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Schmidt: G+ 'Identity Service,' Not Social Network 417

Posted by timothy
from the not-my-favorite-of-google-moves dept.
David Gerard writes "Eric Schmidt has revealed that Google+ is an identity service, and the 'social network' bit is just bait. Schmidt says 'G+ is completely optional,' not mentioning that Google has admitted that deleting a G+ account will seriously downgrade your other Google services. As others have noted, Somewhere, there are two kids in a garage building a company whose motto will be 'Don't be Google.'"
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Schmidt: G+ 'Identity Service,' Not Social Network

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  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @11:41AM (#37234010)

    will be sued the second they stick their heads out cause someone holds a patent of a fucking text entry box

  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @11:41AM (#37234012) Homepage

    On one hand, I cannot believe Google is doing this.

    On the other hand, I cannot believe I fell for Google's "Don't Be Evil". While I used to wish for Google Wallet to come out and take over from Evil Paypal, at least, with Paypal, you know what they are doing. Always doing everything they can screw you over.

    Google promises you with sweetness and honey... and then betrays you, which is even worse.

    And for everyone who says you don't have to use G+ - it is *NOT* G+, it is Google Profile that is the problem, G+ is a component of Google Profile. If your Google Profile is disabled, a shit load of other services are impacted. Yeah, don't use Google. Sure.

    Looking for alternatives now.

    • by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @11:48AM (#37234060)
      An optional service that is tied to other optional services.

      You mad about your free optional services bro?

      I use google for email, maps, and homepage for RSS feeds.

      Any of those are taken away, I can find alternatives very easily.
      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        It's not that there are no alternatives. It's that I have become used to Google, and their interfaces are clean. Remember search before Google? Page full of crap.

        Same kind of thing with all the other things.

        • The UI was why I switched to Google, and why I switched form Google. The last straw was when they broke the text entry field. On every other text field in the system, up arrow jumps to the start, down arrow jumps to the end. With the Google search field, up arrow does nothing, down arrow invokes some autocompletion crap.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sourcerror (1718066)

        If you used Gmail as your primary mailbox/frontend then it's quite painful. Yeah, it was free, but it's self defeating to punish people for trying out G+. I didn't for exactly this reason: I don't want to play with fire.

        • by strength_of_10_men (967050) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:21PM (#37234316)
          From the TFA:

          Why are there reports that people lost Gmail access from earlier G+ account suspensions? Did Google actually do that, or were people confused somehow?

          Google: Gmail suspensions are unrelated to Google+ suspensions. It's possible, and an unfortunate coincidence, for users to have both products suspended at the same time, for separate reasons. Earlier in the summer there was some confusion around SMS verification, which we addressed here.

          I am considering "downgrading" my G+ account after reading this but let's not spread any fud here.

          Having said that, I'm not quite sure why Google is being such a dick about this real name policy. It's really quite possible that they already know exactly who you are so they have all the info they need, so why give yourself such a bad buzz (pun intended) about this anal-retentive real names policy.

          • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:41PM (#37234428) Homepage

            It's really quite possible that they already know exactly who you are so they have all the info they need,

            Then they would already have known that Violet Blue was really Violet Blue. This and other cases indicate that they (and Facebook) haven't the foggiest idea exactly (or even approximately) who you are. And don't care.

          • by berwiki (989827)
            Ok, so for you, GMail wasn't suspended. But someone might desperately need Picasa for work, or access to Google Docs.

            Point is, maybe they didn't suspend GMail this time, but this is a pretty big issue.

            If your account goes into violation, you should have 96 hours to PREVENT things from being shut down. To shut it down immediately, and without warning, is just plain wrong/evil.

            And your argument is that they didn't suspend GMail this time. But this is a very bad precedent. Blocking Gmail would probably
          • by Bieeanda (961632)
            It's been said before, but it should be repeated again and again: marketing. Not to you, the end user, but to Google's real clients who will fork out good money for fine-grain demographic information. This is Google's means of guaranteeing that the data they're selling is good. Someone who fills out a Facebook account as 'Dik Hz' is giong to know damn well what their ultimate source of spam and bulk mail addressed to Mr. Hertz is, and will be inclined to just toss it at first glance. Mail and e-mail that ar
      • by houghi (78078) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:38PM (#37234406)

        It is not free. It is costing you your privacy. Apparently that is not worth anything to many people.
        Privacy is the last freedom we have and we are handing it over as if it was never ours to have.

        • and we are handing it over as if it was never ours to have.

          you hit on a VERY key issue; and by that, I mean age.

          many people who are online have grown up with there 'always being a high speed internet' that they have easy access to.

          many have grown up not knowing what it was like to have privacy due to it being too much physical effort to surveil or too costly. now, with many of the g services its all too easy to have people spy on each other and of course have companies spy on you.

          but a long time ago (20 yr

      • by grumbel (592662)

        Any of those are taken away, I can find alternatives very easily.

        What alternative do you use to communicate with people on Google+?

        Unlike email where you have an open standard and plenty of provider to chose from, you don't get that choice on Facebook or Google+, either you are with them or you are locked out of that piece of communication infrastructure.

    • Been using alternatives a while ago. That includes Chrome and a zillion other services Google provides.
      Google does evil, well duh, like everyone elses before when they become too big. And after that, they usually fall.

      So far the only sensitive thing I have seen to counter that is to force the company into separate entities. It's what Samsung does, actually. It's not perfect - at all - but it's an attempt I suppose.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      In capitalism and fascism, the powerful betrays the consumers/subjects. And exploits them.
      They only bullshitted you, when they, between the lines, said something like: you have a choice.

      It reminds me of a George Carlin bit called, you have no rights, you have owners.

      For the american audience:
      No, I'm not a commie.

    • by poetmatt (793785) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:11PM (#37234242) Journal

      How many times does someone parrot the "oh, they're evil now"?

      because they call it an identity service? really?

      Troll less, please.

      If you want to worry about a company, worry about facebook + microsoft working together.

      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        It's the expectation.

        With Microsoft and Facebook, you *KNOW* they are out to get you.

        With Google, you don't expect it. My G+ profile was in limbo for over a month and I couldn't even get them to take a look at it - the damned "click this and we will review your name" link even disappeared!

        It's like this - when your girlfriend or family spurns you and locks you out - you totally did not expect it, and the impact is far worse.

        • by poetmatt (793785) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:42PM (#37234436) Journal

          wha?

          you can pretty much make your entire profile invisible on g+. change the profile photo to something random, use a fake name, make sure every post is only seen by certain people.

          Do you have any idea what you're talking about?

          Yes, people have gotten locked out but it's rare and fake names *don't* get locked.

        • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:44PM (#37234452) Homepage

          It's like this - when your girlfriend or family spurns you and locks you out - you totally did not expect it, and the impact is far worse.

          If you have an emotional attachment to a free online service offered by an advertising agency you have some real problems.

          • by Kjella (173770)

            If you have an emotional attachment to a free online service offered by an advertising agency you have some real problems.

            If you're on a social network and have zero emotional attachment to the people you're networking with, you got some even bigger issues. By your logic I should also not get upset if I get locked out of my email account, since that too is a freebie offered by a company making money on advertising.

    • Run your own crawler, web/mail server on a plug computer [plugcomputer.org]

    • > a shit load of other services are impacted

      The linked article quotes a Google spokesperson that the services impacted are, all told:

      Google+, Buzz, and some social features of Reader and Picasa Web Albums. For example, on Buzz, you can't create content, on Reader you can't share items with other users or follow other users, and on Picasa Web Albums you can't comment on photos.

      In both scenarios, downgrading from Google+ will have no effect on other Google services like Gmail, Docs, etc.[emphasis mine]

      Am

    • by heson (915298)
      I'can stand the google bundle, IFF I can be a separate entity to each part.

      Therefore, I'm looking for a) a browser with a good cookiemanager or b) a "view 10-50 different browser processes as a tabbed browser".
      b) Here I can start several different instances with their own profile, fully sandboxed by the OS (I hope)
      a) Something that provides the same, but without me needing a new beefy computer.

    • by mmcuh (1088773)
      Don't! Be evil.
  • There it is (Score:4, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @11:49AM (#37234072) Journal

    [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] replied by saying that G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they're going to build future products that leverage that information.

    Straight from the horse's mouth:
    You are the product, not the consumer.

    • Re:There it is (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @11:52AM (#37234094)
      How is this a surprise to anyone?

      Google has always admitted to data mining your information, even your emails.
      Best part is, it is self defeating. Googles anti-spam is one of the best, ad block plus helps with the rest.
      You are crying over spilled milk, get a sponge....
    • Re:There it is (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:02PM (#37234162)

      [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] replied by saying that G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they're going to build future products that leverage that information.

      Straight from the horse's mouth: .

      Except for celebrities (Lady Gag, 50 Cent,etc) who are allowed to use their fake names. And in the ultimate ironic hypocracy, the person in charge of G+ and responsible for the real name policy is Vic Gundrota. Whose is real name is not Vic, it is Vivek.

      • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:10PM (#37234224) Journal

        And in the ultimate ironic hypocracy, the person in charge of G+ and responsible for the real name policy is Vic Gundrota.

        Hypocracy - rule by hypocrites?

        • And in the ultimate ironic hypocracy, the person in charge of G+ and responsible for the real name policy is Vic Gundrota.

          Hypocracy - rule by hypocrites?

          Yes.

      • As far as I know, anyone is allowed to use names "by which people know them". The problem is proving it to Google if they demand it.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        Lady Gaga's real name is Stafani Germanotta, and you had no trouble finding Vic's name. Google is happy to permit brands to be people on G+ insofar as it draws more subscribers...

        The stage name argument is sorta garbage. Stage names offer no proper anonymity. Take it from iluvcapra, "Jamie Hardt, MPSE," born James Hardt.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Come on kids. Keep on buying Android phones and telling everyone Apple is evil!

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Yes, but when I bought my Nexus One, I pretty quickly decided that I hated the UI and ditched it for Cyanogenmod. Which I was able to do with instructions provided by Google itself.

        I think that Google providing the specific instructions to unlock the phone is a pretty good reason to buy the phone. Just don't be stupid and get a phone which can't be easily unlocked in an approved way.

    • by Surt (22457)

      A shocking revelation to be sure. I mean, surely no one has thought that Google makes billions of dollars off free services, and not just by sprinkling magical fairy dust on them.

    • Re:There it is (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:31PM (#37234370) Homepage

      Straight from the horse's mouth:
      You are the product, not the consumer.

      No. Your HABITS are the product. Google is a marketing machine and they sell insight into current, past and future trends in various groups, and for that they need to follow people's habits. That insight is their product. Google however does not sell people; you cannot buy information on any specific person from Google.

      Besides, how is this news? Wasn't it obvious already from before? Did you think Google has trees that sprout cash every spring so they can keep on offering completely free services to people without Google going bankrupt? ALL similar free services monitor their users for anything relevant and share portions of that data forth, Google is in no way an exception or "the one, evil megacorporation out there to suck out your soul" or anything like that.

      As long as Google doesn't sell specific people out and anonymize their data I personally couldn't care less, I'm getting hugely useful services without losing anything and I'm going to continue using them.

      • Google however does not sell people; you cannot buy information on any specific person from Google.

        And hence, they should have no need to tag and track anything about any specific person. Except, they do, and they do need to. Because they sell data about trends within communities of people. So they're in the business of mining subcultures. They want to know 'what is cool' quick enough to be able to rip it off and commercialize it as soon as possible.

        In otherwords, they are activiely in the business of m

    • Re:There it is (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Haedrian (1676506) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:39PM (#37234416)

      You mean straight from the paraphrasing without any verifiable transcript's mouth.

  • Seriously! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @11:55AM (#37234118)
    Would it be too much to ask for people, when submitting a story, to keep their bias out of it and let us form our own opinion. If you want to voice your _opinion_, save it for the comments section. Let's leave story summaries to, you know, summaries.

    This summary couldn't have been more obviously anti-Google biased if it tried. It's utterly tedious trying to stay informed about geek news while being bombarded with such overwhelming biases. Its annoying in the comments section, but that's where I expect to see it.

    I know, I know. I must be new here...
  • Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Albanach (527650) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @11:57AM (#37234134) Homepage

    From the summary:

    Google has admitted that deleting a G+ account will seriously downgrade your other Google services.

    From the article

    In both scenarios, downgrading from Google+ will have no effect on other Google services like Gmail, Docs, etc.

    So the article is at complete opposites with the posted summary. Did the OP just link to the article because they thought more links would increase the chance of story acceptance, or were they deliberately trying to mislead?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and our "citation" is to a Google+ status update. Not an article. Not even a blog post. A status update. The conclusions from this summary don't even follow the post that was linked. This is just... bad.

  • alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:04PM (#37234184)

    Every time a post about G+ or Facebook pops up I am reminded of the good old days of IRC when you could socialize with your friends without going through an evil multinational corporation.
    I can't even count the number of friends that I don't talk to anymore only because they abandoned IRC, or even real life get-togethers, for Facebook (and G+).

  • by trb (8509) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:09PM (#37234220)
    A few months ago, Google planned to tie employee bonuses to their social networking strategy:

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/google/229401282 [informationweek.com]

    Do you think they meant the Google+ identity service?

  • The way to think about this is that G+ is part of a very long list of things that people can do together using Google tools and services. It's the part of the system that identifies a person as a person ('identity service'), really the linchpin of the whole system of person-to-person networking. The "social" uses of this are but one application of the identity service.

  • Tell me about it.

    Signed,

    Google Apps user.

  • Obviously there needs to be real people tied to these accounts, they're not worth anything if they're fake people or pets. Facebook regularly deletes profiles it deems are not "real", too.

    At the end of the day, share what you are comfortable with. It's not like this is Google Mortgage we're talking about, or Google Driver's License. There is no one standing over anyone's shoulder screaming "YOU WILL USE GOOGLE AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!" Google sells information about you...everybody sells information about

  • Firstly, is the first source reputable? I never heard of Andy Carvin. Why is he the only one reporting it?

    Secondly, the reasons which are given are silly:

    "so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they're going to build future products that leverage that information. "

    Google has my Gmail. So it already knows my name. When people who know me send me emails, they generally use my name. If you use it as a primary email and send your CV to companies - then they potentially have a crapton

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @12:41PM (#37234424)

    Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it.

    Exactly right.

    Google may have started as a couple of college students creating a search engine and Facebook may have started as a couple of college students creating a social networking web site. But those days a long gone. Google and Facebook are not in the search or social networking business, they are in the ADVERTISING business. Their business model is now one thing and one thing only: collecting as much personal information about you as they can so they can sell it to advertisers.

    If you really seriously have a problem with this, then DON'T FUCKING USE THEM. Seriously, how hard is that to figure out.

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @02:11PM (#37235094) Homepage

    Mr. Schmidt gets to explain that to the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 21st. [cnet.com] That's on top of Google's other legal problems.

    Google has to be very careful for the next two years, because of the terms of their non-prosecution deal with the Justice Department over the drug ads issue. [googlemonitor.com] This is the one where Google management had to admit criminal guilt and pay $500 million dollars. For the next two years, if Google does anything out of line in the drug-ad area, DOJ can, at their sole discretion, bring felony criminal charges for Google's past actions. Read that agreement between Google and DOJ. Nobody signs something like that unless going to trial would be much worse.

    Peter Neronha, the U. S. attorney who headed the prosecution, issued a statement yesterday. [mainjustice.com] He says that "Larry Page knew what was going on. We know it from the investigation. We simply know it from the documents we reviewed, witnesses that we interviewed, that Larry Page knew what was going on". He went on to say that "this is not two or three rogue employees at the customer service level doing this on their own. This was a corporate decision to engage in this conduct.", and called Google's attempts to control the problem "window dressing".

    Google now has to clean up their act. It's not voluntary any more.

  • Wow, we really are jumping to the worst today. Deleting your G+ account does not downgrade anything else. If your account is suspended it will, at least until the suspension is resolved. That's why I deleted my G+ account, I wasn't prepared to put my real name on it, and I didn't want my other services (Blogger, Picasa, Calendar etc) to be affected. Deletion != suspension. I wish at least the submitter would RTFA.
  • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @02:55PM (#37235376) Journal

    I'm seeing a lot of comments that if people don't like Google's policies, they shouldn't use Google. However, with Google's domination over Internet searching and over public email, it takes a fair amount of work to avoid using Google. And given the degree of social influence Google has attained, it really seems that the proper thing to do about a problem with Google's policies is to confront Google about it, not just run away and hide.

    There was an email bulletin from the Free Software Foundation, complaining that 50% of their subscribers used Gmail. Outside work, almost all the personal email addresses I see in use are @gmail.com. On Slashdot, I'm used to frequent criticisms of Google, lauding of do-it-yourself system configuration, and lots of nerd rage whenever "cloud computing" comes up, so I found the reaction to Ask Slashdot: Self-Hosted Gmail Alternatives? astonishing, in that most of the responses were that the poster should stick with Google Apps for mail hosting, because self-hosting was too difficult. (I had been suggesting to my partner that I thought we should consider running our own mail server on our own Linux box, so I was reading that thread closely. I wouldn't have expected the Slashdot crowd to talk me out of it, but they did.)

    At first, I liked the looks of Google+, because it seemed to show more planning to meet privacy concerns; however, the "real names" policy is a serious problem. If anybody's in a position to effectively challenge Facebook, a service I loathe, it's Google.

    Some people throw around the claim that social networking services are not a necessity. The problem is, the definition of "necessity" is a social construction, human existence is social existence, and with social networking services, you're talking about the deliberate construction of a forum for constructing society. Opting out means a significant withdrawal from contemporary social life, especially for youth -- and this is a global pattern. It's more important when one looks at political developments around the world, of which Google is distinctly aware.

    Opting out of Google services and ignoring the problem is not an effective response.

  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @03:58PM (#37235884) Homepage

    I "deleted" my FB account months ago, and have no intentions of using G+.

    Are there email services out there folks would recommend?

    Are there any email services that use encrypted email on both ends?

    Are they free?

    Looking for recommendations.

    Thanks.

  • by Flipao (903929) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @05:26PM (#37236470)
    Why are we glossing over companies like Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, Lodsys.... who do actual evil, anti-competitive shit and troll Google not because of what they've done, but because of what they might hypothetically do according to someone's blog post?

    Not saying they're saints, but compared to the alternatives they pretty much are.

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