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Google Privacy Your Rights Online

Google Launches Identity Verification Badge Scheme 241

Posted by samzenpus
from the papers-please dept.
theodp writes "CNET reports that rather than backing down after complaints about its insistence that Google+ user accounts be opened under a real name, Google has upped the ante and will pin 'verification badges' on users in an effort to assure people that 'the person you're adding to a circle is really who they claim to be.' In a Friday night post, Google employee Wen-Ai Yu explained that the Google+ team is initially 'focused on verifying public figures, celebrities, and people who have been added to a large number of Circles, but we're working on expanding this to more folks.'"
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Google Launches Identity Verification Badge Scheme

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  • But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by garatheus (993376) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:17PM (#37161352)
    I'm getting to the point where I no longer like Google, nor it's products. Verify this, Google+ that, really now.

    Custom hosting is on the cheap (for email), you can use something like DuckDuckGo for searches (not quite as good as some of the others I guess, but still not that bad), and Diaspora (if it ever really gets out) for your social networking goodness (goes with the custom hosting)...

    Ultimately, the largest schlep is the migration from everything-gmail-oriented to everything @domain.name oriented (forums etc).
    • by h00manist (800926) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:30PM (#37161448) Journal

      I guess the only real alternative for the future is insist on complete transparency from all authorities. Because they are going to have increasing "transparency", or rather, espionage, on everything the entire population does, whether or not we like it, approve of it, or legalize it. We can't really control the authorities, they simply state they don't collect any data on our activities, only on crime, but it is just not believable. Technology simply makes it possible and ever easier to collect, sort, exchange, etc, vast amounts of data. And we know well that data tends to go free all over the place, with little control. Our only alternative is to increasingly see more of what they are doing, too.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:45PM (#37161520)

        "whether or not we like it,"

        That's just the thing. We DO like it. Well, I don't, maybe you don't either, but in the aggregate we the public LOVE giving up our privacy and anonymity. We do it voluntarily, in exchange for things we could have gotten without giving it up.

        I've been on the internet a long time. Since the early 80's. I've watched people by the hundreds of millions chose the paths that allow for more monitoring, less privacy, and so forth, time after time after time.

        We GAVE the authorities and the data mining private companies this control. I'm willing to PGP my mail to anyone. I don't use facebook, I block their "like" buttons, I block google's tracking crap, I encrypt my IM conversations with friends. But do other people? Generally no. The internet has turned into a place that allows a scale of monitoring and behavioral profiling that exceeds anything George Orwell could have imagined. It didn't have to be this way. It's this way because we don't care.

        It's a fight I fought for many years, trying to convince people to value their privacy. I lost.

        • We're past 1984? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RobinEggs (1453925)
          Yeah...nice try with the Orwell hyperbole, but until we're voluntarily installing always-on public webcams in our homes and sending our parents to reeducation camps underneath the Department of Justice building I think we're a little short.

          You can make some good comparisons here, no doubt, but it's pure idiocy to say we've gone past 1984.

          And yes, I read the book. Four times. I'm not saying that make me an expert; I'm just staving off the inevitable question.
          • by hedwards (940851)

            Um, dude, 1984 was like 27 years ago. We're way past 1984.

          • by MobyDisk (75490) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @05:14PM (#37163246) Homepage

            Yeah...nice try with the Orwell hyperbole, but until we're voluntarily installing always-on public webcams in our homes and sending our parents to reeducation camps underneath the Department of Justice building I think we're a little short.

            I know what you mean, but think about what they have instead. With the Orwell version, someone had to constantly monitor those screens and listen-in on people. Today, a computer program can scan conversations everywhere automatically because those conversations are already transcribed into text. There could be a program scanning Slashdot right now looking for keywords. In some ways, a telescreen is more acceptable because then someone had to decide they had a reason to monitor someone, then assign someone the full-time 24-hour-a-day job of doing it.

            And yes, I read the book. Four times

            That's a good example. Somewhere, somehow, a computer can now figure that out. But to determine that via a telescreen would require someone to spend years reviewing tapes, tracking your every move.

            • Yeah, I guess you could argue that many types of surveillance rival those of 1984 in penetration and effectiveness, all while being less obtrusive.That's probably a good point.

              I do feel that many conspiracy minded folks miss an important point, however. Government surveillance isn't new or particularly surprising; power corrupts, and sooner or later all governments come to believe they have legitimacy unto themselves rather than legitimacy granted by citizens. Sooner or later all governments intrude heavi
          • "You can make some good comparisons here, no doubt, but it's pure idiocy to say we've gone past 1984."

            Truly. The way has been for quite a long time not "1984" but "Brave New World".

        • "I fought the law and the law won, I fought the law and the law won." - The Clash

    • by arcite (661011) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:43PM (#37161512)
      We will 'purchase' an identity from a low jurisdiction country, like the Cayman Islands for a small price. The privacy package will come with artificial DNA linked to a new persona, a physical identity realistically rendered with the latest human image algorithms, and a voice-box culled from a combination of our favorite movie stars. Using such an Alias will be most beneficial to individual privacy, but won't help Google's bottom line. Increasingly, those who care about the integrity of their identity will have to be social by proxy!
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iamhassi (659463) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:54PM (#37161600) Journal

      I'm getting to the point where I no longer like Google, nor it's products. Verify this, Google+ that, really now.

      Agreed, but isn't this better than what they were doing?

      Before they would ban everyone they thought was fake. Now it appears they'll let you be fake, but you get a extra "This is a REAL Person!" badge if they verify you.

      This is a GOOD thing. So now you can have your fake and anonymous profiles for those that are worried what they say on the internet will get back to their job [google.com], and you can have your "real name" accounts for family and friends.

      Really they should have been doing this since the beginning but better late than never, and this is the first feature they've added that has not been a direct copy from Facebook since Facebook still bans people that they think are fake even though they're real [cnn.com].

      Good job Google+, I might switch to you yet.

      • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

        by cyberfunkr (591238) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @03:11PM (#37162558)

        Where did it say it would allow fake names?

        The article is saying Google will start verifying that names are real. Presumably so that when you "circle" Adam Sessler you're getting the nerd you hoped for and not some random dude in Baltimore.

        Now, if you used a "sorta" fake name (like I tend to only use part of my last name) they will crack down to make sure it's completely accurate. You must be who you say you are and leave anonymity in the dust.

        • They've already been marking "verified" a pile of fake names.

          Whoever is in charge of this is an idiot.

          • Out them now Google so we can verify them. Their PGP keys, SSL certs, etc too.

            Google, you've said yourself people hiding behind anonymity are social criminals. I name these anonymous Verifiers and your customer support department as criminals too.

        • by msauve (701917)
          "I tend to only use part of my last name"

          Your real name is Cyber Funker?
  • Consider someone saying "I demand the right to determine my own Real Name. It's mine after all and I reserve the right to change it. Not that I will, but I don't want some busybody in Google telling me I can't." How do you tell them that they don't determine their real name, and have no choice in the matter, save for deed poll.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:35PM (#37161478)
      I'm not exactly sure what Google is trying to achieve. I think that's part of the problem. It's not enough to say, "Oh, we're just trying to maintain and improve the user experience." That's the same kind of blathering idiocy that outfits like Comcast spew when they perform MITM attacks on their own customers and claim it was just "network management". What kind of community are you trying to build, and exactly what do you, Google, expect to receive in return for your largesse? Is it just that they want to force the use real identities so they can better their profiling, to improve the rate of return on targeted advertising? That's all fine and dandy, I suppose ... but maybe I don't want that. And maybe there's something else.

      Hm.
      • The essential problem is the same thing that killed Friendster and Buzz - it's the common startup failure mode where they decide how they want the users to use the service, the users have their own ideas, and they end up b anning large chunks of their userbase to disastrous effect.

        If you want users, you have to not piss off a huge proportion of your userbase. Stupid startups forget this and die; smart ones realise the users will tell them what business they're actually in. But if the company is large enough, and you have a sufficiently arrogant ex-MS VP on the case, stupidity can run for really quite some time.

        G+ is fantastic software. It's really nice to use. It kills office productivity way deader than Facebook. But half my stream is people outraged at the names fuckup.

        People are seriously talking about leaving all Google services (and posting how-to FAQs). They're even contemplating using Bing for search. Just how toxic do you need to make your brand for people to contemplate using Bing?

        • by darrylo (97569) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @04:45PM (#37163074)

          +1 :-)

          Seriously, I'm peeved enough that I'm actually looking around for decent MS exchange hosting for my iPhone (for push calendars and push contacts, not just email). Apple's iCloud almost fits the bill, but they don't allow the use of other (e.g., personal) domains, so they're out.

          So far, based upon a little googling (is this ironic, or what?), I'm leaning towards exchangemymail or 123together. Anyone have other suggestions, or good/bad comments? (Yeah, it's like $14/month, but I'm willing to pay that.)

          I did think about hosting my own server, but I don't know if I want to do all that work (I do have a static IP that isn't in a blacklist, so that's a plus). I think Zarafa is the only game in town if you want push email/contacts/calendar and the iPhone (IIRC, Zimbra is pretty expensive initially, with the break-even point being something like 4-5 years).

          • Personal data storage locker [alcor.net]. Currently vapour->alpha. Looks interesting and sensible though.

            • by darrylo (97569)
              That looks interesting, but (as you say) it also appears to be a long way from being usable (e.g., accessible via the iPhone's contacts mechanism). I'm not complaining, mind you; while this certainly looks worthwhile, it's still in its infancy, and I need something *now*. :-(
        • Who was banned from Buzz?

          • Sorry, that was me confusing issues. Friendster was kicking users off for not doing as they were told. With Buzz the problem was people being sucked into it and having their GMail network exposed (in some cases putting them in personal danger) without them doing anything, and switching Buzz off not actually switching it off. The similarity is a service designed entirely for the company and not at all for the users, who are then considered annoyances.

    • Note how John Allsup turns someone saying something into a right without question or debate.

      Google is not your personal slave John, they are a company that offers a service under certain terms. As long as those terms do not violate the laws of a country, they are free to have whatever terms they wish. What next, you are going to complain to Ubuntu for forcing you to use a password? Restricting your "identity" to a very narrow range of characters and character length? Do you think every website out there sho

      • Suddenly everyone can see just what a pimple on the ass of humanity you really are when you troll a forum.

        And people searching forums can see what a pimple you were six years ago and confuse this with your present personality. People who pay attention to dates won't recognize people who have repented from their F-wad ways.

        The best game servers are closed, only allowing access to people you really know.

        Then what should one use before gaining access to such a server? Must people play only single-player for months or years until they happen to discover servers through contacts outside the game? Because that's how Nintendo has handled online multiplayer in Animal Crossing: Wild World and Animal

        • And people searching forums can see what a pimple you were six years ago and confuse this with your present personality.

          Around here, in Real Life (TM), we call realizing that fact "Growing up".

      • by houghi (78078) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @01:32PM (#37161868)

        The reason is simple, they want to know who you are so that you will behave.
        That is all google wants I think.

        What they want is to have as much data linked to as many people as possible. If it is verifiable to a person then that data is easier to use and make money from.
        If doing this (for now) for well known people then this will most likely increase the number of followers. This then creates more usable data that can be cross referenced. and soled again.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @01:48PM (#37161970)

        If people were known by their real identity then suddenly one part of the greater internet fuckwad theory falls away. Suddenly everyone can see just what a pimple on the ass of humanity you really are when you troll a forum.

        Unfortunately, if online anonymity goes away, free speech will suffer. You may not agree with his views, but Ward Churchill had every right to publish those views -- and then lost his job when the article was dug up years later.

        Unfortunately, a large number of people are relying on online services to communicate, which has undermined many of the anonymity technologies that were developed in the 90s. The network effects of systems like Facebook and Google+ should not be ignored -- people who want to stay off of those systems may be forced to use those systems just to stay in touch with their friends.

      • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @02:00PM (#37162048) Homepage

        Note how John Allsup turns someone saying something into a right without question or debate.
        Google is not your personal slave John, they are a company that offers a service under certain terms. As long as those terms do not violate the laws of a country, they are free to have whatever terms they wish.

        Google's right to set the terms under which it provides its services is not in dispute, but the fact that Google has the right to do what it's doing doesn't mean its actions are therefore beyond legitimate criticism. In a world increasingly dominated by corporate interests, having corporations behave in a manner consistent with the ideals of a free society is far better than the alternative.

      • Re: Baaaaa (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fyngyrz (762201) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @03:00PM (#37162464) Homepage Journal

        Do I remember the GNAA? Sure I do. I read slashdot at -1 at all times, simply because the moderation here is unbelievably wrongheaded. So I see every troll post. And they don't bother me one bit -- I would much rather see what an Anonymous Coward has to say than subject myself to Slashdot's rather pitiful offering of preemptively devaluing the anonymous remarks. Quite often, the anonymous remarks contain more valuable content than the "highly rated" remarks. Part of that is that moderation here is so badly broken, but part of it stems directly from the fact that as an anonymous speaker, people do indeed have wider latitude in what they can say. I'm not only interested in the things we're allowed, or supposed, to say. I want to hear what people think as they actually choose to express it in the most unfettered manner possible. GNAA? That stuff is utterly pitiful, and takes just about zero effort to recognize and skip over. An anonymous post containing material unsanctioned at the source from someone in Washington, from within congress (yeah, we have posts like that here), or Iraq, or Google, for that matter... now *that's* something I'm interested in reading. And those posts would not exist in the same form if they were signed by Real Name.

        The thing about slashdot is that although the corporate culture leans strongly towards the muzzling of the anonymous, it does NOT enforce this -- it leaves that up to the individual user. So I see everyone. Others choose, that is CHOOSE, to stick with the results of moderation and the default low ranking of anonymous posts.

        Google's corporate culture path here is, apparently, not going to allow the users any choice about how they manage their circles. It would be as simple as Slashdot's "browse at -1" option; "only let people into my particular circle(s) if they have the "real name" thing in their profile, and then allow individual lockouts on top of that. Control it at circle granularity, and it's workable. I could have circles that were unrepressed, and others could bask in the knowledge that so-and-so is using their "Real Name."

        But Google, as you point out, isn't in this for the users. That whole "do no evil" thing? Utter nonsense. As these policies show, when it comes to a choice between money and not doing people harm, money wins. And that *is* a choice they can make. And we can just look at "do no evil" as just another marketing slogan. Which I guess is exactly what it is.

        The one thing consumers -- which is what we are with relation to Google -- have as our little bit of leverage is that we can vote with our value to the company; That's why you won't find me on Google+ (or Facebook.) I've never opted into either one. I always found Facebook's TOS to be odious (yeah, I actually read site TOS declarations) and Google's whole "we must know who everyone is" simply makes me want to be somewhere else where I can interact with the people they leave out.

        When you opt into this real name thing, you're leaving behind those who have been stalked, those who are political rebels or pariahs,
        those who the state (or the feds) have declared outcasts, those on "lists", justifiably or not, people in countries where free speech is a free ticket to a machete party... me, I have no interest in this sanitized "we know who you are" world. That's a very bad, even immoral, choice for me. But I won't say you're bad because you want to go there. I'll just view it as a place containing the people I *don't* need to be listening to. The sheep. The ones who all say the same thing, think the same thing, and are happy to have the ostracized folks living under bridges -- and would just as soon forget they exist.

        I lean strongly libertarian; I think Google should be able to do what they want. But when they do things I consider odious, then *I* get to do what I want, too, and that is to not engage the company in what I consider to be less than good practices. Google+ is odious, as I presently understand it. As long as that is the case, "teh social" is "teh worthless."

        • by bonch (38532) *

          You make perhaps the most important point in this conversation. Google can easily provide the capability for users to set requirements on who they interact with, such as only allowing verified accounts or allowing anyone if they so choose. Google will never do it because they need to be able to guarantee to their advertisers that the personal information they've gathered is legitimate and accurate in order to justify their rates. Search and advertising is Google's core business, and Google+, like every othe

        • Re: Baaaaa (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Delusion_ (56114) on Monday August 22, 2011 @03:22AM (#37165456) Homepage

          This needs to be said over and over:

          As bad as the name idea was in the US, Canada and Europe, it's an absolute disaster for some other countries.

          Some people can create engaging content that many people want to interact with, but would in this country put their job or reputation at stake.

          Some people can create engaging content that many people want to interact with, but in some countries will get them killed.

          Please explain to me why a women's rights advocate in Saudi Arabia should have to give up her privacy to a state which considers her activity to be treasonous.

          Please explain to me why a political dissident in a dictatorship should have to give up their privacy to a state which is known to imprison people for publicly advocating incorrect political ideologies.

          Please explain to me why someone who disagrees with the anti-public-domain intellectual property dogma of the US and other countries should have to risk his freedom in order to discuss ways to subvert that system.

          Please explain to me why I cannot decide who I, as a person, am, and what my "real" identity is. I'm much better qualified to do this than you are, Google.

      • If people were known by their real identity then suddenly one part of the greater internet fuckwad theory falls away. Suddenly everyone can see just what a pimple on the ass of humanity you really are when you troll a forum.

        You present a false dichotomy. Pseudonymity is different from anonymity. Real names are not the only solution.

        There are problems on the internet greater than in real life. But people have walked into neighborhood bars all the time, had group conversations, even pontificated to an audience -- without having to flash a government ID badge on the way in. And their comments weren't recorded in a way connected with their real ID, so that everything they said at the bar was under review by their employer an

      • by Bieeanda (961632) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @04:00PM (#37162844)

        If people were known by their real identity then suddenly one part of the greater internet fuckwad theory falls away. Suddenly everyone can see just what a pimple on the ass of humanity you really are when you troll a forum.

        A part that shows that the 'theory' is bunk. It's not anonymity that allows and encourages people to be assholes on-line. People are assholes to each other on the highway, on the sidewalk, in the schoolyard and in the home. The only difference that the Internet makes is that it's harder to get back at them. You can't take a swing at someone over TCP/IP. If they're being an asshole from across state lines, or even from across the city, are you really likely to track them down and confront them about what they said about your daughter?

        As for being banned from services, forums and the like-- come on. Most of the time it's not a matter of repeat offenders sneaking back in, it's the insane ratio of users to admins, complicated by huge numbers of users and the often spurious complaints they generate per day. Look at Facebook: the amount of TOS-violating shit (including illegalities, sexism, racism and other things we pretend don't happen in polite society) that slurps through their pipes on a daily basis is virtually incalculable. Does Jimmy Crackerfuck really care that somebody is offended by how much he hates Latinos and East Indians? No. Hell, he may even get off on the attention.

      • by Znork (31774)

        There are countless of closed websites where you have to have some kind of proof you really belong to that group before you can start taking part. The reason is simple, they want to know who you are so that you will behave.

        Behaving is a function of the group, it's not an objective standard. A religious fundamentalist on an atheist forum will be considered a troll by many and vice versa. A closed forum doesn't care who you are as long as you have a persistent identity that can be ignored.

        Enforcing public identities creates a situation wherein information appropriate to one forum interacts with and risks ending up in forums where that information is not appropriate.

        Google+ realized the importance of being able to steer informat

      • by GORby_ (101822)

        Well, I do post on google plus using my real name, and I don't know why that should be a problem. I just use something else if I want to remain more or less anonymous.
        Google plus is a tool that I use to share information with friends, family and acquaintances who already know my name. I'm relatively careful about the things I post on the Internet, and don't think I would or should be ashamed about anything I ever said online.
        I've never seen any compromising pictures pop up on the net (at least not with me o

      • by bonch (38532) *

        Personally I think I can see where Google is trying to go with this. If you ever hosted a public forum you know just how bad a problem assholes are. Slashdot knows, remember the GNAA? There is a LOT of work going on behind the scenes to make sure that the posts you read are at least somewhat genuine, not just 100% pure trolls or advertising. That is reserved for certain editors posts.

        If people were known by their real identity then suddenly one part of the greater internet fuckwad theory falls away. Suddenl

    • by Homburg (213427)

      You can use any name you like, as long as you are not intentionally using a name to defraud someone. There may be restrictions on the name you use for certain particular legal purposes (though there aren't in England - to change your name, you just need to start using your new name, a deed poll is just a record of the change if you need official documentation of it).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:24PM (#37161404)

    If, at the same time, they limit or stop disabling accounts that don't use a real name. Having a verification badge as "proof of real name" while allowing the use of unverified, pseudonymous identities (without the badge) is a perfectly fine idea.

    Of course, if they're going to keep up the nonsense of entirely forbidding pseudonymous accounts, this means nothing.

    • by bonch (38532) *

      That won't happen. Google's core business is selling targeted advertising space, and they have to justify their rates to advertisers as well as the value of the demographics being advertised to by guaranteeing that the harvested data is legitimate and that they come from real people.

  • by ByteSlicer (735276) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:24PM (#37161408)
    I'm pretty sure that most of those verified big artists don't even use their facebook/g+ account, but let their marketing team manage it.
    • I'm pretty sure that most of those verified big artists don't even use their facebook/g+ account, but let their marketing team manage it.

      No doubt you're right. On the other hand, very little else about modern media personalities is real either.

      • by Larryish (1215510)

        On the other hand, very little else about modern media personalities is real either.

        Especially the boobies.

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      Its still 'owned' by the celebrity in a way. So that's fine.

      Contrast it to me creating my own account, naming myself after a celebrity and making claims to ruin the person's rep.

      I can already work out how this sort of 'attack' would be done. You create a fake profile, get a large amount of people to add you to your circles and appear above the real celebrity in the results. Someone with enough bots/followers might pull it off. I wonder why anon hasn't tried something like that yet.

    • That depends on which big artists you're talking about. Google has been very, very smart about who they've invited and who they're trying to hook - not just the A-list Entertainment Tonight celebrities, but a variety of big fish in little ponds too. You make not know who Marc Spagnoulo is, but virtually every woodworker on the net has. Ditto for Thomas Hawk. (One of the mostly widely followed photographers/photo writers on the 'net.) Etc... etc...

      And their identities need to be verified every b

  • by Kelson (129150) * on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:26PM (#37161424) Homepage Journal

    This sounds basically the same as the "Verified Account" badge on Twitter that's used to identify high-profile celebrities as not being impostors.

    • by RJFerret (1279530)

      Yes, it just puts a checkmark after the name, which if you mouseover says "Verified".

      Right now the announcement said it's only available for celebrity and hugely followed accounts--so just like Twitter.

      PS: And just for entertainment, many of those accounts are using their common names, not their real names, nor legal names.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "used to identify high-profile celebrities as not being impostors."

      I see, people like Thomas Mapother IV and Robert Zimmerman?

    • Every single person that dislikes this, READ THE ABOVE COMMENT! This is not required for everyone! It's just to prevent people from following fake accounts. Is this so wrong?

  • by TheRecklessWanderer (929556) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:31PM (#37161456) Journal
    I know some thing for sure, I won't be signing up for google plus. You know damn well they aren't concerned with your privacy or protecting you, they just want to use the info you put on google plus to market to you. The more info, the better the marketing. never ever ever.
    • Correct. Same as every "free" service you use on the internet. Social networks just make it easier than trying to track you with cookies, etc because you actually have a identifying login.

      There's no such thing as free. You're paying with your behaviors and demographics.

      I fully support someone choosing not to use a service because they don't care for this bargain, but people who don't seem to understand that businesses aren't in business to give them stuff for free kinda annoy me.

      • by bonch (38532) *

        I fully support someone choosing not to use a service because they don't care for this bargain, but people who don't seem to understand that businesses aren't in business to give them stuff for free kinda annoy me.

        And the groveling attitudes toward Google and its alleged betterment of society that pop up so often on Slashdot annoy me, so it's good to remind everyone now and then that Google is one of those evil megacorps Slashdot hates so much.

        Especially since Microsoft was trashed for years over its use of

    • I know some thing for sure, I won't be signing up for google plus. You know damn well they aren't concerned with your privacy or protecting you, they just want to use the info you put on google plus to market to you. The more info, the better the marketing. never ever ever.

      I often see people justifying the fact that they don't participate in Google+ because of the marketing, but... well, HOW do they market to you anything that they don't already do? I mean, unless you have something that e.g. blocks all Google AdWords then YOU'RE SEEING MARKETING ANYWAYS. You don't suddenly see more marketing once you sign to Google+, you just might see more interesting ads, that's all. And well, why is it bad to see more ads for stuff that might actually interest you? Do you have trouble dec

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:33PM (#37161462) Homepage

    Where does Google draw the line? Do they allow "vanity" pages like is common for bands, non-profit organizations, and small businesses? What about celebrities who don't use their own name. Ex: Can Miley Cyrus create a "Hannah Montana" page? How about "Hulk Hogan" or various rappers?

  • No, no it doesn't help me feel 'safe'. In fact, it does very much the opposite. It makes me feel like my friends are being forcibly outed. It makes me feel like they're being attacked for having unusual names. It makes me feel like they're being attacked for using the name I knew them by because that name is kind of unusual and doesn't show up on their driver's license.

    I'm tempted to just drop anybody who signs up for this scheme in protest.

    • I'm tempted to just drop anybody who signs up for this scheme in protest.

      I'm inclined to agree. Google always seemed to have a better handle on the importance of trust than many others in the online world. I never bothered with Facebook for that reason, and if Google puts me in the position where I don't trust who I have to thank for their services, no matter how useful they are ... well, it's not like social networking is an essential. Some will claim that it is, but that's only because they need psychiatric care. Obviously Google is hoping that enough people will find G+ suff

  • Currently there is nothing to stop me from making an account called "Larry Page", putting up a few images of him and then making outrageous claims about how Google plans to sacrifice puppies to Cthulhu.

    This verfication thing is for celebrities and famous people- so if you find your favourite celebrity's page, you can be sure its really that celeb and not an 'unofficial fan page' or someone faking the name or whatever. Its a useful feature. Enough of the FUD.

    • Currently there is nothing to stop me from making an account called "Larry Page", putting up a few images of him and then making outrageous claims about how Google plans to sacrifice puppies to Cthulhu.

      Yes there is, you'd be sued for breaking your NDA. Those plans are available only to a very select group.

  • Google Hypocrisy (Score:2, Informative)

    by TrueSatan (1709878)
    I wouldn't touch G+ with an infinitely long bargepole anyway but on top of that it shows their utter hypocrisy as regards real names...consider their rejection of South Korea's demand for use of real names (Real Name Verification Law)...the following link discusses this issue in more detail if you are interested: http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2011/08/google_refuses.php [siliconvalleywatcher.com]
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:47PM (#37161546) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like they have grown too large and really don't care what their 'customers' think ( yes, i know their *true* customers are the companies who advertise, but you get my point ). Time to find another "service" provider.

    • Sounds like they have grown too large and really don't care what their 'customers' think ( yes, i know their *true* customers are the companies who advertise, but you get my point ). Time to find another "service" provider.

      That's a good idea. I hear there's this thing called "Facebook" ...

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        I meant that in a general sense, not specific so this would also include gmail, gdocs, market, etc. Too bad you cant easily uncouple android from those services.

        Time for an open distributed search engine too. ( tho that might already exist.. )

  • by Yaa 101 (664725) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:49PM (#37161562) Journal

    All the celebrities get a hefty monetary reward for giving up their privacy and now they expect us normal people to give it up for nothing (our only reward will be harassment).
    Screw them...

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @12:57PM (#37161628) Journal
    While I deeply dislike the increasing trend(among Google, facebook, et. al.) to try to pin real IDs to users for fun and profit, I do think that there is one upside:

    Historically, people have vastly overestimated the degree of anonymity they enjoy on the internet. IPs are pretty readily geolocated(and ISPs certainly don't have any trouble correlating them with CC details...), correlation of snippets of social networking information can be quite powerful, persistent tracking cookies and similar trickery do their job, and so forth.

    In a way, then, the more visible, public, deployments of real-name requirements, automated facial recognition, etc. are really a public debut of what the pros have already had on virtually everybody who isn't a cypherpunk or a hermit for some time now. Hopefully public squeamishness will prove useful...
    • Well, you are quite anonymous towards most other people. Not law enforcement, but the average Joe out there cannot really determine where you're coming from, and even if he gets your IP address, it doesn't readily give him a real address or a name to it. For pretty much everything that doesn't allow the other side to call the ISP or law enforcement into the game, de facto anonymity exists. Of course you are not, and have never been, completely anonymous, untrackable for anyone, but that's not even required

      • It is a much bigger change in that respect, as you say.(A delight, no doubt, to everyone with a potentially-homicidal psycho ex, hypersensitive employer, or school whose admins treat it as axiomatic that every red cup contains booze...) I'm not even one of those, and I still think that the trend is not a good one. Alias stability is useful(ie. short of breaking my password, nobody can impersonate 'fuzzyfuzzyfungus' on slashdot), so it is possible to assign consistent evaluations to aliases; but the case for
  • So, does everyone get a badge? They claim they have a real name policy, yet only those with real real names get badges.

  • Let's see... as a general plan, when you're trying to move in on someone else's turf, usually you have to offer something the other one doesn't, or you have to do it better, or more convenient. Why? Because everyone is already on the other thing that you try to oust, and you have to give them a good reason to come over to you. Twice so if the main reason for being there is that everyone else is.

    Where exactly is Google+ better than Facebook? It's the same crap from a different company. That it happens to be

    • by Red_Chaos1 (95148)

      Clearly you haven't tried Google+ or you'd know how it was better than Facebook. But hey, go ahead and jerk your knees and waive your arms and say G+ is crappy all because you heard something on the Internet.

  • Does anyone actually use Google+? I signed up and then immediately stopped using it. Let them drop my account if they can't verify my identity. Google+ just isn't something I'm interested in, and if they want to enforce rules that I don't want to obey, I just won't use it. If they do that with my email, then I will just move to another service.

  • by theodp (442580) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @01:12PM (#37161736)

    From whois.net:
    Registrant:
                    Dns Admin
                    Google Inc.
                    Please contact contact-admin@google.com 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
                      Mountain View CA 94043
                    US
                    dns-admin@google.com +1.6502530000 Fax: +1.6506188571

  • Google has spent the past several years (a) getting millions of people dependent on their services first anonymously, then (b) with pseudonymous accounts that tie people's activities all together. People and companies use Google for searching (Log in to "personalize" your results; having Google keep your "search history" is great convenience, right?), emailing, storing sensitive documents, uploading photos, planning their movements, marking maps with locations both public and private, and probably a bunch o

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @01:41PM (#37161932) Homepage

    As I point out occasionally, many, if not most, of the problems with web spam, phishing, etc. on the web are because Google doesn't verify the identity of the business behind a web site.

    Businesses don't have any right to anonymity. Even in Europe. In the European Union, businesses come under the European Directive on Electronic Commerce. [europa.eu]: "Member States shall ensure that the service provider (defined as "any natural or legal person providing an information society service" i.e. a web site) shall render easily, directly and permanently accessible to the recipients of the service and competent authorities, at least the following information: (a) the name of the service provider; (b) the geographic address at which the service provider is established ... (c) his electronic mail address...". The European Privacy Directive is only for individuals. If the search end of Google took a hard line on that, search would be much less spammy. Currently, they can't even keep totally fake business locations [blumenthals.com] out of Google Places. Yes, "Illusory Laptop Repair [google.com] is still in Google Places, right in the middle of the railroad crossing. So are so many phony business locations that it's been covered at length in the New York Times. [nytimes.com] Legitimate local businesses are screaming about this; customers try to find them and end up calling some outsourced lead-generation service, thinking it's a local company.

    Google wants to use Google+ for "crowdsourcing" recommendations. They used to use Citysearch and Yelp for that, but those became too polluted with fake recommendations. The trouble with "crowdsourcing" is that crowds can be sourced. You can buy "likes", "recommendations", and "+1"s in bulk on any of the black hat SEO forums.

    Recommendation systems only work in three situations - when the number of reviewers is huge compared to the number of items being reviewed, as with movies, when the reviewer is known to have bought the product, as with eBay and Amazon, and when the reviewer's identity is verified and their reputation is known. Google seems to be trying for #3. To make that work, they have to tighten the screws on "Google+" users. Tightening the screws on businesses would be more productive.

  • We don't need no stinkin' badges!
  • If you actually read the announcement from Google and watch the short video you will see that this is not even available for the typical non-celebrity/-public figure users. Google is apparently working on making it available to all users, but nothing in the announcement suggests that this is more than a voluntary feature you can use if you want people adding you know that it's the real you and not somebody else. It seems like this would be a very useful feature indeed for public figure types.

    There's no po

  • Uniquely. Always. The eye in the sky will monitor you and look out for you - as long as you do what you must. Or else.

  • Presumably Google developed "plus" to avoid losing the whole world to Facebook. But how can any verification process scale to hundreds of millions of users?
  • I wish everyone would stop trying to half-heartedly re-invent partial subsets of OpenPGP. Just use the real thing, and you can have all you want and a whole lot more.

  • This does not appear to be some mandatory program. It seems to be a complementary service so well known people can show they are who they say they are for the benefit of other users. I mean when you go to a social networking site and search some celebrity, do you really think the 500 results with pictures of the same person are all legit?

    It's not even available to us regular folk yet, and may never be for that matter.

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