Eric Schmidt: If you can't use your real name, don't use Google+.

At the Edinburgh International TV Festival, NPR's Andy Carvin asks Google Exec. Chairman Eric Schmidt about privacy, nymwars, and Google+.

Andy (@acarvin) has done some innovative and valuable journalism on the Twitter platform this past year, retweeting, curating, and factchecking tweets from activists, reporters, and "regular people" on the street in popular uprisings throughout the Middle East. Many of those Twitter sources use nyms, because revealing their "real names" is a matter of life and death under despotic regimes such as the ones in Libya or Syria.

So with that experience in mind, Andy asked Eric how he justifies Google's apparent "real names or go home" stance, given that real identities could put people at risk?

He replied by saying that G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they're going to build future products that leverage that information.

Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It's obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn't use G+. Regarding countries like Iran and Syria, people there have no expectation of privacy anyway due to their government's own policies, which implies there's no point of even trying to have a service that allows pseudonyms.

He also said the internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.

Comment thread on Andy's G+ stream is here.

Google's Bradley Horowitz articulates a somewhat different view here, in an interview with Tim O'Reilly. From what I can tell, there is a diversity of opinion within Google, and even within the Google+ team, on how best to handle the admittedly complex matter of personal identity. It will be interesting to see how this develops.


  1. I think the long-term workaround will be for people to embrace plausible nyms and try to fly under their radar.

    1. Seriously. If all they’re doing is running it through an algorithm, then as far as I’m concerned all you’d need is the data from this page, an RNG number source, some way of procedurally generating fake documentation, and some programming skills.

      There. Enjoy your “real name” policy.

  2. Ghatsly, but unsurprising…guy’s been saying things like that for a while now. I don’t agree with him at all, and his logic is somewhat flawed, but at least he’s honest about what he thinks.

    That being said, I am on G+ (and Facebook) under a ‘nym. It’s not pKp, it’s a variation on my own name that anyone who knows me can recognize, and it vaguely looks like a real name so it hasn’t been blocked and probably won’t be. Could be a solution for some people, as@boingboing-30649c91c86ba5388e401109501718ff:disqus suggested above.

  3. So pretty much, their response to people pointing out that their “real names only” policy discriminates against marginalized people is “Fuck ’em, they don’t get to use it, we don’t care.” Classy, Google.

    Even accepting that, how do they justify the fact that it’s just a real-SOUNDING names policy that anyone could easily fool by making up a normal but still fake name? And what about the people who ARE using their real names, but getting their accounts blocked because they have a weird name, or a name that doesn’t conform to North American naming conventions?

    It’s a stupid, pointless, ineffective policy that benefits nobody and alienates and offends many, but apparently they’re going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming like 5-year olds for many more months before they’ll ever admit it.

  4. Or like Schmidt said, just don’t use Google+. It isn’t like there is any shortage of platforms to go to if you simply must use a moniker.

    1. How dare a voluntary entertainment website dictate terms and conditions. Side note: click here for quality J0rd@ns and U9g B00ts. Our reliability is our trademark.

  5. Eric Schmidt right now is the weakest part of Google’s current management team. He cares only about the profits, not about the product itself. He’s more in Sculley/Ballmer territory than Jobs/Gates territory. 

    A salesman, not a true leader.

  6. So, I assume G+ must have some way of dealing with people who have the same real name – it’s actually a pretty common occurrence.  So. . .  is there anything that would, in practice, stop everyone who wants to be anonymous from signing up as “Eric Schmidt”?

    1. So. . .  is there anything that would, in practice, stop everyone who wants to be anonymous from signing up as “Eric Schmidt”

      I know several other people whose real names are Eric Schmidt.

  7. I have a G+ under a pseud. Not this one. At this point the only reason I’m keeping it is because I’m not supposed to. Someone needs to explain to me the value of G+, because right now I’m not seeing it. Mostly it just seems like a Franken-app built from the ugly bits of Twitter, Facebook and Livejournal.

  8. He also said the internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person.

    It’s not that difficult to tell when a dog is using the internet.  If they’re not using a speech-to-text interface, their spelling is atrocious.

    1. Suddenly the standard of spelling in Youtube comments and the popularity of cat videos makes much more sense.

  9. Is Twitter shutting down, will people not be able to use pseudonyms there in the next developing nation’s revolution?

    I still don’t think Google is being unreasonable. Their website, their rules. It’s not like boingboing doesn’t impose rules on what can and cannot be posted on this site.

    1. I still don’t think Google is being unreasonable.

      Well, BoingBoing’s mission is to have a blog of interesting stuff that takes comments. G+’s is to be the method by which you interact with your social circle. Those are somewhat different goals, with somewhat different entailments.

      Google is most definitely acting unreasonably, unless “no obvious basis for a lawsuit” is now our definition of “reasonable.”

      1. Google is most definitely acting unreasonably…

        Because they’re willing to trade not catering to a fairly small number of people in compromising situations in exchange for a lot less spam and vitriol for everyone else does not mean they’re being unreasonable. They are not doing this to arbitrarily exclude people, they have simply chosen a different set of priorities than some other people would have. The problem is that “some other people” are not the ones paying to build and run Google+.

        1. If you really think that requiring that G+ names pass a computer algorithm screening for names that look like “real names” will result in “a lot less spam and vitriol”… well, the Internet has some surprises for you. (One hyphenated word: Elevator-gate.)

          In each instance that I know of where the nym policy has been a problem, the issue hasn’t been people in “compromising situations”; it’s been people with heavy investments in professional names that they do not want to abandon just because G+ has a hair up its ass. Do we really think that “Xeni Jardin” or “Molly Crabapple” are going to start sending out tons of spam because they are “hiding behind their nyms”?

          1. well, the Internet has some surprises for you. (One hyphenated word: Elevator-gate.)

            OK I did as you suggested and Elevator-gate is absolutely hilarious! At the time I write this there were 15,900,000 entries according to Google.

            No matter what your political affiliation and ideology is, you will be either horrified or
            delighted at least once.

          2. Give me an example of a post with the offending HTML and I will investigate.

            Update 01:
            I tried editing some of my posts and the only additional HTML I found, was I assume added by the blogging software that you control.
            It looks like Paged Media for CSS to me. See

            The only HTML I enter is blockquote see

            Seems to render fine in Opera and Chrome (which I use for this site). I am going to see how this page renders with a couple of different OS/Browser combos. Back in a few.
            OK back. This page renders fine on:
            – Mac OS X 10.5.8/Firefox 6 and Safari 5.0.6
            – Windows Vista / IE9
            – Ubuntu 11.04 / Chrome 12 and Opera 11.5
            Give me an example of the “bizarre” HTML you are seeing please. Is it an actual tag?

            Update 02:
            I checked the Disqus documentation and the only HTML tags allowed in comments are here:
            So what should happen is everything else should fail to render. That also implies that the CSS I saw (and which I most certainly did not manually add to the comment) should not affect it. For example this is what I found in a couple of posts:

            @page { margin: 2cm }
            P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm }
            A:link { so-language: zxx }

            This should, I assume be ignored. I am also assuming that this is a bug with Disqus.

            Update 03:
            You could try disabling the offending HTML by adding the offending HTML tags to your Restricted Words list. I would be a little bit afraid to add CSS to the restricted words though See:

            How do I moderate HTML in comments?

          3. Odd. Your comments are the only ones that generate code that isn’t deliberately typed in by the commenter. I haven’t found a single other comment like that. If it’s happening automatically, I’ll just ignore it. Sometimes people try to create special effects, which end up causing issues. It looked like you were trying to override our styles.

          4. Interesting. 

            Well this version of Chrome is outdated (Ver 12) So I am going to update it to Ver 13 right now.I do not think this is the issue though. A thought just struck me. Back in a few. I am going to upgrade and see if I can re-create the issue.

            OK… I believe I have re-created the issue. see below. So what is happening is if I cut and paste from a web site to OfficeLibre it helpfully inserts CSS code which it does not display. I then cut and past from OfficeLibre and it helpfully includes the CSS which I was unaware of. Now that I have figured it out it should not happen again.

            Edit: Should be LibreOffice actually. Engrish! you MF… Do you speak it? Oh and BTW… thanks for bringing this to my attention

          5. I don’t use MS Word a whole lot any more, but when I did I used to cut-and-paste to an ascii text editor, then cut-and-paste to the final destination, just to avoid this kind of thing.  MS Word would add tons of span tags around everything for no apparent reason, and often multiple span tags around nothing (opened, then immediately closed).  It made me wonder at the weird, arcane processes that must be employed by Word to convert to HTML.

            It’s a shame that LibreOffice / OpenOffice seems to exhibit a similar type of behavior!

          6. By the way, using a text editor in between source and destination can be avoided on Chromium/Chrome by pasting with Ctrl-Shift-V – it will paste without the formatting. Don’t know about other browsers/softwares.

          7. Sebastien and nosehat,

            The problem with old farts like me I suppose, is that we got too accustomed to banging out each bit by hand, so sometimes this new fangled automagical stuff can trip us up quite nicely. 

            In any event Ctrl-Shift-V is also the “Paste Special” function in LibreOffice and a few other editors, so in this case, the problem was really between the seat and keyboard.

            Now I could claim in my defense that Discus is a steaming pile of crap that I have had issues with in the past, and thus it was perfectly natural to blame it, except that I have had even more experience with various text editors, and it should have been obvious from the start.

            In any event, the lesson is clear, if your basic premise is skewed, you are going to be off the mark whatever direction you take.

          8. The 15,900,000 results for the string “elevator-gate” are almost entirely about elevators and gates, not the Watson/Dawkins kerfuffle. Searching one word “elevatorgate” gives a more accurate result.

    2. if u  have a company as big as google u have certain ethical responsibilities if u ask me. its clear to me this is a discriminatory business practice since people with “odd” names according to google will just get deleted. its absurd. people have a right for speech and self expression, and if that entails a alias google shouldn’t stop them.

      1. You have no right to free speech on google.  In fact you have very few rights in regards to google unless you pay them for a service or have signed a service contract with them.  

    3. It’s just more proof that Google is run by the CIA.  They are in your email, your search history and they want to pinpoint YOU via G+

      Sad thing is many people will never catch on…

    4. I disagree entirely.  They’re not doing anything illegal in that it’s their website and they can set any rules they want.  But the rules they’re setting (quite legally and legitimately) are definitely unreasonable.

      Look at it this way – if they made the rule that you could only make an account under your porn name (name of first pet + name of first street you lived on), your profile picture had to be a photo of your left ear, membership would be limited to people who mail a notarized copy of a valid restaurant license, along with proof of the facts making up their porn name, and that discussions of restaurant-related topics, pets, where you grew up, ears, and porn are all forbidden – would you think they were being “reasonable”?  Your defence of them would still be equally valid – it’s their website, so they can make the rules.

      1. I am not entirely sure that what they are doing is legal.

        Many localities have now very strong provisions for personal privacy and personald data retention, and sooner or later Google, and maybe even Facebook, will be dragged by a regulator to explain why they are violating local legislation (gut feeling is that the European Union sooner or later will have a look at this).

  10. Other Google execs more closely associated with the project seem to disagree. Bradley Horowitz said in a recent interview that it will be more inclusive as it matures:

    1. Perhaps that’s the intent… the “real names” insistence during rollout is to allow public figures to claim their own names before squatters do, and after that rollout period it will simply become “encouraged” without enforcement.

      On the other hand, I do want there to exist at least one major ID service that is trustworthy.  There are many reasons for anonymity on the web, but there is also social utility in having at least one space where your interactions are undertaken with the understanding that they will stick to you.

      1. the “real names” insistence during rollout is to allow public figures to claim their own names before squatters do

        Supremely ironic if true, because a great many public figures use adopted names that are not their real ones.

        1. And then there’s The Shat, who got in on G+ early… and then suffered a fraudulent fake profile report that kicked him off (he was soon reinstated). I imagine that William F****** Shatner was not amused.

  11. If you don’t use your real name, how will they monetize you?  Seriously, data mining a pseudonym might not be nearly a lucrative as data mining a legal name.

    1. Google’s current revenue stream indicates that they have no problem leveraging the anonymity of the internet.

  12. The thing about “plausible” names, doesn’t think only apply to anglo-european names? Do the G+ people even know what an authentic arabic/iranian/thai/welsh name looks like?

    What I’m saying is, we should just all join as Munchma Quchi

  13. If challenged, by Goggle+, just submit a badly doctored driver’s licence lifted from SuperBad .  Not a theory.  

    Can (or will) Goggle+ marshal the human resources needed to actually verify millions of ID’s?    Does that mean checking with governments and/or law enforcement?

  14. I’m sure I’m not providing any great insight if I point out that the key aspect to requiring “real” authentic names and identifying information to Google in Google+ is for Google to market that information.

    Just watching America’s politicians (and politicians everywhere) would indicate that providing real names doesn’t in any way relate to honest information and discourse. The reverse is often the case, with glorified posturing the norm. If only Schmidt would be as concerned about open and honest information from the U.S. Congress. Instead we’ve got a Federal Reserve that cannot be open because it would then supposedly be “politicized.” As if it isn’t down to its core because it isn’t open. Same for the now standard “super” committees that must deliberate national issues in secret because the public disclosure of their debate might hurt their political careers – rather than the lives of the vast majority of the nation’s citizens.

    The converse to Schmidt’s statement is that there’s nothing preventing anyone from using real ID information on the web so that when the eventual six or so remaining mega-corporations want to get info on you they can see how deeply devoted you are to Jesus and His values, omitting any indications of regular massage sessions with varied races, genders and species.

    1. It’s also handy as you can order a subpoena for around $25 and get full access to email, G+ info and other data from Google.  Or, if you are the government, you have 24/7 access all the time.  It’s just easier for the feds if you have a real name as opposed to a pesky fake name

  15. Do they ask for your birth certificate when you sign up?
    This is confusing – do they mean “pseudonym” as in : obviously fake name like “Coollove666NewWorldOrder”, or just not your real name, and how would they know that anyway?
    What happens to someone whose last name is Crapper, or X ?
    Makes no sense to me.

    1. Well, Google’s philosophy has always been that human judgement is old and ugly and smells like smelling, so it’s all done by some algorithm. At a minimum, they have a dictionary of names that are typically psueudonyms, and then just ban you to some degree or other once you use them.

      The way you get a human being to get involved, as far as I can tell, is that you know someone who works at Google who can wander over and chat with the Google+ team about it. (No guarantee of results.)

      This is, of course, exactly the way a grown-up company makes sophisticated, complex decisions about human-oriented processes.

      1. Thanks.
        So, if I sign up as “John Smithson” who is married and has 2 kids named Kaitlin and Tyler, employed as an executive working to implement marketing solutions for bettering the long term prospects of growth and positive change, it’ll work ?

  16. “Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.”Why, what a good suggestion. I’ll rank you down now, Eric Schmidt, since you’ve now shown yourself to be evil. Which I still could have done if you worked under a pseudonym, so you have no real point here actually.

  17. I’ve switched over to Diaspora because of Google’s obstinance and I really like it.  You can create an account at without an invitation.  

  18. It is possible that Google, without actually saying so, is trying to get people to realize that a proper pseudonym is one that doesn’t overtly telegraph it is one. I don’t think so, Google did not care on deployment day that people have different reasons for not using their real name, and from what I can tell from their actions, they still don’t care.

    Google’s body language broadcasts the idea that they’re running a social web site _business_ with designs on personal information real enough that it lets them connect the dots to your other endeavors elsewhere on the planet. Your use of a nym to help prevent anyone being able to connect the dots is obviously undesirable. But: I don’t think they need exact matches. Close matches should be all they need.

    It is certainly straightforward to create a real-enough looking pseudo for Google that achieves the goal of preventing anyone from connecting the dots and fooling Google. The thing is, the nym is only one component that can be used to identify someone. Another useful component is your list of connections/friends/followings. A good outfit (like Google) can tell who you are by looking at the spider silk used for your social web.

    1. They probably also compare IP addresses used to access their various services, so if you access your nym’d gmail account from the same machine you use to access your nym’d G+ account (or that you used for a google search)… oh, look, they match! Probably the same person!

  19. This will rapidly turn into a slippery slope if they were to force say Skeet Ulrich to use his birth name of Bryan Ray Trout.   I call shenanigans because if they allow celebrities and authors to use their pen names, then others should be able to as well.  It’s about product after all, people are a Social Network’s product.  

  20. anyone here remember how facebook exists or was started? 
    I am not at any more risk for being a real person using a web service than I am living life and introducing myself to real people.  actually I am more at risk in the latter. The guy on the street is more likely to harm me than the weirdo on the internet. If I want to make anonymous comments on something, there is a place for that.  I am certain that nobody on the interwebs will kill me. they will not ruin me because I give my real name.  If you want to live under the radar and hide your identity, then there are channels for that.  obviously G+ is not one of these channels.

    1. “The guy on the street is more likely to harm me than the weirdo on the internet.”

      You’re apparently not browsing the right part of the internet, or living in the right neighborhood. Probably both. 

      1. you assume too much.  I am far too familiar with bad neighborhoods.  However, maybe I am not browsing the “right” part of the internet.  Don’t I already have channels for my clandestine efforts, though?

        In the words of Eazy-E
        You Too, Boy, If Ya Fuck With Me
        The Police Are Gonna Hafta Come And Get Me.

      2. Then why do you?… if it is known by your such part will end in harming, then why?, @Adam503:disqus got quite the point, your argument though, doesn’t, also, let see if you can counter-argue this..

        +If you don’t use your real name, how will they monetize you?  Seriously, data mining a pseudonym might not be nearly a lucrative as data mining a legal name.+

        Anyone wanna try?… cus facebook has been way lucrative with this idea in-line, why can’t google?.

  21. “No one is forcing you to use it.”

    A bit like using Google as a search engine.

    How arrogant does that come across when you think of the future implications ?

    The truth is there is no privacy.

    A prime example is the millimeter wave scanners at the airports in the US. That particular tech has been around for years cloaked as classified military hardware. It’s only released in a bastardised form recently to make money. I say bastardised as it is capable of so much more than what is presented to the public.

    There is no privacy. Google are aware of this and whether you like it or not this is the way it is going.

    Of course there will be discontent. There always is.

    What you are getting a taste of now is something that will be considered commonplace in ten years.

    In twenty years you’ll look back and wonder how you could have been so primitive.

    In forty years you wont be able to associate with who you are now.

  22. Sounds pretty sensible to me.  The Internet is like an ecosystem, full of different niches.  Google has the ability to define the bounds of its services and that will define their niches.  Clearly, if they effectively enforce this rule (and probably even if they don’t), Google+ will not be used in the same manner that Twitter is, but who cares?  There are plenty of alternative services for those who want a degree of anonymity in their social networking and Google+ simply won’t play that role.  If that hurts their ability to attract a following, then so be it.  If not, then they certainly have no obligation, morally, legally, or strategically to provide anonymous social networking.

  23. Brad Horowitz has been put in the position of PR firewall already, telling the world things about G+ that are then proven false in practice several times now.

    If Brad says one thing and Eric says another, I think it’s pretty damn obvious which is more likely to be the case.


      It’s more like “DAMN U, USING A FAKE NAME MAKES IT HARDER TO SELL U” (that is, sell very, very detailed profile information about you, the real you, to whomever wants to buy.)

      Let’s not forget that this is Google we are talking about, not just some random social networking startup. Their profile on you won’t just contain your social networking posts, but your entire search history (through google search), your exact browsing behaviors on almost every site on the web (through google analytics), not to mention your documents (through google docs), your email (through gmail), your photo collection (through picasso), etc, etc.

      To the best of my knowledge, Google isn’t currently in the business of selling this private information in a personally identifiable way. But they sure as hell are in the business of aggregating this information, and now it has apparently become a smart business move to demand that real names be attached to as many of these aggregated piles of data as possible. They are pursuing this business decision in spite of the inevitable privacy backlash. A certain percentage of users will say “Screw you, Google” and take their search/email/social networking/etc elsewhere. From Google’s point of view (and they aren’t stupid), this has to be an acceptable loss, more than made up by the monetary value of attaching your real name to your aggregated private data.

      When you think about the business decisions that must have led to this move, I hope it gives you pause before signing up to this service with your real name.

  24. Oh, and I would recommend great caution before signing up with Diaspora. They have a perfect set of intentions, but (a) lack functionality (it would feel like a disgruntled 2011 Windows user trying to move to 1994 Linux) and (b) seem to have no idea about how to code with security.

  25. Don’t get people who think this is a reasonable policy.  Pseudonyms are an absolutely integral part of the internet.  Trying to ban them is like trying to ban impassioned arguments about matters that are essentially trivial – it goes against the whole nature of the web.  I think people should get together and organise a mass exodus from google+, under the banner “CHANGE YOUR POLICY – OR GO HOME.
    (It would add sweet salt to the wound if the campaign was orchestrated via a facebook page.)  Even if you don’t care about the issue, it would be worth it just to show some people power and stick it to the Man!

    1. Is anyone using Google + in the first place?  About a quarter of my FB friends early adapted when it came out, and virtually all of them have gone silent (but are still active on FB).  + seems to be dying a slow death, and this nym business is about the ONLY discussion about Plus, *period.*  I did a search for ‘Google Plus’ a couple days ago and all it turned up was articles from June and July.  I don’t really think anyone is using it!

    2. Pseudonyms are *not* an “absolutely integral part of the internet”. When I first started using the internet in 1988, which granted, was mostly Usenet and ftp, it was taken for granted that people used their real names, and was generally expected that you posted with a signature that explained your job, or if you were a student, what you were studying. So people could tell that a posting about WWII was from a history professor or a CS undergrad and evaluate them with that in mind. And the level of discourse was at a level that still hasn’t been regained even with various modern moderation methods. Yes, there were a few trolls like “Archimedes Plutonium” and “Kibo”, but it was made clear that what they were doing wasn’t acceptable behavior. There was an influx of trolls every September, as freshmen got their accounts, but the community was clear that they were acting childishly and in general they got the message.

      But in the mid-1990s, all of that changed with the influx of people raised on BBSes and AOL, where nyms and trolling were standard behavior That’s why the modern Internet is often called “the September that never ended”.

      1. Ahem. Kibo was a surreal humorist, not a troll. You must be thinking of Serdar Argic.

        I’m gonna guess you hung out in some of the more mundane parts of usenet. I was off in the fun parts with the writers, role-players and goof-balls, where pseudonyms were the rule, not the exception.

        1. Well, I did tend to hang out in the “big 8” hierarchy, which was for the more serious discussion, I would imagine that the unofficial “alt” hierarchy may have had different rules, as they didn’t even need a vote to create a new newsgroup.

          But I really miss the days where people like Marvin Minsky and Dennis Ritchie, posting under their real names, would enter into discussion with undergrads. We’ve really lost something by severing the link between online and real life identities.

          1. There are plenty of places where this still goes on — just not on catch-all social networks. For instance, many tabletop RPG boards (White Wolf, etc) are frequented by actual creators of their products, often leading to great interactions.

            The barrier to these kinds of interactions is not pseudonyms, as it is fairly trivial for anyone to identify themselves with existing tech (see: Twitter), but rather the dedication of those creating the communities. When Usenet was the only game in town, of course you had a “small-town” feel with those who participated. Now things are different.

          2. I would imagine that the unofficial “alt” hierarchy may have had different rules, as they didn’t even need a vote to create a new newsgroup. 

            Alt was a mess but a great many did go through the process of creating a charter and getting a vote. 

            We’ve really lost something by severing the link between online and real life identities.

            Unfortunate but true. I blame the PC crowd myself.

  26. If this were just about ‘building your identity’ like Schmidt says, it wouldn’t matter.  As long as you build *an* identity with *a* name mapped to it, what difference does it make?  I still remember ‘Thresh,’ who was a well-known master of Quake a dozen years ago.  If you do lots of stuff on the internet with a pseudonym and develop a reputation, you’ll have an identity, even if it’s not your given name.  So it shouldn’t matter!

    If, on the other hand, you were a company wanting to map someone’s likes, search habits, and purchasing history onto an exact individual so you could market to them and then sell this information to the highest bidder, knowing their name would matter a lot!

  27. Breaking News:  Google+ is introducing a new filter to protect against the number of dogs impersonating humans on the internet.  An animation of a garbage truck or a tennis ball passes across your browser screen and disappears off the side.  If you didn’t leave your keyboard to see where it went, they’ll let you post.

  28. “G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it
    depends on people using their real names if they’re going to build
    future products that leverage that information.”

    So they are going to try to out Facebook Facebook.

    Isn’t this the same moron who said people should have to use their real names online, and then people dug up every dirty tidbit of his life and then he was pissed at them?

  29. No, I don’t have to use it.  And guess what, I won’t.  I’ve already got a social network that I have to use a name that looks like a real name on… and I barely use it,but it’s there if I need something like it.   And bonus, it doesn’t require me to risk not only losing access to my account, but access to a whole bunch of other services if they don’t like my name.  So, easy choice there.  Facebook’s no saint, but if it’s a choice between the devil who knows you, or TWO devils who know you, well, again, easy choice. 

    I won’t use it.  I also won’t suggest using it to anybody I know, and if they ask me to join up so they can talk to me, I’ll decline. 

    Of course, nothing in that decision requires me to be silent about one of the main reasons I’m choosing not to use it, or to point out how non-inclusive, hypocritical, and outright stupid their policy is at any opportunity.   They’re just lucky I’m not one of the trolls they seem to fear so much, or I’d take great pleasure in adopting common-sounding Western names and trolling all over the place. 

  30. The “if you don’t like it don’t use it” argument doesn’t work because of the nature of a social network – you basically have to be on the same network as all your friends, or else you miss out on all the stuff they’re posting. I can’t wait for the Federated Social Web to be a real thing. 

    1. You can still call or email your friends, or send them a letter, or stop by their house.  I do not find social networking to be a critical part of my life.

      1. You could also send them telegrams or even ride your cow down the road. For that personal touch.

    1. Companies that go around saying “we are not evil” should be put in the same category as people who say “I am not a crook” and those who implore you to trust them. Generally speaking, people don’t focus on those things that come naturally to them. “Remember to breathe” is rarely heard as a slogan.

      1. No one is forcing you to use Google. It didn’t even exist 2 months ago. You’ve gone your whole life without it. It’s hardly evil when it’s something they are upfront about and you can decide to not participate if you don’t like the terms. 

  31. We’re all really worried about our dogs registering for Google+. Thanks, Eric, for clearing that up.

    1. You do realize you can turn off and not use your google profile.  The only service you talk about that requires the profile is Buzz and Google+

  32. I got threatened with having my Gmail account deleted if I didn’t associate my phone number with the account. That was the final straw. So I deleted my G+ account and I have switched my email over to Zoho.

    The reality is that Google needs to know exactly who you are for their next level of marketing. They are working on G+ for businesses and if you pay Google enough money you will be able to access accurate info on who you are marketing to. The profit motive is really screwing up their search results and if you try to do a search on Youtube, it totally sucks right now. The majority of hits now brings up movies for you to buy, which is never what the user is searching for.

  33. The only problem I really see with a policy like this is that it would be very difficult to enforce.

    Other than that, it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request at all, and I really, really don’t see what the problem is with “if you don’t like it, don’t use it.” They’re offering a service. You don’t have to use it – I know this, because it didn’t even exist 3 months ago. The people complaining are acting like their civil rights are being violated because they aren’t being offered a different service. I’m sorry, but that’s a pretty ridiculous sense of entitlement. It’s like saying somebody offering you free bacon is violating your rights because you might want to keep kosher.

    inb4 “is Moriarty your real name?” No, it’s not.

    1. Yes, but it was not advertised as an “identity service”.

      That vision of his was not shared with the rollout crowd.

      This is like if Steve Jobs suddenly declared that actually, all apple laptops are designed to be coffee makers frist and foremost, and we should all remember that’s their real purpose, and the actual reason we bought one. 

    1. Well, if you claim that your name is Robert Jones, they probably can’t really do much; if you’re a celebrity or other persona likely to be spoofed by fake profiles, you can be “verified” (likely by showing ID or something). If your name is Skiddlebop Internetz… it’s probably a safe guess that you don’t have that printed on your passport.

  34. g+ is good because I could delete my profile entirely, unlike facebook.

    But, while I appreciate google’s candor, I’m still going to delete my g+ account.

    They said it was a social networking site, not an identity verification service.  Douche Move.

  35. Let it be noted that I hereby suggest getting as many people as possible to register as John Q. Public.

  36. “If you don’t like the way we do things on our site, you can just go somewhere else.”  Hmm where have I heard that before?

  37. You know what? Google just doesn’t get social, does it?

    That said: ‘nyms who argue that real names are important are the most confused people in the world.

  38. Generally speaking, if you do not like their terms and conditions, do not sign up for Google +.

    Being anonymous however, can be very important. Like it or not there are potential repercussions to your professional career, if it is revealed that you are a World of Warcraft addict.

    Never mind the potiential harm, if it turns out that you are engaged in battle with the evil gynofascists bent on world domination, and who have already invaded the manosphere.

    Even here at BoingBoing I get subtle hints that I am considered an “evil” person because I do not fallinto the groupthink, that you can see manifest itself here from time to time.

    I certainly would not want my children to suffer at the hands of someone else for my opinions (never mind that they do not necessarily agree with them), by someone who
    considers themselves “good” and therefore justified in whatever actions they may take in fighting “evil”.

    1. Even here at BoingBoing I get subtle hints that I am considered an “evil” person because I do not fallinto the groupthink

      The troll’s lament. Maybe people consider you evil because they find your opinions heinous, loathsome, repugnant and/or despicable, not because you’re a wild, free, independent thinker.

      1. The troll’s lament. Maybe people consider you evil because they find your opinions heinous, loathsome, repugnant and/or despicable, not because you’re a wild, free, independent thinker.

        Do not feed the trolls.

    2. It’s been a while since I checked what somegreybloke was up to. I don’t know if you were being facetious (one hopes) or not, but SGB has absolutely outdone himself this time. I recently discovered the “manosphere” and I hadn’t seen the bar lowered so much since I discovered the Hollow Earthers. I really hope we or our AI offspring get of this rock soon. Knowledge may be accumulating exponentially, but stupidity is building up geometrically. How long ’till it reaches critical mass?

      1. I don’t know if you were being facetious (one hopes) or not, but SGB has absolutely outdone himself this time.

        Seeing as you asked, in this case yes I was. Not that this admission should be taken as a guarantee of any of my past or future posts.

  39. “He also said the internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.”
    Sounds like this depends on the premise that people are all rational actors, that mainly good people will rank evil people downward, no evil people will rank good people downward. Same premise that worms through neoliberal economic theory.

    “Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+.”
    From one angle, it sounds like if you can’t follow their policies, Google doesn’t want you. From another angle, it sounds like he’s suggesting you should boycott them. I guess it’s the same thing, but they’re not worried about a boycott spreading to other people who are willing to use their real names but want to show solidarity to others who deserve the right to stay anonymous.

    Where’s the net neutral non-profit alternative to Facebook and G+, and how do we convince all our non-political Facebook friends to join us there?

  40. Just to play devil’s advocate:

    There was a time when we all lived in small social circles and it was possible to know everyone, and bad actors experienced negative social feedback from their neighbors that to some degree kept them in check.  Our villages have grown so large and dispersed that many bad actors can now essentially escape that negative feedback.  A bad actor can simply move on to fresh pasture and start with a clean slate or simply isolate themselves completely from the neighbors they adversely affect.

    One advantage of requiring positive id in a social networking system is that people are identifiably responsible for their actions, not just in the network, but also in real life.  

    We can’t simply rely on a system of laws to inhibit people from behaving like cock-knuckles, there needs to be a social component as well.  This seems to have been diluted and weakened substantially in our large societies. 

    1. Yes, but that was also a time when anyone who was different or held different ideas had to choose between being socially ostracized or keep quiet.

  41. Honestly, did ANYONE think Google created this out of the goodness of their hearts?  That they saw a humanitarian social-networking need and filled it?  That they said “It’ll be like Facebook, except everything you hate about Facebook?”  Google+ serves one very valuable purpose for Google — keeping you logged in to Google.

  42. You know, I don’t get the fuss. If you want to use the service, use your real name or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

    It does make it less fun, though. One of the great things about Reddit and Twitter is the novelty accounts.

    It’d be fantastic if Google+ one day had novelty accounts or symlink accounts.

  43. He’s right. And as a result of their “real name” / “all-posts-are-public” policy I’ve chosen not to use the service.

    It’s actually quite simple. All you have to do is nothing.

    1. “All posts are public” what? I disagree with their nym policy, but what? Since when did they pull a Zuckerberg privacy gaffe?

  44. I don’t understand if Google is worried that “unreal people” will use their service, or if it’s worried that real people would use G+ with fake names. If the latter is true, there are many ways to solve the issue, ask for complete, verifiable personal data at the time of subscription, in Italy every citizen has a “fiscal code”, an (almost) unique code made from your name, date of birth, place of birth, that’s sometimes asked to verify that you really are who you say you are. But I suspect G is up to something else, maybe something related to the fact that if an advertiser knows who you exactly are (without even having to ask G who is behind the nickname) he already has a lot of useful information!

  45. I used my common/real name on Google by and large, but “no choice” combined with the incredibly arrogant, elitist, and short-sighted crap being spouted by Schmidt (who obviously “doesn’t get it”) has convinced me that it was time to just let Google go.

    I have removed all my information, closed all my product accounts, and it will be a cold day in Hades before Google sees any intentional support or business from me.

    Frankly, I count it a sad day when a company that once was so good about trying to protect and provide for privacy has become so intentionally evil over it. Schmidt can rationalize and seek justification all he likes, but everyone knows consumer choice and privacy are king online… obviously, Google no longer supports either.

  46. It’s actually much worse than this. Not only are they insisting on this policy, but internally there’s a lot of confusion about it.

    I had my account suspended in early July. After a week or so of emails back and forth with their support staff, including an email where they specifically demanded a government issued ID to be reinstated, when I started asking important questions (such as, what is your data retention policy for IDs), they sent me an email out of nowhere saying my account had been reviewed and was within their guidelines. 

    So a few days ago, after no changes on my part, my account fell into the suspension territory again, now under the new 4 day window policy. I clicked on the “appeal” button, which apparently flags your account for them to come re-review it, but it looks like my account will simply be either suspended or deleted in a couple days. I decided I’d had enough with it, backed up all my data, left a message saying “good bye”, and left their service.

    What I’m getting at: it’s not just the real names policy, but it’s also the completely unrefined and disorganized method in which they are handling all of this.

  47. Peterblue11 – the fake names thing isn’t an obstacle to selling you things if you use persistent pseudonyms. If you’re always BikerMan21 when you post to bike forums, bike companies will be perfectly well able to see what kinds of bikes you like. They don’t care that you’re SnakeLover over in the herpetology forum or whatever – it’s not relevant to their market. 

    Jonathan Badger – why d’you think of James Parry as a “troll”? I’d have said he was a prankster & a humourist, but he stopped way short of being the sort of sh!thead you get these days who’re self-proclaimed trolls nowadays, many of whom use plausible WASPonyms or even real names, or disposable once-only accounts. The point is, it doesn’t matter whether you use real names or nyms – although if you do use a real name it’s easier to find you & victimise you in your real life, and bullies tend to be better at selecting victims when they can see who you are properly. In Parry’s case “Kibo” was a nickname. Everyone knew who he was really. 

    When I used to use Usenet *everyone* pretty much used a nym. It was just normal. When we met up we’d introduce ourselves by our nyms. What mattered was not what we called ourselves but our conduct online, & people who behaved unacceptably were blocked & shunned, or reported to their ISP. There’s no need to have a real names policy.

    1. Kibo wasn’t as bad as most modern trolls, I admit, and wasn’t mean-spirited, but basically his whole shtick was to interrupt threads with supposedly humorous nonsense — basically a forerunner of the Slashdot posters who always post those lame “In Soviet Russia…” jokes.

      Yes, Usenet degenerated into pseudonyms (and spam) in the late 1990s, and is basically unusable today except to trade “warez”, but seriously, in its heyday, when it was a system for and by academics, that wasn’t the case. Look at archives of Usenet from the 1980s if you weren’t there.

      1. I actually miss the early Usenet days. Even after the September that never ended it was not actually that bad. 

        Stuff like the time whats his name touched off an epic flame war between and with a single line xpost saying “I hate fat people” was (although I never admitted it) quite funny even though it was just more admin overhead to deal with the complaints.What I really do not miss was the US$ 50.00 per hour UUNET cost.

      2. Dude I don’t know what corner of the internet you came from but if you think that USENET only ‘degenerated into pseudonyms (and spam) in the late 1990s’then it must be a very small corner indeed. I’ve been on the internet since 1989 WITH a pseudonym (and before that, on CompuServe, with a pseudonumber). I’ve seen all the wars and all the bad behaviour any dude can handle. Plenty of it was perpetrated by people using real (or at least real looking names). And pseudonyms were there from the very start. The story you are constructing about pseudonyms taking over and destroying the internet paradise in the late 1990s is *pure fable*.

        1. What sorts of groups did *you* hang out in? I’m being serious. Ever since the nym wars erupted, I’ve been going back to the Usenet archives of the sorts of groups I hung out in (which granted, tended to be science or history related) to test just that. As far as I can tell, pseudonyms were literally absent in these groups before the mid 1990s. Yes, there were a few troublemakers, but mostly they were cranks claiming that they proved evolution or relativity false — and they used their own names because they in all seriousness thought they had made actual discoveries.

  48. When you apply for your job, do you put your internet handle down on the question of are you known by any other names?   When a police officers asks you who you are do you give your pseudonym?  If not, then google doesnt want it as your primary name either.  Its just that simple.

    Google is not keeping you from putting your pseudonym on your profile and allowing people to find you via that name, they just want your real name as well

  49. When I first saw Xeni’s headline, my first thought was that Schmidt was telling people who’s real names get bounced for not being on Google’s List of Names Appropriate for Real People (I assume the call it that) to go suck it. Because those are the only people who can’t use their real names on Google+. The rest merely won’t use their real names on Google+ (for very good reasons in the case of people living under brutal authoritarian regimes). If Google wants to kill their service or make it an untenable option for folks unable to safely use their real name, it’s their service. They have no ethical obligation to accommodate every potential user’s needs. I sure won’t be using them. But to ban names that they don’t think should be real people’s names is just asinine.

  50. Geekandwife – if you have no right to free speech on Google, surely that applies to everywhere on the internet? Every server on the net is run by some organisation, usually a commercial one. If paying for a service is the only thing that gives you a right to free speech, what about people who use free access points in libraries & so forth, because they can’t afford internet access at home? D’you mean that the poor don’t have a right to free speech?

  51. Real name fans, I’d like to hear some acknowledgement that this is security theater. 

    Google+ is not a space with only real names. There is no verifying of anything, you just need a gmail account, and willingness to give a name that fits the standard Western format. FirstName Lastname. They apparently really don’t care — they certainly don’t check every person.  And it’s easy to fool them. (yes, just google that) They’d rather the law-abiding woman with a restraining order against her violent ex husband be pressured to use her actual name, expose her location, than simply allowing her to participate in their online community, showing ads based on her activities and interests, and not her actual real name. Fake security is a bad reason to exclude so many people. 

  52. Jonathan – I wasn’t online in the ’80s, but I was on alt.gothic & uk.people.gothic from around 1996 or so. It was pretty good back then. I see on here a fellow upg’er who I still think of by his nick on there. Did you ever have occasion to use IRC? That pretty well ran on ‘nyms, or nicks as they were known. My own ‘nym is the result of the sudden panicked flailing I went through when my previous, less original nick was in use & enforced by a nickbot on a channel I wanted to use, that was used by my usenet friends. I’ve stuck with it ever since, though stupidly trusted Google & now it’s irrevocably linked to my real world identity, every damned word I ever uttered on usenet now searchable & linkable back to me now, 15 years later. When I jack in my Google account, I’m going to have to get a whole new online identity. 

    If you think that’s paranoid, think of it this way – a lot of the time my social life has been online. I had many enjoyable nights watching TV with one eye with the other eye on an IRC channel or on usenet, chugging beers & hanging out with my mates, much as you would in a bar or a pub, but since we were physically separated, spread all over the globe, the net was our bar-room. Now, have you ever got into a heated discussion in a bar, had a few too many & said a few things your sober self might not wish to have trotted out say at work or in front of your parents? Yeah. That’s what having a nym linked to your real name does. It’s like having a government spy in your local pub.

    Now you can quote me on this though: Eric Schmidt can rot in hell. 

    1. Now you can quote me on this though: Eric Schmidt can rot in hell.

      Done! Oh dear now I have associated my ID (which I use only here) with that quote. I recommend a variety of IDs myself.

  53. In other news, I have to appreciate that Schmidt came out and admitted that it was all about the monetization. None of this “quality community” claptrap. Even if they’ve embraced evil, as long as they’re honest about it, I don’t feel guilty for not giving them any more chances. =D

  54. But surely, as an undergrad, if you had a serious falling out online with a prof, that could jeopardise your academic future. Without that possibility people could discuss things as they really thought about them, without fear of shame. That might make for whackier theories & ideas, some of which, fair enough, a waste of time, but I wonder how many ideas were self-censored for fear the powers that be reject them & then see their undergrads as idiots?

  55. I hear a great way to try and build a new social network is to tell people not to use it.

    So much for don’t be evil, eh?

    How about if I not use Gmail, Docs, or Search either since you don’t seem to care too much about your customers.

    Google can’t say, on one hand, that they want Google+ to be a replacement as a blog with public posts and also not expect people to want the security of a pseudoname.

    Eric Schmidt seems to be out of touch.. all in the name of getting as much information from you as possible.

  56. For the people still arguing that demanding real names will somehow stop people from trolling/spamming/acting poorly, I’ll just bring this up again:

    The GIFT theory is wrong – people, in general, are f***wads if they want to be, whether they can be pseudonymous or not.  And since G+’s policy really does nothing to prevent people from being pseudonymous or anonymous, there’s really no point in bringing it into the topic in the first place.

  57. Every single time I see this topic come up I look to see if there is any discussion of real names that sound fake and what constitutes “fake sounding.”

    But no, it’s always arguing about standing by your real name and being held accountable by it or something. A few times someone brings it up for all of a single comment, only to continue with “people need to protect their identity!” vs., “People need to be held accountable!”

    But, in the event that your name is unusual, what happens? All the arguments about using your real name or getting lost aren’t helpful when that IS your real name. Some of us have eccentric parents, throw us a bone, here, how the hell does this policy even function in reality?

    I don’t think it’s just a forgettable trivial matter how Google handles the cases of people with eccentric but perfectly legal names.

  58. People say that using your “real name” you will not be bad (troll, repugnant ecc), but the point here is that REAL NAME for G does not mean anything. Are they asking an official identification? If I join G+ as “John Smith” which is a fake name because it’s not mine, but is a perfectly “legit” name in the eyes of google, what happens? I’m still behind a fake name and can behave badly as I want. So yes the excuse that “real names allow for high quality community” is a lie.

  59. Why does Schmidt keep referring to real names being mandatory on G+ when the TOS clearly states that they aren’t? Does Schmidt really not know what he’s talking about or does Google have two sets of TOS for this product (one internal one that requires the name on y’r credit card and one public that requires “the name that people call you”)?

  60. Consider it done. I deleted my account last week when, while using my real name, they didn’t like the way it was written. I’m not gonna fight, just not give them what they want.
    And there are still plenty of fake user names around they haven’t delete. Worse. Some have been “verified”.

  61. Funny Eric Schmidt chose to use the word “evil.” I had one of the members of Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church call me “evil”  as I was walking into my game store in Richmond, VA right after high school. Then he spit on me. For playing Dungeons and Dragons.

    I guess I’m removing everything but most basic info from Google now like I already did Facebook. No biggie. I’m too much of gamer geek to have any interest the tamed/lamed versions of games on Facebook and Google anyway.

  62. It seems some commenters haven’t read the post closely enough. Carvin ends his post by stating that he has been paraphrasing Schmidt’s responses all along. Schmidt may or may not have used the precise words “[s]ome people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward” – it seems like Carvin took generous liberties with this particular response.

    What we do know is that Schmidt favours the real name policy. I don’t think the commenters here who are up in arms about this have made a compelling counterargument. I, too, am almost paranoid about my online traceability, so I maintain numerous alts (many with GMail accounts). Of these only one identity is true, and it’s the one I use for online banking, shopping, official correspondence, etc. But nothing prevents me from using nyms. I’m perfectly fine with not being able to use Google+ with any of my GMail-rooted nyms. There exist numerous other forms of communication that ensure anonymity (e.g. Twitter) and I’m perfectly happy to use those for my sockpuppetry. In fact, even this account is an alt (but you already knew that).

    I’ve also never understood why so many people loathe advertisers. Any purchase is a mutual agreement between the customer and vendor. People speak as if buying shiny trinkets advertised in a sidebar is a reflex action. I welcome targeted, customized ads. It helps filter a lot of products I’d never buy (e.g. tampons).

  63. And of course, it’s even possible to use Google’s services for anonymous communication. Google isn’t eager to find the true identity between’s gmail address. just doesn’t get to use Google+, but (s)he can continue corresponding with fellow revolutionaries.

    1. There are a variety of tools like ShareMeNot and HTTPS-everywhere (does not work with chrome). Of course just being aware of the issues appears to be beyond the grasp of the majority.

  64. “Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.”

    I hope this feature uses circles and some algorithmic sorting, given that ‘evil’ isn’t an objective value.

  65. for me, a regular person,  it is not about not using my BornName (cindy adrienne quashie)  instead, nicknames are a part of My Culture.  and i also makes it easier for me to remember people and the things they do, not to mention, those who re especially helpful with websites and feeds that provide information, it’s like a brand.

    when i signed up for Google + at first i could not tell who these people were circling me.  An issue i do not have on Twitter, where often just by their avatar, i can recall their government names, business, internet and social media expertise.

    when they sent the PINK SLIP command to change or else, i just ignored it.  Since then outside of listening in on conversations like this one, which rarely includes voices of regular folk like me, i have no working or entertaining interest in Google +.  

    in the meantime, i like being able to just give my twitter name and knowing anyone anywhere can contact me, click on my website link and get all my info. 

    i mean when you give way free phone service (Google Voice) and the general public (ie we regular folks) does not even yawn, your company may want to also focus on why Yahoo is email, what Clorox is to bleach, what Coca-Cola is to pop and Xerox is to copy machines.

    i think Google just has a BUZZ up its + about Twitter names.  

  66. Google+ = The new Buzz.

    Used by a select few until it’s ultimately killed off for lack of interest.

  67. Well, I’ve got myself a couple of new email addresses – gonna wean myself off Google gradually, move the stuff I want to keep to the new public one, remake old friendships with the private one. If people get an email message from a stranger in the next few weeks, read thoroughly. New name, new address, new everything.

  68. I believe the word is ‘hubris’.

    Of course Eric will say this – strongly, without blinking and authoritarianishly too. How come? Well, his circle thinks this way (“people are idiots, you can use them as much as you want, it will teach them, pay no taxes, play the world for lulz”); powerful people love powerful engines and he is in the drivers seat; they are a technical company and emotions may not be very important on their radar; they make enough money and have enough advisers to shore up any loss in any situation and stay relatively rich; any disquiet has been syphoned off to a % loss, as most people do x and that is where they money is; it’s all about aggregating.

    So, this model seems to work for most rich people 99% of the time, why could it at ANY time ever fail? I mean, it’s the dominant meme for the last 300 years at least…

    There’s a TV prog on Australian TV (ABC) called The Gruen Transfer. It’s about advertising. Two CEOs of ad agencies talk about philosophy of advertising, ethics, morals. What are the chances of they doing this if they weren’t on TV? Nil. Same for these guys like Eric. Ethics takes time to talk about, can be avoided, and who cares. (as far as I have seen in life).

    What could imo undo a G+ project is: Google rich for too long; the negative side of above; the success of search engines allowing people to access any info so long as they type specific words; social networking itself rapidly sending bad news about a movie, product etc around faster than strategy meetings in section 674836D of a large company can choose an action; schadenfreude; but importantly…

    this doesn’t seem to do much more than Facebook!!!

    Where is the compelling reason for me to switch? I love BB, but I’m not a massive techhead – so I am not really in that % that Google’s accountants and strategisers have lobbed off to the side saying “this subculture is a loss, account for it in projections”. I don’t do loads of Facebook, but could when my business gets up and running. I have about 179 friends on FB. I am typical for them.

    But I read this about Google+, and I will for one, not bother joining, but will tell others personally that G+ sux coz of this subject.

    I don’t even care! I don’t even know if it is important. So they demand real names….OK. But I feel something is not ethical, and I do recall they say “don’t do evil”. Unethical + “evil” word. Bow-bowm! They just turned off a section of people.

    During lunch, when I am bored, I will look for more crap comments about G+ and this policy. And I will laugh and laugh at snark and witticisms.

    Sure, Google are set fine with aggregating everything else. But that is not good enough for them. They always want more.

    Also, G+’s actions are probably not similar to ours if we were in the same position as Sergey and Larry. I mean, they were uni students before they launched Google. Were they f***wits then? Can you tell who is before things happen? No! Of course not. If any of us were in their same position, the forces of greed for those around, but most people’s lack of interest in becoming self-aware and ethical people (you know, because desire and greed is VERY exciting, combined with lack of responsibility for actions), means that most of us will turn into greedy f**kers given half the chance. Like they are.

    So this “Google how did you become evil?” is very normal. They’re doing what 95% of humans would do given the chance.

    All personal pop psychology stuff which I hope is wrong (for the most part).

  69. For all you saying that pseudonames will lead to “trolling”, then how do you explain Twitter? They use pseudonames and the majority of posting is far being troll infested.

    In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

    1. None of the people (mostly authors and scientists) whom I follow on twitter are pseudonymous in a real sense — they may have a “handle” for technical reasons, but it is one that is tied to their real name, and the whole reason I follow their tweets is to see what these people are working on that they are willing to share. I realize that I may be a bit nerdy in my tastes, but even the mainstream use of twitter (to follow the actions of movie stars and athletes) relies on knowing who (or at least whose staff) is tweeting.

  70. They & Facebook should adopt the REAL NAME & VERIFIED  systems of Amazon & Twitter. Allow pseudonyms, but encourage people to verify their identities.

  71. “Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.”
    Same goes for some corporations.  Google -1.

  72. Unfortunately anonymous networks and forums often turn into complete and utter cesspool. Just look at 4chan.

  73. Issue was made moot for me when I discovered Google+ doesn’t work with Opera. Pffffffft… see ya!  

  74. I love the naivety and certainty of the crowd saying it is OK to give your real name online (clearly born in the early 80s at most).

    Let me give you a simple example of why this is nonsense.

    I am travelling to China for a few days, and as most sane people I dislike their human rights record and I have made this known in many places on the net.

    Had I been using my real name in the net most likely my visa application would have been refused.

    If you put your real name online the law of unintended consequences kicks in, when I started commenting on the internet about politics I had no idea I would ever visit China.

    The same thing applies to people you will meet in the future or to companies or institutions you will have to relate to, or even to people you know now but with whom you will fall over.

    Some people immediately point out to the Circles feature in Google+  like if cutting and pasting or screendumping were arcane arts that would put beyond mere mortals sharing your information, attached to your real name, elsewhere.

    But go on, keep giving wings to Google, Facebook and other companies that believe the only way to monetize the net is to trample all around your interests in real life.

    1. Er, no. Born in 1970, which probably makes me an “old man” around here. As far as I can tell, it’s the younger folks, too young to experience Usenet in its prime, who think hiding behind a pseudonym (or probably dozens, because once you go down that road, why stop with one?) is okay. I’ve never shied away with voicing my opinions in my own name, because I believe in them. If they have consequences, then tough. That’s what having an opinion is all about.

      1. Born in 1970?  Bah! to me you are a mere pup. 1956 here. That makes me a doddering old fossil if you are an old man.

  75. I have always used Usenet groups, especially groups for anime and comics fans, guitar players and graphics enthusiast, and although there were many “anonymous” users the level of the discussion was always very high. Of course there was the occasional troll, but nothing too bad. To be honest, I miss the Usenet days now, when you had a centralized “place” where all the people who shared an interest met and discussed. Today we are scattered in dozens social websites and forums :/

  76. Since the days of dialup, we have been taught to use a handle on the
    internet. We have been told over and over not to use our real names.
    Even our ISPs forced us to use handles to setup our email accounts.

    After all these years of using a handle online Google tells us that we were wrong.

  77. All commenters who support Google + and their real name policy, please change your alias for this forum to match. I notice quite a few people coming out against pseudonyms who are using them here. 

    1. Don’t be silly. There should be places for anonymous discourse on the web, and there are such places. But that doesn’t mean there can’t also be places for real people to engage in real communication and create relationships with real people. Just because we support Google’s name policy for their social network doesn’t mean we think it should be a mandate across the entire web. Silly!

  78. So… why are people using GooglePlus then?

    Why isn’t the social site just dying on the vine like so many before it?

    1. I have my theory… who is using G+ are mainly “geeks” of different kinds:

      1) tech people that wanted to see how it looked and how it worked, got hyped by the slick (although cumbersome) interface boosting their nerdy/geeky factor with zoom, drop shadows and drag and drop… this people will eventually use an aggregator/posting platform like Hoot and abandon direct use of G+ as soon as possible…

      2) people that do pictures. Because I must admit that G+ photo gallery look really neat

      3) In my opinion the vast majority, marketing guys, social marketing guys, viral marketing guys. They work in different areas but being in the “communication” industry they received early invitation and dispensed to other people in their work area. I’m talking people whose work is to be on twitter/facebook/G+/foursquare/whatever and “communicate” (alias SPAM) with potential customers/fans of their brand. They are a breed of their own and they are on G+ because they HAVE.

  79. Hopefully it will sink in eventually and all the complainers will move on with life. Google+ didn’t even exist two months ago. You’ll be fine without it. Really. There are other places for anonymous discourse.

  80. Eric, take a pound of salt and push it up your rectum.

    You can not change 30 years of online culture to suit you avarice.

  81. Don’t worry Eric, I won’t.

    In fact I have removed various accounts from google services including youtube and I am looking for a good alternative for mail and search. I’m also actively convincing people to do, more or less, the same.

    Google still is king in search, but I see that changing in the future.

Comments are closed.