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The Google+ Name Game Continues 171

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cmdrtaco-banned-for-impersonating-celebrity dept.
theodp writes "'Sticks and stones will break my bones,' the old nursery rhyme goes, 'but names will never hurt me.' Unless, of course, you're on Google+. While touting what it calls a move toward a more inclusive naming policy for Google+, the search giant's Name Policy would still make Sister Aloysius Beauvier smile. Names like 'Doctor Stan Livingston,' 'Bill Smithwick DDS,' and 'Rev. Jim Copley, S. P.' are cited as examples of violations that could cost you your Google+ privileges. And since new Google account users are reportedly now forced to join Google+, one wonders if the Name Policy might even preclude one from establishing one of those adorable dear.sophie.lee or dear.hollie accounts."
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The Google+ Name Game Continues

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  • I think this news article is much larger news: New Google account users forced to join Google+ [msn.com]

    So not only is Google inflating the number of users on their social network so they can boast millions of users, they are forcing everyone to make a profile that is public by default. How can you take Google's number of users seriously when you know they are only what they are because Google pulls tricks like this? And surely this is a seriously evil thing to do, too.

    I hope your torches and pitchforks aren't nearby, because Google — the Company That Claims It Does No Evil — is doing something that might make you want to reach for 'em. Apparently the search engine giant is now forcing new Google account users to join Google+ and Gmail.

    Until now, creating a Google account was quite simple. You could either use an existing email address or create a Gmail account.

    The newly redesigned sign-up process for Google accounts now includes fields which ask for your name, gender (required, thanks to Google+) and mobile phone number (optional). Once you've got those fields filled out, you're led to a page which asks you to create your Google profile — better known as your Google+ account.

    There is no option to skip this step and avoid the creation of a Google+ account (and a Gmail account), which is something you might want to do if you're interested in using only some other Google services.

    • by snotclot (836055) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:36PM (#38811127)
      Alright, well who cares? If Google shoots itself in the butt by destroying / tying in social with its search, a new search contender will most likely step up and fill the 2nd place void. Maybe it'll be Bing.

      Just let the market correct itself.
      • The irony. I left the Hotmail account I had for many years for Gmail because Microsoft tried to shoehorn their social networking into Hotmail, by default instead of politely asking.

        I'm not as activist as I used to be, though. If Google does force me to participate in Google+ using my real info, I'll migrate all my mail and data out and change my name Gaygle R. McFaggots, with a picture of Larry and Sergay as my profile pic.
        • by mtrachtenberg (67780) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:06PM (#38811593) Homepage

          Oh, goodness, they must be terrified. You must have been some activist.

        • by CCarrot (1562079)

          If Google does force me to participate in Google+ using my real info, I'll migrate all my mail and data out and change my name Gaygle R. McFaggots, with a picture of Larry and Sergay as my profile pic.

          lol, you used your real name for your google/gmail account? silly rabbit. :)

          No, I hear you. Even though nothing attached to my gmail or google account(s) actually bears my name or any true demographic data about me at all (I'm not a very trusting person), I'll be watching for something less invasive to hop onto in case this is retroactively enacted. Hotmail chased me away with similar shenanigans years ago, it's a shame that google's trying the same tricks on for size...

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            I used to use my real name on my gmail account, but they yanked the account without telling me why. BTW, mcgrew is my real name. Been using it for six decades now, why should I change? Cowardly kids! Sheesh...

            • by CCarrot (1562079)

              I used to use my real name on my gmail account, but they yanked the account without telling me why. BTW, mcgrew is my real name. Been using it for six decades now, why should I change? Cowardly kids! Sheesh...

              Hey! How did you know what the extra 'c' stands for!?! You bin following me around, or sumpt'in? :p

              Props for keeping it real though, sir (or madam). I'm thinking the online environment has changed somewhat in the last couple of those decades, no? It sure feels like it has to me...when I first went online, I was much less squeamish about mixing online with IRL data. Now, however...nope. Too much unfocused anger and chaos abounding, and all it takes is one asswipe script kiddy with a grudge to make ones

              • by mcgrew (92797) *

                I'm thinking the online environment has changed somewhat in the last couple of those decades, no?

                It sure has! I was on Compuserve's walled garden in 1982, and it was pretty much useless. BBSes in the late '80s and early '90s were very useful, especially to someone into computer gaming as I was. But IMO the golden age of the internet was just before and after the century's turn, when almost all content was user generated and there was almost no commercial activity. Banner ads here and there, and people compl

        • by HJED (1304957) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:22PM (#38814383)
          Alternatly you set your age on your google account to under 18, the only thing it does is turn off google+
      • Google does far more than search. Who is likely to replace YouTube any time soon?
        • Someone, anyone and soon I hope. Seriously, Youtube is a hellhole. HTML5 support is crappy and seems to be getting worse, video not loading or sound out of sync,etc. That's when Youtube has deigned to actually create a h264 version. The flash isn't much better, I even get "plugin errors" on Chrome while loading video. Then there's the fact anyone can just send a threat to Youtube and they'll roll over and delete a video, or mute it or block it in countries seemingly at random. I'm really getting sick of the

      • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:19PM (#38811815)

        We all care; If Bing has to try to beat Google by getting better then there is hope of better things. If Google loses to Bing by getting worse then Microsoft won't feel any need to work to improve things.

        Remember that Netscape, once they realised that Microsoft had found a way to destroy them with illegal market manipulation, panicked and started to rewrite their whole product which meant that, even if the US justice department had intervened earlier, there would have been little left to save.

        I just went through the Google registration process. The whole article is a lie, of course; as you would expect from any Microsoft associated publication; your Google+ account is only activated later on by explicitly signing up. Unfortunately even I, who have done Google registration quite a few times, didn't realise that until after I had signed up for Google+ with my new account. I have verified that even if you make the same mistake as I did you can trivially delete your Google+ features from your Google account.

        Summary: as usual recently the first post is someone who manages to get Microsoft sponsored lies into place. Unfortunately Google opened themselves up for this by having an unclear registration process.

        • "I just went through the Google registration process. The whole article is a lie, of course; as you would expect from any Microsoft associated publication; your Google+ account is only activated later on by explicitly signing up. "

          Perhaps, but I would not be surprised if they did this. I used to have a youtube account. At a point, i was forced to get a google account as youtube was purchased by google. I dont consent to anything google does, but you need a google account to have access to ANY of their servi

      • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:33PM (#38812787)

        Just let the market correct itself.

        No.

        No.

        No.

        I'm sick of hearing this idiotic philosophy. The market does not correct itself. If 1% of your faith in 'the market' were of any merit, then people would have been leaving Facebook in droves due to all the privacy gaffes they've had. Let's face it - people are stupid, nobody cares about their own privacy, and living by some stupid appeal to the majority will only make that the de facto standard.

        Why is this a problem? Because if everyone uses Facebook/G+/whatever, then everybody else has to start abiding by their idiotic terms, because eventually, all the employers/social groups/universities/etc. start using these abusive services too and make it so that you have no choice. Some groups choose to conduct all their business on Facebook - to me, they might as well not exist as nothing will ever make me sign up for that piece of shit. So don't talk about letting the market correct itself - the market is pretty much always wrong, and it has terrible consequences.

        • by Asic Eng (193332) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @06:34AM (#38816693)

          Even if the market did work, it would do so by:

          • 1 - people being annoyed about something
          • 2 - people discussing their complaints, making others aware of the problem
          • 3 - people deciding to switch to an alternative in significant numbers

          Telling people not to complain as the market will take care of it, basically advocates skipping the step which would make the market take care of it. It really makes no sense.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Maybe Google should change its name to Microsoft. They are acting increasingly evil (forcing people to open google+ and youtube accounts they don't want).

        >>>"Just let the market correct itself."

        Just let the consumers dump Google and pick another search engine.

        That's a better way of putting it. We free market proponents need to be more careful how we phrase things, because there are idiots like Thom Hartmann who say we believe in fairies and "invisible magic hands".

        It's not an invisible hand. It'

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:37PM (#38811137)

      There is a way to avoid creating a google+ account when signing up. Just go to https://accounts.google.com/NewAccount

      • by Christopher B. Linn (2560089) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:41PM (#38811211)
        That's the old new account url that will be discontinued soon. They're replaced it with the new one in almost every service already, they started with gmail yesterday. I'm sure the change will be done soon.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Use a Google Apps for Domains account. You need your own domain name, but most people on Slashdot probably already have one. Once you have your apps account set up and working with your domain, go to the Google Apps Dashboard, Organization and Users, click the services link then scroll down and turn off Google+. Problem solved.

          • by alexo (9335)

            What is the benefit/drawback of Google Apps vs. the regular Google accounts?

    • by The MAZZTer (911996) <<megazzt> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:38PM (#38811147) Homepage

      I think we're jumping the gun here if we assume Google is going to count all users as active users, especially since they haven't actually done this yet. If they do do this that's another story, but they could just as easily use a more fair criteria for counting users, such as perhaps only counting users who have visited Google+ specifically N times over the past month or have shared content over Google+, etc.

      Other than that issue anyway there really is no big deal about forcing Gmail and Google+ account creations. If the new user never uses them they won't even know they exist (though the public profile bit does trouble me some), so it seems to me Google is just trying to streamline the account creation process.

      • by houghi (78078)

        especially since they haven't actually done this yet.

        OK. That is a relief. The best way of action is always to wait till things happen. Right?
        And Opt-in is always good as long as I don't have any other choice?

        Just streamlining the account creation process? Are you working for the Google Marketing Department?

      • In Google's earning call 5 days ago they claimed that 60% of Google+ members "engaged" daily and 80% weekly. After being pressed on the issue they confirmed [arstechnica.com] that they were counting Google+ members who accessed any of their services at least daily/weekly, not just ones who visited Google+ daily/weekly.

    • by dward90 (1813520) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:40PM (#38811193)

      Going to invalidate my mod points (I already modded you informative) just to give a clarification:

      I tested this out myself, and it's true that it takes you to a page to create your google plus account, and does not give you the option to skip. This is terrible design.
      However, if you just leave the bloody page, you have a google account without g+.

      • by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:54PM (#38811395)
        You can also delete the G+ profile. Took me about 30 seconds to figure out how, and about 5 to actually do so.
      • I think this is a move towards making Google+ their main service and not gmail. To laterally integrate their services everything tying to the G+ profile would make it simpler to use. Look at facebook. Messaging in fb takes a back seat as just a part of your account. G+ needs this to compete. facebook is just easier to use than G+ to the average user.
        • by Cruciform (42896)

          Most likely. How many young people today use email as we know it. Now it's texting and wall posts to communicate with each other. It makes sense for a corporation to herd their users in the direction the majority are moving. Yes, some will get upset and jump ship, but it's more cost effective to focus efforts than to try and please everyone.

          • Well pleasing everyone usually ends in pleasing no one. A company is tied to its branding and usually that means a need for a unified platform. The problem with this is to the general user/consumer a single platform offering too many choices becomes confusing. I think creating multiple brands to serve multiple needs would be the way to go. Google is in a position where it is riding all its work on the Google name. They could do well to split off service categories into different brand offerings. So offer Gm
        • I don't mind it too much... I mean, Yahoo did essentially the same thing for all their users well over a decade ago. It was actually a nicer integration than google's current efforts. I left Yahoo when they started selling your email address faster than you could opt-out.
      • Still, this borders on abuse of monopoly power.
    • I just created yet another google account. For gender, you can choose other. I used a fake name, a fake birthdate, a fake country, and a fake gender.

      I could use all this info to set up yet another slashdot account, however 1 account is fine for me. How about you?

      So, can someone explain to me how this is bad?

      cheers,

      • The T&C stipulate you must not provide false information.
        "So what?" you say.
        It means they can then in the future remove your online identity at a whim.
        Fine you can then create another, but what about all the info you have on/in the account? If there was nothing of value in the account there would be no point in having that account.

    • by DeadboltX (751907)
      At least they make it easy to delete your Google+ profile and data [stackexchange.com].
    • by Tacvek (948259) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:04PM (#38813771) Journal

      That is bullshit. Not only is there a clearly visible skip button in the image on that story, but I just created my fourth google account (via IGoogle) and never even saw that screen.

      If I go to http://www.google.com/accounts [google.com] to create one, I am indeed forced to get GMail, but I can still skip the Google profile by unchecking the "personalization" checkbox on step one.

      Furthermore, once you have a Google account with Gmail it is possible to delete the Gmail account while keeping the rest of the account (you must supply a non-Google email address, which will become you new sign-in email address.)

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      So not only is Google inflating the number of users on their social network so they can boast millions of users, they are forcing everyone to make a profile that is public by default.

      Great point. I just +1'd your post.

  • by vlm (69642)

    I'm a little unclear on the failure mode here. If I am forced to create a G+ page using my real name that I won't use, then, um... well, uh...

    • It's the fact that you have to specify your real name and gender. You didn't have to in order to have a Google or GMail account before.

      • by vlm (69642)

        You have to specify something that looks like a real name, and select a gender, you mean. They don't run a background check on you or require a notarized sig.
        The other problem is we're back to ... so they know my name, or at least they think they do... um... whatever?

  • by rapidreload (2476516) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:46PM (#38811299)

    And since new Google account users are reportedly now forced to join Google+

    Not quite. There are ways to create a Google account without Google+ being tacked on.

    For example, if you go to http://mail.google.com/mail/signup [google.com] and create a Gmail account, it will automatically make a Google account as part of the process (of course). However using the above link does NOT automatically create a Google+ account. I know this because I did so yesterday, as I specifically wanted to make a new Google account without G+.

    Of course, you need to know this either through research or someone telling you beforehand. All other ways of creating a Google account seem to force G+ unfortunately. Google sucks sometimes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For example, if you go to http://mail.google.com/mail/signup [google.com] [google.com] and create a Gmail account, it will automatically make a Google account as part of the process (of course). However using the above link does NOT automatically create a Google+ account. I know this because I did so yesterday, as I specifically wanted to make a new Google account without G+.

      All of which is moot - I just tried the same thing, and in order to create the gmail account, it wanted a real-world phone number.

      As a practical

      • I just tested with the signup from the gmail page and required fields for personal information are first name, last name, gender and DOB. None of these have to be correct as the account I made has a name of test test and was born 1 Jan 1912. It also did not link to a google+ account or create a public profile
  • I know people are going to be beating the 'is google evil?' dead horse once again, but let me point out the more obvious reason for Google's name idiocy - they're a full blown beuracracorp now, so they have no need for quaint notions like 'flexibility' or 'individuality'.

    There's no reason for Google to take into account the complexities and strangeness of life, when they can just make people fit their views, like the immigration officers at Ellis Island who would substitute 'normal' American names for stran

  • by Sarusa (104047) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:23PM (#38811887)

    Till they stop acting like Schmidt-heads. Really, this grudging half-assed crap is hardly better than the Real Name Policy, it just makes it easier policy-wise for them to make exceptions for celebrities.

  • Allow it both ways (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:37PM (#38812073) Homepage

    They SHOULD allow titles. But it would make sense to appropriately tag the title apart from the name. There should be a place to enter a prefix title and a suffix title. Then in places where it is appropriate to display a name without title, it can be omitted, and where it is appropriate to display a name with title, it can be included. Searches can be matched both with and without (I know Google knows how to do that).

    • They SHOULD allow titles.

      They SHOULDN'T allow titles. There, I just won my argument by using all caps.

      • by hazah (807503)
        He, unlike you, provided an argument. The caps had nothing to do with it.
  • by joh (27088)

    Google should just turn that into a feature by gifting a S/MIME certificate to every user with an authenticated real name and of course support this with Gmail. This way you could finally have encrypted and/or signed email for free and would have a social network account you can use for everything you want to have published provable by you.

    I will never understand what's wrong with having a social network that insists in real names. There are more than enough offers for services and networks that just allow

    • by PPH (736903)

      There are more than enough offers for services and networks that just allow everyone to pretend to be someone else. If you want to be anonymous or pseudonymous, use something else then.

      What a coincidence. Over on my social network, they ask that I use my real name. They say that if I want to pretend to be someone else, use Google+ for that.

  • by Dave Emami (237460) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:05PM (#38813179) Homepage
    What exactly is Google trying to accomplish with their "real name" policy, anyway? I don't see what they hope to gain that's even worth the trouble of enforcing it, not even considering the ill will they're piling up.
  • My "google services" are already too easy to tie together, I'm under the impression whatever my google+ account name is set to, applies to all my google services.

    I don't want my blogger / youtube / gmail / god knows what else I have all tied together.
    I know they are now, yes and in some ways, it's really convienient but damn I wish I had seperated some of the accounts or used a different name at times. I don't need them closer tied.

    Facebook is / was a time sink, I gave it up and genuinely don't miss it, I'

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