Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google+

Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google+

Summary: Google chairman Eric Schmidt says that if you don't like the highly controversial real name policy, don't use Google+.

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Over the weekend, NPR's Andy Carvin had the chance to ask Google chairman Eric Schmidt about the highly controversial Google+ real name policy. And his answer basically boiled down to "Don't like it? Don't use it."

Oddly enough, this tidbit comes courtesy of Carvin's own Google+ profile. He writes, in part:

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 (to me, at least) that Schmidt thinks there's no point of even trying to have a service that allows pseudonyms.

It sounds like Schmidt's vision for the Internet includes verifiable identities for everyone. But the term "identity service" and phrases like "leverage that information" have vaguely unsettling connotations (in fairness, Carvin says that he merely paraphrased Schmidt, and those may not be direct quotes).

Some, like ZDNet's Violet Blue, have taken the Google+ real name policy and the often draconian penalties it entails as cause enough to consider dropping the fledgling social network entirely. But will Google stick to its guns, or will enough user unrest prompt some real name policy reform?

Topics: Apps, Google, Social Enterprise

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44 comments
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  • I have to say

    I like somebody standing up for what they believe instead of bowing to public outcry.

    Most people will just get over it anyway.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

      @goff256 How are they going to verify your real name, they just don't want weird names, you can still be Joe Smith... makes no sense. The reason why I don't use Facebook or Linkedin, the less information about me online, the better!
      Hasam1991
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @Hasam1991

        And when people are anonymous, they're not accountable. Not sure how they'll do the real name thing on a wider basis, but they'll fix it.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @Hasam1991

        I like your comment about accountability. People do not take responsibility for their actions anymore. When I sign a petition or other action, i never check "display me as anonymous." I want whoever sees my signature that I support what I signed wholeheartedly and am not afraid for the world to know it. If you do not want your mom or grandma to know you said or did something, then don't do it. You are right.
        kstenbch
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @kstenbch That quite frankly is an idiotic stance. Good ideas go down the drain every day because people fear to voice them.
        Aerowind
    • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

      @goff256
      I agree, only thieves hide their identity.
      Real people reap the benefits of google services.
      The Linux Geek
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @The Linux Geek [b]I agree, only thieves hide their identity.[/b]

        So you were given the name "The Linux Geek" at birth? And your prior pseudonym here, "Linux Geek" was just a nickname?

        Yeah, right. So either your parents were really heavily into open source or you are a thief. Which one is it?
        athynz
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @The Linux Geek Maybe honest people like to stay anonymous to every extent possible to keep thieves, i.e. identity thieves and/or spammers from jacking their identities and running up a bunch of credit in their names. Did that thought EVER cross your mind.

        Point number 2: Maybe people are starting to understand that Google wants as much information about people as they can get and control. It's not mere coincidence.
        waterhzrd
  • I'll be deleting my Google+ account

    Well, he's made it clear that Google has fully embraced evil. I'll be deleting my Google+ account and discouraging anyone else from using it.
    bblackmoor@...
    • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

      @bblackmoor@...

      How is this evil? Can you tell me that?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @goff256 Data collecting isn't exactly evil, but it isn't nice either. Right now, I'd say that Google more info on people than the FBI. And they're still wanting more.
        ashdude
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        Data collecting is something that happens from the instant you come online. Microsoft does it, Yahoo does it, Facebook does it, Myspace does it, your ISP does it. Google only has more tools to do it with.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @Michael Alan Goff I have Windows Live/Hotmail account and a Yahoo account and neither of them has any of my personal information, so how do you figure?
        waterhzrd
  • OK

    Ok, Eric, I will not use it. After the initial hype of something new, I actually stopped using it. It is quite clear that Google is not a consumer-focused organization. All that they are interested is improving their data mining of their product (People who use Google) for their customers (advertisers).

    "Don't be evil" can be written as "Don't be Google" and still carry the same meaning for some.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

      @facebook@...

      I take it you don't use Facebook either? They do everything Google does, even sometimes banning people for not using their real name. You see, they have this policy too.

      They just don't enforce it.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @goff256 <br>Google are the flavour of the month because they have been giving a lot of things away for free. They know that soon the party will end and people will realise they are no different to the other big multi-billion dollar companies so they need to get their claws into you as soon as possible. They know there is no better time to get people hooked into a service than now while their Good Will is at an all time high.
        global.philosopher
      • I'm ok with that

        @goff256
        If FB does enforce I only lose a FB account
        If Google does enforce I can lose my entire Google infrastructure

        Because of this direction, I will not use G+ and have started to move off of Google products.
        rhonin
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @global<br>Huh? People use Google products because they're better (for them). What products do people supposedly use because they're free?

        @rhonin
        OR you could just use your real name, follow the rules, and keep everything.

        Following the rules too hard?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        @goff256 I find it amusing that most of the more vocal ones against pseudonyms on Google+ are the ones who want to abolish them completely "for accountability" and yet hide behind them while on their respective soap boxes here on ZDNet.

        I feel it is rather shortsighted of Google to do this and yet allow celebs to use their stage names - which are pseudonyms as well - instead of their real names. And as well allow one of their own to use a nickname instead of his real name... one of their own who also is very vocal about people using their real names. Either enforce this across the board and make Lady Gaga and Vivek or "Vic" Gundotra of Google use their own names or allow those who choose to use a pseudonym use it.
        athynz
      • RE: Google: Don't like real name policy? Don't use Google

        Deleted due to duplicate post.
        athynz