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Google Privacy Social Networks Technology

Google+ To End Real Names Policy 235

Posted by timothy
from the just-keep-an-eye-on-the-birdie dept.
bs0d3 writes "After months of Google+ being unsuccessful at taking the edge over Facebook, Google announces a new plan. Google executive Vic Gundotra announced yesterday that they will be 'adding features that will "support other forms of identity,"' a major victory for security and privacy advocates. If Google+ gets rid of their 'real names' policy, they will finally be the social networking site that people will flock to when running away from Facebook." JWZ is a skeptic; he describes as "premature victory" (and much harsher things, too) any rejoicing in the announced policy change, writing in part "My guess? I'll bet they still require you to register with your 'real' name, but then they'll graciously allow you to have a linked nickname or two, meaning they're still fully prepared to roll over on you to authoritarian governments or advertisers at the drop of a hat."
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Google+ To End Real Names Policy

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  • by Ectospheno (724239) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:26PM (#37781348)

    If they really want more users then they should add profile support to Google Apps so the metric crap-ton of people who ALREADY PAY THEM MONEY can use Google+.

  • Re:jwz (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:26PM (#37781354)
    Ho hum... whatever. [joindiaspora.com]
  • Re:Finally.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:30PM (#37781416)

    No .... they are simply trying to disguise the problem in order to suck in more users. Contrary to whatever bullshit they try to spread, Google+, Facebook and all the rest will NEVER implement any policy that actually respects the privacy of users. It will never happen, because their business model depends on selling their users to advertisers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:32PM (#37781462)

    Communication should be open and federated, yet private and protected by strong cryptography.

    Communication is a human right.

    Social networking needs to be seen as something other than an "app" or a trendy buzzword. Why can't we call it communication? Why can't we standardize a protocol for more robust communication than is offered by email?

    Under proprietary services, you'll never be anything more than an identified consumer (even by pseudonym) on the corporate feedlot, for sale to advertisers.

    There will always be a primary key, even if it isn't the same one issued to you by the government (legal name). This is Google - they'll hoover up your phone number, email, address, from you and your contacts, and identify you anyway. Don't kid yourselves. Unless you're a hardcore privacy geek, your friends will leak info, even if you don't. Google is letting you use a pseudonym because they know their datamining is so powerful that they can identify you anyway.

    I don't mind sharing my life, but I'm not going to share it with an advertising conglomerate and any marketroid willing to cough up the required price.

    The things people share on proprietary networks are shared with more unknown third party marketers than with their real, actual friends and family.

    Stop filling out your own marketing profiles. Revolt. You are a human being, not a datapoint.

  • by phoncible (2468768) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:34PM (#37781500)
    Not sure what the big deal is, my G+ account name is a false name; not even a semblance of a real name in fact. Of course, I'm sure google has my real name in their system somewhere, and I'm sure it's tied to this G+ account in some way shape or form.
  • Re:Finally.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ruke (857276) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:35PM (#37781520)
    The "problem" is one of critical mass: there's no reason to use a social networking site unless your friends use the same social networking site. Hell, right now, my G+ pretty much acts as an RSS agregator, allowing me to read updates from nerd celebrities that they're also posting to their blogs, twitter, facebook, and probably two or three other places. My friends are on Facebook, so, if I want to talk to them, or organize an event, I have to be on facebook.
  • Re:jwz (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:35PM (#37781524)
    Diaspora would be cool and all, you know, if it would ever launch. I swear I signed up for that site like 2 years ago, and all I ever get are emails wanting me to donate.
  • Too Late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:38PM (#37781576) Homepage
    They already squandered the publicity and marketing that existed around the launch. In the process, they pissed off many users and made even more suspicious. There is no chance to recover after the major blunders they have made. Google+ is dead now, just like wave, and Google will admit it eventually. The best thing they can do is try to contain that failure so it doesn't spill over into their other, successful services, especially Gmail.
  • Re:Finally.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RazorSharp (1418697) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:39PM (#37781584)

    I agree. They've just been trying to take away Facebook users since it went public. A better strategy would be to look at the market and go after those who don't use Facebook, for one reason or another. Build a solid user base of people who wouldn't consider the alternative, then worry about picking off the competitor's customers. I would guess that most of the current users also have Facebook pages, so they'll default to that since it's the de-facto standard. Having a strong user base that will say, "No, get ahold of me on G+ b/c I don't have a Facebook page" is a much better strategy for keeping the network active. But Google didn't really give many good reasons for non-Facebook users to consider their network other than "We're not Facebook" until now, out of desperation.

    At least it's a step in the right direction, but I'm sure G+ would have been doing much better had they originally tried to allow some form of anonymity. Just look at how many Slashdotters they could have pulled in from the start. These are heavy internet users and clicks are what counts.

  • by Kunedog (1033226) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:41PM (#37781628)
    Until I've seen how the policy is written (and enforced), I have to proceed with caution and assume this is just another trick they've copied from Facebook (i.e. the trick where they announce theoretically improved privacy to the public, but maintain the status quo in practice (and in the fine print)).
  • by EdIII (1114411) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:09PM (#37782114)

    Hey look some 12 year old just saw fight club for the first time.

    While that is funny.... he has made some quite excellent points:

    1) Communication should be open and federated, yet private and protected by strong cryptography.

    Wow. Kind of hard to disagree with that at all. Spot on so far....

    2) Communication is a human right.

    Is there anybody that is really going to fight this point at all?

    3) Social networking needs to be seen as something other than an "app" or a trendy buzzword. Why can't we call it communication? Why can't we standardize a protocol for more robust communication than is offered by email?

    No. Fucking. Shit.

    Right now, Social Networking is derided by quite a few of us here on Slashdot because we don't see it as useful communication. I still see it's use as nothing more than sharing of worthless information and tweets about stuff I don't really want to know. Signal to Noise ratio is not good. Other than some funny pictures and a quips about your daily life, it is just a gaming portal.... Farmville... need I say more?

    It should be communication. Email needs to die, it has served its purpose. Right now, it is just a huge drain on resources since 90% of resources used are to fight SPAM. Sending data through it requires Base 64 encoding, which is the most hilariously inefficient form of data transfer on the planet. I find it useful because it can change any data to be "safe" for transfer between processes mainly because none of the characters inside it are picked up by compilers, interpreters, etc. XML fields wrapped in CDATA can still fail.

    4) Under proprietary services, you'll never be anything more than an identified consumer (even by pseudonym) on the corporate feedlot, for sale to advertisers.

    Is anyone disagreeing with that? It's true. Whether or not you care about is a different argument.

    5) There will always be a primary key, even if it isn't the same one issued to you by the government (legal name). This is Google - they'll hoover up your phone number, email, address, from you and your contacts, and identify you anyway. Don't kid yourselves. Unless you're a hardcore privacy geek, your friends will leak info, even if you don't. Google is letting you use a pseudonym because they know their datamining is so powerful that they can identify you anyway.

    Also true. Data mining has become a new field and a new market. Even if you don't participate, what you are is extrapolated from information provided by people you know. Almost impossible to fight.... unless you don't want to have any life at all.

    6) I don't mind sharing my life, but I'm not going to share it with an advertising conglomerate and any marketroid willing to cough up the required price.

    Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. You want to control who knows what about you. It's called privacy, and deriding the ability to share information with a friend without having it spread across the whole world, intelligence communities, and marketing groups is not fair, and wanting it is not indicative of a tin foil hatter.

    7) Stop filling out your own marketing profiles. Revolt. You are a human being, not a datapoint.

    Why not? Why should you be penalized for having a life by constant bombardment by advertisers and governments profiling you?

    I don't think you should.

    The day I join Social Networking is when I can host my own personal P2P SNS that does not allow any huge corporation like Google to analyze my personal data and relationships.

    It's not easy. It will take time, development, and testing. We can get there and take true control over our communications and turn ISPs into what they were always intended to be... common carriers.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:51PM (#37782926)

    >"I'll bet they still require you to register with your 'real' name, but then they'll graciously allow you to have a linked nickname or two, meaning they're still fully prepared to roll over on you to authoritarian governments or advertisers at the drop of a hat."

    And even if they didn't, it still wouldn't matter. Google can and would likely use its massive infrastructure to track down who each "unnamed" user is and place an identity on each "in the background". It has been proven over and over again that it can be done. Photo recognition, IP addresses, browser cookies, access behavior, linked accounts, phone numbers, etc, etc, etc. With enough CPU power and data (both of which Google has) it won't take them long to correctly identify many such pseudo-anonymous users.

    Still, it is a huge victory if they would at least let people use screen names.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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