts indexed by google?
I did not have an answer. Would you have one, so that I can report this back to our team and the interested public?
Many thanks in advance!

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Hi and thank you for spreading the word about diaspora*!

First (but it had to be precised), limited posts (== posts published in one or more aspects, limiting their visibility to a precise group of persons) are of course not indexed as they are not public. So the first best answer to your question is, if you are sharing something you don’t want to be found, you should not share it publicly, and diaspora* allows you to do that.

For public posts, it depends of the settings the podmin is using. Search engines indexation is managed by the Robots.txt file. As you can see, the default diaspora* robots.txt of diaspora* is banning search engines from profile pages. However, every podmins have the power to change the robots.txt file of their pod and as public posts can be reshared, they can be displayed in someone’s profile on a pod where search engines are authorized. So we’re back to my first comment: if you don’t want your post to be indexed, publish it in aspects, not with the public visibility. Posting publicly clearly means “I’m fine with this being printed everywhere on the internet” as you don’t have control on that post anymore.

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I second what Fla said. And the fact that publicly posted content can be accessed by search engines if the podmin has enabled this in robots.txt is not a flaw; it’s to enable content to be widely available and discoverable on the web, which some users want, e.g. if they’re using their diaspora* account as a form of blog.

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Many thanks @flaburgan and @goob, very fast and exhaustive replies! I think I have an authoritative answer now. We are probably going to create our own pod once our server is up and running. I’ ll be showing up with technical questions at that stage, I am sure!
Thanks again

Great! and good luck with the pod. Visit the support section here if you hit any problems.

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Note that this default behavior still allows indexing of all public posts and they can be found in the search. Of course from there you can see who author is.

So in a nutshell - by default Diaspora allows indexing of user content but not their bios.

Hello, Elisa, and welcome. That question has already been answered in the comments above. To reiterate: public posts can be indexed by search engines (including, of course, Google). Some pods have set a request to search engines not to index anything from their pod, but others have allowed search engines to index public posts, because some users want that visibility.

Private content cannot be indexed, nor indeed seen by anyone who is not an intended recipient of that content.