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National Public Radio’s Andy Carvin asked Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, about the Google Plus naming policy. This is a question that has been on a lot of Google Plus user’s minds since Google Plus came on the seen in the last week of June. Many people who go by widely known pseudonyms, including “Thedroidguy” were forced to change their Google Plus names after Google started suspending those accounts. Regardless of how long you’ve used a moniker, it’s the real name Google wants.
According to Schmidt Google plus is an “identity service” which that in itself may have many people second guessing their decision to participate.
Carvin wanted to know how Google could justify their names policy when it may actually put some users at risk. The most common risks, estranged husbands and wives who’ve started a new life. Perhaps someone who was raped or the victim of a similar crime and was able to start over using a moniker of some sort? You know real people with real problems who are totally fine using their “twitter handle” or avatar name.
More after the break
Schmidt apparently told Carvin that Google Plus was built primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally it depends on people using their real names. Wait a second, identity service, did you sign up for an identity service? I thought we signed up for a multi-layered social media experience, hmmmm.
Paraphrasing Schmidt’s comments, Carvin wrote that the Google exec 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.” (source: Mashable)
Fred Wilson jumped all over this Sunday. Wilson contends now that Google Plus was built for Google and not for the user (of course, right). Wilson sees highly targeted advertising, and personalized search coming from Google Plus.
This raises the question of whether celebrities will have to use their real names or other business people who may use a shortened or changed last name professionally. Would Sergey Brin have to use his whole Russian name Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin? Should Larry Page have to change his first name to Lawrence?
I’m waiting for the debate to start. I’m waiting for someone to comment or write in and say “That’s the names they go by” because that my friends is the entire point.