Google+ isn’t playing games with abusers of it’s policies and is cracking down on Google+ profiles that aren’t using legitimate names, odd characters, or contain misleading information.
I personally know what it’s like to visit sites like Facebook or MySpace where you’re looking for an old friend and you just can’t seem to locate them. Some time goes by and you wonder who this odd fellow is that’s chatting with all your friends. You dig into the profile and find a ton of funny images, culture references, and other stuff, but nothing that tells you why this person is chatting with all your friends. Finally you give up and send a message, yep, it’s that old friend you couldn’t find, he’s just using his on-line name because he’s unemployed and looking for jobs.
What a situation! Why does this fellow not have more control over his info so he can use honest information without worry? Technically, at this stage, users of FB/MySpace have the control, but when the companies are selling your info off to the highest bidders, would you blame anyone for feeling a bit shy? On top of that, making the changes needed isn’t clear or easy so can you blame people for trying to sign into Google+ with the same attitudes?
Google+ is trying to understand, they are avoiding outright bans on accounts with ‘nick names’ and issuing warnings well ahead of taking any actions. If an account is a clear violation of Google+ policy, spamming, etc., it’s closed instantly to prevent abuse of the system. They are also taking the time to clearly outline the policy, why you no longer need to hide behind an anonymous identity, and adding methods to include enough info to be found by maiden names, pseudonymous, alternate languages, etc.. should you choose to make any of that info ‘public’ and searchable.
For people who were derailed during the Google+ signup process, you’ll be glad to note that the signup process has been improved to explain your choices more clearly to prevent users from accidentally signing up under a pseudonym.
I have a friend that got fancy with the signup process in my circles, and it’s a bit odd watching his name morph as I interact with him and Google+ is picking between his profile name, his real name, and his GMail/GChat choices.
He’s expecting to get a warning letter soon asking him to unify his name selections with real info, but at the same time he should have the option under ‘other names’ to share his personality a bit.
Some folks on-line think Google+ is ‘missing the boat‘ on what users want, claiming that they won’t bend to Google’s rules to use the service. Personally, if I wanted to chat with a bunch of strangers, never giving up my info, I can name off countless places where that’s possible. Google+ is where I want to connect with real people, have real discussions, and skip all the nonsense that’s typically associated with the trust issues of the past.
If you have a Google+ account, this post (Link removed – no longer available) even tries to challenge the legality of requiring a real name within the EU. While the fellow making the post does not seem to have fully read the user agreement when he joined Google+, missing the part where he opted to accept the rules, he may still have some merit in pushing Google+ to be as flexible as possible.
For what it’s worth, on the topic of trust, I didn’t share an image of my face publicly on Google+. To me that’s a private option because nobody is going to search for me by face, not anyone I’d like to have find me at least. If you’re in the right circles on my profile, you can gaze at my ugly mug all day if you want, just don’t be a creep and take pictures of me sleeping!