Friday, January 27, 2012

Google Takes at Least One Step Backwards with the New Google Plus

I've been trying out Google Plus [commonly referred to as Google+ or G+] and it's okay.  I like the circles, how everyone's +1's show up as one feed so I don't have to go site-hopping in order to comment, and the photo albums.

I don't like and I seriously object to the idea that we are supposed to use our given legal names in order to use Google + .  There is no anonymity on the internet anyways.  That I know.  Why I find Google +'s policy on this to be pigheaded [in my opinion] is for several reasons.

(1).  Google has a ton of personal information on us, its' users.  Any information we provide is theirs for as long as they exist.
(2).  There is no allowance for the use of a pen name.  Folks who operate on the internet under an alias for
whatever reason-- folks who have been stalked, folks who are hiding from abusive partners or family members, folks who don't want an ex-boyfriend to find them, folks who are writers (as I am), folks who are members of Anonymous and who need to network in that fashion) can be kicked off of Google Plus.  Anyone whose name is not believable to the Google employee or committee who goes through "the name people used to sign up list" also risks being kicked off of Google Plus and will have to prove their identity in order to be reinstated.  Google + is not a service that we pay for with money (yet?) or credit card (yet?) which is the only reason why I can understand the demand for a legal name.
(3).  If Google has decided this on the basis of "a kinder gentler internet" or some such rubbish that folks who use their real names will somehow not be (gasp) cyberbullies-- that's just stupid.  If Google has decided this on the basis of their marketing needs, desire to sell our names to mailing lists (hey, the V.A. does it) then we should have the option to opt out.
(4).  If someone is looking for my legal name, I want them to have to think about it first for at least a minute.

So Google Plus, you fail.
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