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Vint Cerf: Google Shouldn't Require Real Names

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the statement-of-intent dept.

Google 113

An anonymous reader writes "In an interview with Reuters, 'father of the internet' Vint Cerf spoke about Google's past push for requiring real names from their users — a stance they later backed down from after public outcry. Google+ and many other services work just fine with pseudonyms, Cert says, and it's better to let users pick the option that works best for them. 'Using real names is useful. But I don't think it should be forced on people, and I don't think we do.' That said, he also firmly believes some services do need true identities from both sides: 'Anonymity and pseudonymity are perfectly reasonable under some situations. But there are cases where in the transactions both parties really need to know who are we talking to. So what I'm looking for is not that we shut down anonymity, but rather that we offer an option when needed that can strongly authenticate who the parties are.' Still, the matter of pseudonyms on Google+ seems to be settled internally, at least for the moment. Cerf said, 'There was a debate on this subject and it was resolved. ... Our conclusion was that choice is important.'"

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113 comments

Of course says "Vint Cerf" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084551)

If that even is his real name. I mean, "Vint"? Seriously?

Re:Of course says "Vint Cerf" (1)

dintech (998802) | about a year ago | (#43085515)

Who cares, it's good news for you AC!

Re:Of course says "Vint Cerf" (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43086615)

Yes, the entire Coward family is quite happy. I just wish my parents had named me Bob or something else instead. My name with an initial makes me look like A Coward.

I think what they should do is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084555)

Mod down anyone who doesn't post under their real name, so nobody can see what they wrote. This system works great!

Re:I think what they should do is (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084681)

Well, not really. The folks who like to launch personal attacks get pretty worked up about it when you post AC and they use a "real" name like "Frosty Piss".

Bud is not my real name, it's not on my birth certificate, or any official ID. Yet that's what everybody calls me every day in real life, and nobody has any problem with it. But go online, and suddenly it's some kind of major issue that I'm "hiding" behind a pseudonym. Nobody seems to get bent out of shape over Mark Twain's use of a 'fake name', etc.

Re:I think what they should do is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084817)

Damn that's a cold-ass honkey

Re:I think what they should do is (3, Insightful)

Drishmung (458368) | about a year ago | (#43086555)

Your name is what you say it is.

Well, since the purpose of a name is to interact with other people, it is more accurate to say that your name is what other people call you. If 'Bud' is what everybody calls you every day in 'real life', then that is you real name.

Now is maybe a good time to post the link to the falsehoods that people[programmers] believe about names. [kalzumeus.com]

It's quite normal to have multiple names: one of my relatives was called by one name by half the family and another name by the other half. Was one of those names not her 'real' name?

If I am known by a nym in a community---a community that I interact with only using that name, then that is my name----in that community.

Want my real name? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084573)

Come and get it.

Change it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084641)

can you change your name in Google+?

Re:Change it? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084749)

I changed mine to deleted after they started wanting your real name on youtube too. (Which was quite a while after they supposedly gave up their real name stance.)

Re:Change it? (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about a year ago | (#43087393)

I changed mine to deleted after they started wanting your real name on youtube too. (Which was quite a while after they supposedly gave up their real name stance.)

Wanting or requiring? As far as the reminders to me, they only suggest it, not require it. If I require you to post your real name here will you stop visiting the site?

Re:Change it? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43087597)

That is getting annoying. I've already rejected the use of my real name (the one I use on my Gmail account, which is tied to my YouTube account) several times and yet they don't seem to get the fucking picture and stop harassing me. There are other things on YouTube that they don't seem to get either, like the little "helper" pop ups that show up in various places since they changed to the worst layout YouTube has ever had, such as the guide menu. When I click "Got it", I mean it, go the fuck away and never come back.

On my Gmail account, they keep bothering me to give them my mobile number, for "security" purposes". I reject it, all is well for a little while, but they keep popping up that obnoxious "security" request. Just fucking stop already.

On Google Play, you can't even rate an app, let alone write a review now because you MUST have a Google+ account to do so, which I absolutely refuse to use. I don't use Facebook, Twitter or any other social media sites either, so I wish they'd fuck off. In addition, they now pop up ads that you must dismiss every single time you download or buy an app from Google Play.

On Google Image Search, results are terrible ever since they did away with the ability to simply disable SafeSearch. Now, you either do a search with anything they deem to be too risque being omitted or you add some kind of qualifier like "porn" or "nude" and only get hardcore porn results, omitting the shitload of things that fall in between.

On Google Search, results seem to be much less relevant than ever. It used to be that I could type in a query, using various operators where desired, and I'd have what I was looking for within the top few results. Now it seems like no matter how specific I am, I almost always have to scroll down or go to the next page.

Fuck Google. I've already decided that my next phone will not be Android based due to all of their obnoxious behavior, I've switched to Bing, I've switched IM over to Skype and I'm seriously thinking about switching to a different email service. The only service that I can't find an adequate replacement for yet it YouTube, because it has the most content and most viewers.

Re:Change it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43090997)

Amen to this !

Wish I had mod points as it's a +10 agree from me.

Did we need Vint Cerf to tell us this? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43084657)

I mean, wasn't this already obvious?

Re:Did we need Vint Cerf to tell us this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084825)

People would probably trust "the guy who invented the Internet" more than their Congressman. At least on this topic. Or maybe on any topic.

Re:Did we need Vint Cerf to tell us this? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084841)

But the article was not about Al Gore.

Re:Did we need Vint Cerf to tell us this? (1, Interesting)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#43084999)

unfortunately "adult supervision" at Google is some what lacking and I am afraid that the mix of hot housed Stanford grads and the infestation of MBA types made the common sense decision hard to make. This is in theory what Eric is supposed to do use real word experience to temper Larry and Sergeis lack of real world experience.

I suspect that the Google culture that spawned issues like this is a factor in why Marissa left

The value of anonymity (5, Insightful)

concealment (2447304) | about a year ago | (#43084665)

The value of anonymity is in the ability to express ideas that are not necessarily socially acceptable, but are contributions to our ongoing resolution of social questions.

When Google starts trying to "civilize" the internet by requiring real names, it's forcing us to associate our free speech with our jobs, families and others who may face retaliation if our ideas are not socially acceptable.

Re:The value of anonymity (4, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43084783)

In scope, google is a private 3rd party service provider for email and a bunch of other stuff. What they require is not legally enforceable or really relevant. Short of having to submit physical documentation to create an account, how do they know the real name I gave is really me? Or a fake alias?

Re:The value of anonymity (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43085529)

The effect is quite a bit more subtle then that. You or I know better but the children of the world begin to believe everything they see posted under a "real name" and the effect is the subtle negative social acceptance of psuedonymity.

Trust me, people at Vint Serfs level of the game of socio-politics have a lot of pressure on them to keep us all organized neatly and thinking exactly a certain way about things.

Re:The value of anonymity (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about a year ago | (#43086515)

Short of having to submit physical documentation to create an account, how do they know the real name I gave is really me? Or a fake alias?

A great question--the answer seems to be "They're Google and they're good at it."

Seriously: Almost every web-site you visit uses their analytics which are now globally mated to your gmail/youtube accounts. Even if you keep your cookies and backtrail clean enough that Google can't identify you when you connect in a session, the first thing they'll do is try to set a cookie to start learning about this new product (i.e. you.) And the first time you slip-up and log into something that knows your "real" name (think Amazon--your account is in your real name because most users are paying via credit/debit-card and have to legally have their actual legal name on the card.

Google knows your real name (or can make a pretty educated guess about what it is) for most users. For the others, there is an "Is 'Captain Mastadon Penis McAwesome' really Captain's name?" feature that prompts your friends to rat you out if you register a "Fake" name. It was a concerted effort that most people probably failed at.

I'd say "good luck!" trying to opt out of being tracked by Google. If you use the Internet for anything meaningful (even if you only use other random search engines) you can't escape from Google Analytics without hobbling your browser's functionality.

Re:The value of anonymity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084949)

The value of anonymity is in the ability to express ideas that are not necessarily socially acceptable, but are contributions to our ongoing resolution of social questions

That's only if said point of view gets equal access and there isn't some gate keeper keeping others out - see mod system here on Slashdot.

Yes, it's nice to be an AC and say things that others are afraid to say under their own names or even under their own pseudonyms (karma and all), but then again, it's easy to be discounted when you don't look like you have skin in the game.

I, as an AC, have been totally buried by a mod when posting things that have, let's say, made me quite a bit of money elsewhere - but here on Slashdot, I'm a Troll.

I find that so Funny and something for the Social Economists.

Re:The value of anonymity (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#43085145)

When Google starts trying to "civilize" the internet by requiring real names, it's forcing us to associate our free speech with our jobs, families and others who may face retaliation if our ideas are not socially acceptable.

Google has no authority, and is not trying, to civilize "the internet". It's trying to apply those policies to its own services, and it has every right to do so. Doing so isn't "forcing" you to associate your name with your speech, unless you are somehow compelled to use Google's services. And in the arena where this applies (social networking) Google isn't even particularly dominant.

The thing about the internet is that it's not some uniform monolith. There is plenty of space for both pseudonymous and real-name services - if you don't like a service that requires real names, use one that allows pseudonyms. You don't have to force every service on the internet to conform to your ideas as to how the internet should operate - doing so is far more of an attempt to "civilize the internet" than what Google's doing.

Re:The value of anonymity (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43090101)

The thing about the internet is that it's not some uniform monolith. There is plenty of space for both pseudonymous and real-name services - if you don't like a service that requires real names, use one that allows pseudonyms. You don't have to force every service on the internet to conform to your ideas as to how the internet should operate - doing so is far more of an attempt to "civilize the internet" than what Google's doing.

Exactly. Both real names and pseudonyms have their place, depending on the service. But Google+ isn't requiring real names, but rather "at least plausible sounding pseudonyms" That's merely hiding the fact that there are pseudonyms in use.

I wouldn't trust a "real name" that has only been confirmed by a checkbox "yes, that' really my real name. Promise. With sugar on top" during sign-up.

Re:The value of anonymity (1)

pantaril (1624521) | about a year ago | (#43090575)

if you don't like a service that requires real names, use one that allows pseudonyms

Or, if you like to use the service that requires real names, use it with fake real name. There is no way they could enforce the rule if you are careful.

Re:The value of anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085401)

Heaven forbid that anyone you know finds out you are a lying, cheating, manipulating thug.

Re:The value of anonymity (1)

Eugriped3z (1549589) | about a year ago | (#43085895)

You mean like casting a ballot in an election? I agree. Profit and the extinction of a reasonable expectation for privacy are the only 2 reasons for requiring your legal name.

Re:The value of anonymity (1)

Eugriped3z (1549589) | about a year ago | (#43086135)

If you were posting buy/sell offers on eBray of CraigsHotList, I could see the value of easily tracking your ID. If you're using a free service and the provider just wants to enhance their own market value, not so much.

Re:The value of anonymity (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about a year ago | (#43087455)

The value of anonymity is in the ability to express ideas that are not necessarily socially acceptable, but are contributions to our ongoing resolution of social questions.

When Google starts trying to "civilize" the internet by requiring real names, it's forcing us to associate our free speech with our jobs, families and others who may face retaliation if our ideas are not socially acceptable.

Anonymity is currently only by obfuscation beyond what joe public cares about. Technically it's feasible to find out who most (not all) of these Anonymous Cowards really are with enough digging. They just want to believe they are anonymous (for most purposes they are).

Perhaps, but (3, Interesting)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year ago | (#43084669)

.. but what Google gives out with one hand, it takes back with the other: nowadays increasingly one cannot open a google account without a valid cellphone numbr for verification- and do not forget all the profiling that happens regardless if one is logged in or not.

Re:Perhaps, but (2)

I-am-a-Banana (940550) | about a year ago | (#43084777)

The other but in this is it is THEIR service. If they ask for a DNA sample to use their service shouldn't that be their choice? And shouldn't then we be free to choose to bend over and take it or go else where?

Re:Perhaps, but (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#43085111)

nowadays increasingly one cannot open a google account without a valid cellphone numbr for verification

Really? I find this hard to believe. My Google account goes way back, so I don't claim to know for sure one way or the other, but I will say that while they've bugged me for my cell phone number a few times, I've never been unable to access any of their services without giving it. Being asked for the number and having to click through the "no, I really don't want to give you this information" box is not the same thing as "cannot open a Google account."

Re:Perhaps, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43086733)

Speaking as a private individual rather than for my employer. The most likely reason that Google asks for a cell phone number during account creation is for account recovery in the event of a lost password. Without a backup phone number or backup e-mail address, Google has no way to help people who get locked out of their accounts.

Re:Perhaps, but (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | about a year ago | (#43085707)

I'm not sure how difficult free pay as you go sims cards are to get in other countries, but they're easily available in the UK. Pop a "disposable" sim card into your phone, create a fake Google account and verify it with that number and then throw the sim card away.

Re:Perhaps, but (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43090153)

Welcome to the ranks of

HELP!!! I used a throwaway phone number and email to sign up to google and can't reset my lost password! I can't access my email and I will sue Google if I lose business! It is their fault that they didn't keep me from being stupid during signup!!!!!

postings. Usually in all caps.

in future, please at least add a warning to "clever" ideas that will backfire later.

Re:Perhaps, but (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#43088423)

...increasingly one cannot open a google account without a valid cellphone numbr for verification...

Google Voice & landline #s worked as of last week. Their system lets you choose whether to send an automated voice call or text message to the number you plug in, and either doesn't check or doesn't care whether the number really goes to a cellphone.

(Not that they really need to take such steps beyond attempting to limit our ability to open new accounts; the contact lists of Android cellphone users & Gmail users alone are probably more than enough to identify our real names & numbers.)

Re:Perhaps, but (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43090131)

..one cannot open a google account without a valid cellphone numbr for verification

It's not only for verification.

Consider the big user base Google has and imagine how important a verified alternative mean of contact is for password recovery. Go to the GMail and count the legions of "Help I lost my password" posts who tried to be clever and use fake information during sign-up and now can't reset their password.

And additional contact information is the way to go. The so called "security questions" are nothing more than a bad joke. No one knows my password (or so I hope), but hundreds of people know the name of my first pet or my favorite movie. And since facebook, millions of people can see that my mother posted her maiden name on facebook. (of course linked to my profile)

Re:Perhaps, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43091055)

These people are stupid so who cares ?

I always use fake information and write my passwords into an encrypted text file (notepadcrypt for the win) so I have to remember exactly one pass phrase. Which is also written down somewhere.

My name is iujn4iutneroiugjoirgj (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084723)

Now that Google requires real names, my name is iujn4iutneroiugjoirgj. (Sometimes I use alternate nicknames such as oim5yo4590rejg09ojog5.)

Re:My name is iujn4iutneroiugjoirgj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43091097)

Mother ! Where have you been !!!!

Good to know (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084741)

I refused to sign up for Google+ all because of the required real name... I was afraid my Gmail account could possibly get canceled on me for not following their rules. Now I look forward to creating a G+ account and using a nickname that friends will know me by, but my boss and coworkers will not be able to search for =D

Re:Good to know (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43090161)

If you don't post any public posts, there will be nothing besides your name and profile pic your boss and coworkers will see.

And you still can post stuff to your friends&family circles.

Fight for your right to not use a real name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084779)

http://nymrights.org/

Google is right - google employee (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084793)

Google employee has declared that the most recent decision made by Google is the correct one.

The Google employee does not accept that the previous Google policy was a mistake, however the methods Google used to force the previous Google policy on users where inefffective.

No Big Deal - I Just Stopped Using Them (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43084807)

Google should be able to require people's real names, their cell phone numbers, their addresses, and scanned copies of their social security cards if they want to. I no longer care what they do.

Still freaked out for that policy... (4, Insightful)

MTO_B. (814477) | about a year ago | (#43084879)

This is the reason I don't use Google+ I have active pages with more than a million users in facebook, opened an account for Google+ when it came out, but I freaked out when I read about them banning users for not using their real names, even losing all other associated google accounts (AdSense, especially). No way I am willing to use Google+ along with AdSense if I sense that in any way something as trivial as using whatever fake name I want can create problems with my account. And hence, another website, with millions of traffic and social followers, does not even promote G+. Just a grain of sand, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. OK, So now, they no longer require this "real name", but even so, your other accounts are not independent. Being banned for any reason (I really never should be, never had any problems in facebook for example, but you never know) would result in ban from gmail and AdSense. If not so, that's the impression I have, and reason I still keep away (even if they probably changed policies). I need to be really certain I will never have such things in danger before I even touch or activate G+ again.

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (-1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43084947)

No you're not the only one. I closed down all my accounts with Google, and do everything I can to avoid using any of their sites. Unfortunately sometimes someone sends me a link to YouTube. But that's about it.

As far as I'm concerned Google is the last tech company I'd trust. I like being the customer, not the product.

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085071)

I like being the customer, not the product.

Google has been quite good so far about not abusing their (rather powerful) position with their users. Of course, it's reasonable to worry that someday that'll change, but it seems to me they have a strong business interest in keeping users happy.

But if you really want to be the "customer" and not the "product", then pay them. $50/year is really quite reasonable. (http://www.google.com/intl/en/enterprise/apps/business/)

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about a year ago | (#43086573)

I like being the customer, not the product.

Google has been quite good so far about not abusing their (rather powerful) position with their users. Of course, it's reasonable to worry that someday that'll change, but it seems to me they have a strong business interest in keeping users happy.

But if you really want to be the "customer" and not the "product", then pay them. $50/year is really quite reasonable. (http://www.google.com/intl/en/enterprise/apps/business/)

Oh, to have mod points.

Cigar! Touchdown!

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085261)

+1.

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#43085885)

This is the reason I don't use Google+ I have active pages with more than a million users in facebook,..

Wait... facebook?! The other massive site with the real name policy? The one showing people their friends profiles and asking "Is that their real name?"

That is the site you prefer to use?

"Facebook is a community where people use their real identities. We require everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you're connecting with."
http://www.facebook.com/help/112146705538576/ [facebook.com]

Being banned for any reason (I really never should be, never had any problems in facebook for example, but you never know)

Yeah, you never know, i mean you are just violating their Real Name policy. I'm sure I can't think of a reason you would ever be banned. Nobody has ever been banned from facebook for being in violation of the real name policy there.

I mean, they only banned famous (infamous?) author Salman Rushdie for registering as Salman Rushdie. Clearly that's not his real name so, they banned him, and when he complained they reinstated him as Ahmed Rushdie, since his passport says his first name is Ahmed. It took a bit of a media frenzy on the event for facebook to buckle and let him be Salman Rushdie on facebook.

But hey, Google is the company that had a real name policy and banned people over it, and then caved and dropped it, while facebook is the company that HAS a real name policy, recently fought a court case in Germany to keep it, and bans people who violate it... and so therefore:

You stuck with facebook, and will never touch G+ again.

Yes, that makes perfect sense.

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year ago | (#43087973)

Facebook didn't like the fake name I had a few years ago after three weeks. :(

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#43088483)

They've loosened up. It let me use æ (merged ae) & double a few letters in my surname and use a nickname as my real first name when I started & renamed my current account last year.

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year ago | (#43088843)

Interesting. In the past, they wouldn't let me reactivate my terminated account. :(

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43088115)

He's afraid of losing Google's other services, you dumbshit.

Re:Still freaked out for that policy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43089771)

You are obviously new to this stuff. Facebook used to have no such policy. I too had numerous Facebook pages, none of which used my real name, and Facebook was totally fine with it because the most important thing to them at that time was growing their userbase. The restrictions came much later.

I didn't know they changed their policy (0)

Adult film producer (866485) | about a year ago | (#43085007)

and that's why I don't have a Google+ account yet... but of course that kind of news doesn't generally make headlines. Was the initial policy a suggestion from a middle-manager?

Re:I didn't know they changed their policy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085221)

They didn't. They allow nicknames, but they do not usually allow psuedonyms (that is to say, if you do not want to reveal your real name to everyone in your circles, you cannot usually use Google+)—they flag your account for review and won't allow it unless you can prove you normally use that pseudonym and are well-known by it.

Re:I didn't know they changed their policy (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43085601)

And "prove" is not defined. There is no documented standard of proof, and whatever it is, I apparently don't qualify. I am not sure there is an actual standard short of "famous enough to get significant news coverage".

Change My Youtube Username? Never! (1)

Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) | about a year ago | (#43085189)

Does this mean google is going to stop trying to get me to change my youtube username to my "real" name?
I swear, I've told google to take a flying leap about it five times already. I'm getting hot under the collar just thinking about it.

Re:Change My Youtube Username? Never! (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | about a year ago | (#43085497)

YouTube seems to have finally stopped asking me to start using my real name, but it did ask me why I didn't want to use my real name.

Re:Change My Youtube Username? Never! (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#43085709)

It takes a break for awhile then comes back from what I can tell. I was just asked the other day but it was months between that and the last time it nagged me.

Not really enforced. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085191)

You can use a pseudonym on G+ anyhow. I know a lot of people who don't post under their actual name... As long as it sounds like a name you can use it.

Re:Not really enforced. (2)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#43085483)

A big problem is that even when they do allow pseudos, they seem to be re-prohibited arbitrarily and inconsistently [infotrope.net]. Maybe Google needs a Baby Belling [wikipedia.org] so Mr. Left and Ms. Right of the Hand family can acquaint themselves.

(To follow up on this [slashdot.org], I've still not visited YouTube since. Best of luck to Cerf, and I really do hope that real name issue is settled as he stated, but I didn't see evidence of that on YouTube and I increasingly feel it's too late for them to get me back. For their part, vimeo doesn't seem much better--they "encourage" real name use, and on the "DRM CHAIR" video [slashdot.org]'s list of likes I saw very few users < 3y old without apparent real names--and LiveLeak has a big honking meebo/Google+ bar so they're either bought or want to be. Guess I'll have to hone my torrent release-fu.)

Re:Not really enforced. (2)

TobascoKid (82629) | about a year ago | (#43085613)

As long as it sounds like a name you can use it.

Which is why the whole nymwars saga was a pointless waste of time. If anything, the only thing their policy achieved was to stunt the growth of G+.

They want to replace gov. agencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085243)

The only reason Google wants real names is because they want Google+ to be able to provide real ID cards and other stuff that only a government agency could have provided before. In that way they are competing with Facebook, soon Facebook will be possibly able to give people the status of "married", for instance, people will be able to get married on Facebook and they will be taken seriously.

My handle is more unique than my real name (5, Interesting)

Misagon (1135) | about a year ago | (#43085361)

I know of at least seven other people with the same first and last name as me. One of them has published scientific papers in the same field as I have. One works in the same industry as me. Yet another has a similar hobby as me. Yet another of them is a rapist.
I know this, because people have confused me with them. I have received mail, both physical letters and emails that were intended for them.

I'd rather use my handle than my real name, because then people will not confuse me with any of the other guys. My handle is practically unique.

Re:My handle is more unique than my real name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085503)

Yep, same for me too. With a surname of Smith just finding me in amongst the sea of other Smiths is a challenge.
Mod parent up, please.

Re:My handle is more unique than my real name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43086617)

That's fine when you have only one surname. Spaniards have 2 surnames (one from the father and the other from the mother). That makes our names very distinctive.

(little unknown fact: technically we have infinite surnames, taken alternatively from our parents, which in turn get theirs from their parents, etc. It's an infinite recursion that ends only when there is an ancestor which we don't know the surname of; only 2 surnames are used for IDs though)

Re:My handle is more unique than my real name (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#43088035)

I once lived in a metro area where there were five of us with the same first and last names, out of the 1900 or so that Wolfram Alpha says live in the U.S. I even met one face to face, by happenstance.

There being sufficient room for confusion, and the challenge of differentiating who's who, especially on the off-chance that someone who once knew me by my given name might wish to find me, strikes me as a lousy way to go about things.

In Real Life I've gone by an awarded nickname since '71 or '72. Online, I've been "kermidge" since, oh, probably '01 or so. Pre-WWW, I had separate handles on GEnie, CompuServe, and Delphi, and a few smaller bulletin boards.

On searching, there's one other kermidge, a fellow possibly in France, without recent webbish acitivity that I can casually find via a search using Google. (What's trivially funny is that even a cursory search will readily show my 'real' name and city.)

Upshot is, for a while, about as long as the brain-fart lasted, I thought it could be useful to me to be on Google+. But since they won't take my name, the one I'm known by on line....

I'm told, in the various pages on names and appeals, that there's a procedure I can use to try to 'justify' my preferred name. Right. I've used maybe five names in my life, not for nefarious, but for easy social group reference or as needed (GEnie, e.g.). That some robotic entity requires that I 'justify' my choice of self-reference in an arena which already knows me by one is ludicrous - especially in that it's in the same arena.

Re:My handle is more unique than my real name (1)

http (589131) | about a year ago | (#43090061)

I'd rather use my handle than my real name, because then people will not confuse me with any of the other guys. My handle is practically unique

I face the exact opposite problem. It's kinda tough locating things I've written on the net.

How about some PKI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085395)

Dear Google,
Please create a mechanism for attaching public encryption keys to Google accounts. Other users can sign your key to signify that they trust your identity. The web of trust among users can be generated in a similar way to PageRanking, with the most-validated users offering the greatest amount of "trust" per connection (and multiple trust layers!).

Cordially,
AC

Advertising (2)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#43085539)

There is only one reason Google+ and Facebook want real names: advertisers pay more when you know the names of the people you are delivering the ads to.

Minority Report: "Hey John Anderton, you could use a Guiness right about now!"

Real name goes here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085573)

I backed out of all their services when they tried to pull this "real names" crap on me.
They saw how horrible the fcebook user-details for cash scheme is ... and said to themselves " we need some of that"

How they thought that was competitive I'll never know. "just as nasty and intrusive as the other guys, but with more of your search history". Oh yeah. Lovely.

Google is full of lies on this topic... (2)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43085583)

Take some time to go read what Yonatan Zunger has written about names. He appears to have a pretty good idea of how important it is to people to have their chosen names recognized. He talks about things like how the appeals process should "start a dialogue", and so on.

What actually happens:

I've appealed a couple of times. There is no process in any part of the appeal to permit me to submit even a single sentance of explanation for why I feel a given thing is or is not my name. All I can submit is scanned documents or web pages. Could those be things I wrote? We don't know, but if they've ever checked the one I tried submitting, I have no knowledge of it.

When your appeal is denied, there is no explanation. There is not a single sentence in the boilerplate letter that goes out which says in what way their determination was reached, or what they thought of the evidence, or even whether they looked at the evidence. The appeal comes from a no-replies-accepted address. There is no identification of who it was who sent the message, there is nothing given to permit followups. Your sole option is to retry the appeal.

If you appeal a second time, the appeal can be ignored for months. Not denied, not approved, just ignored completely. I eventually went and posted on one of their help forums asking for information. I was told by someone I think was claiming to be a Google employee that there was an absolute requirement that all names must have a first and last name. This is, of course, not actually true -- there are counterexamples. The policy says that names will usually be a first and last name, but stops short of requiring them. Except, of course, if you're just some random guy, in which case, it's a requirement.

I go by "seebs". That is the name I am commonly known by in daily life. It is the name used to address me and to refer to me, by my coworkers, by my friends, by my spouse, by my lawyer. My mom doesn't use "seebs" all the time, but she does sometimes. If I'm in a mall, and I hear someone yelling the name on my driver's license, I'm unlikely to look, because usually that means someone else.

The underlying issue is that they have some evidence that some people feel "uncomfortable" when they enter a social community and some people have handles which are not "real names". The Google policy, they claim, is not to require that the name be a real name, only that it look like a real name, because that makes some people less nervous. However, it is not at all obvious to me that this justifies the insulting, arrogant, and dismissive way that Google has handled the appeals process.

The gap between what they actually do and what Mr. Zunger describes is disturbing, because he's nominally in charge. I don't know what's up. Are his blog posts not actually what he thinks? Are the employees unaware of the stated intent of policy? Does no one at Google have the technical know-how to allow an employee evaluating an appeal to send an email to the person whose name is under discussion? It seems like a simple email or two saying "I looked at this, and here's why I don't think this looks like good evidence that this is the name you're commonly known by" could go a fair way towards solving this.

Of course, so could just accepting that the name I want to be known by is probably the only name you can use without being arrogant and insulting.

The whole process makes it very clear that Google's employees are much more valuable than the prospective users of their social network. The overall impression I get is that they would much rather all the weird people just stayed off their network, so they could save valuable engineering and support time, and just not have to deal with us. I have in the past observed that the impression I get is that they would be happier if all the people with weird names, or who are unwilling to use their legal names (say, trans people who haven't done their name change yet), would just go away. Or die. Whatever, so long as the problem that a minority of people are producing all this extra work goes away.

They could easily dispel this impression by, say, responding to appeals in a timely manner with actual engagement. Or better yet, dropping this arrogant policy and accepting that people may have sound reasons to prefer not to disclose their legal names, and that in many cases, even being asked to disclose those reasons can run afoul of them. Say you're trans, and most people don't know this, and you don't really want them to because no one really likes being stalked or harassed all that much. And you want to use a name which some random Google employee decides is maybe not real enough. (Or maybe someone reports it. Who knows?) So, now what? To preserve the right to use a name that won't endanger you (and even just the change of your name's gender in G+ could certainly endanger you), you have to disclose to Google, the company that thinks that if you have something to hide, maybe you shouldn't have done that, the details of that part of your medical history? Yeah, not a good idea.

I have tried a couple of times to create G+ accounts. So far, I've never been able to get them to let me use a name I actually recognize as "my name" in any kind of personally-meaningful sense. I do not see much benefit to a "social network" where I have to pretend to be someone else in order to participate...

Re:Google is full of lies on this topic... (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year ago | (#43087381)

That was rather a long rant to get to the heart of the matter.

they would much rather all the weird^H^H^H^H^H people just stayed off their network, so they could save valuable engineering and support time, and just not have to deal with us.

Or to put it as succinctly as possible: Google is absolutely terrible at customer support.

This is known. They're really bad at it. They think it should be possible to automate away any need for phone monkeys. They're trying really really hard. And failing. The Googleplex still hasn't achieved sentience, so... Google is still bad at customer support. Heaven help you if you have an Adsense problem.

(I wish Slashdot supported the <strike> tag.)

Re:Google is full of lies on this topic... (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43090173)

Yeah, but this goes beyond merely "really bad customer support" to "they have stated intentions which no one is even remotely trying to act on".

Re:Google is full of lies on this topic... (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43090219)

Or to put it as succinctly as possible: Google is absolutely terrible at customer support.

Not quite. Google's customer support isn't bad, but reserved for customers. Paying customers.

Re:Google is full of lies on this topic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43091595)

That was rather a long rant to get to the heart of the matter.

they would much rather all the weird^H^H^H^H^H people just stayed off their network, so they could save valuable engineering and support time, and just not have to deal with us.

Or to put it as succinctly as possible: Google is absolutely terrible at customer support.

No, you are mistaken. Users of Google's services are NOT their customer, they are Google's PRODUCT.

Advertisers are Google's customers. GP is right, driving away people with strange names IS a service to Google's real customers.

Useless bullshit about an irrelevant "service" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085825)

Fuck Google+ and fuck Facebook.

Anyone with true intelligence has better things to do than mess with this shit.

lets see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43085887)

stopped using facebook years back over privacy, then hollywood people start infiltrating g+ and ruined it NOW they want to ruin my privacy again...not been back in a while when its done , thats it ... no more big name places to be used tired of big business and govt up my butt. AND IM NO TEA BAGGER RICH PRICK.

Google has not "backed down" (1)

nyback (1069452) | about a year ago | (#43086053)

Two days ago i got an email with a warning of a google+ account suspension for using a "fake" name. The fake name is the name of a local community organization. The google+ account was connected to a google apps for business account. Hence not a private account. Had to opt to delete the google+ profile. I guess facebook is the only option to complement our website to give out news and information to our community members.

Re:Google has not "backed down" (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43090255)

*Yawn*

It's stated everywhere across Google+ that profiles are for humans only and you may NOT create profiles for organisations, clubs, companies, bands and alike. Those should be represented by a Google+ PAGE, not a Google+ PROFILE.

It's not rocket science. At least if you can recogize the difference between two words, even if they start woth the same letter.

Wrong about Full Names, Google still requires them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43086611)

My Google+ account still forces me to use a full name and has language which demands that I use a real full name.
I can not hide this from profile, so... tell us how Google allows people to avoid full names.

Re:Wrong about Full Names, Google still requires t (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43087493)

In theory, the language merely strongly suggests a full name, and you should be able to pick a different name and file an appeal showing that it's your intended name. Obviously, they don't actually do that.

Every few days on YouTube, it prompts me with a re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43087043)

Every few days on YouTube, it prompts me with a recommendation that I use my real name. Then when tell it no, it asks me why I don't want to use my real name.

On real names... (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about a year ago | (#43087147)

I am not for a real name policy, but I do want the problems with using real names to be solved if possible.

I'm tired of hearing about Vint Cerf (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43087569)

So what if he helped shape TCP/IP, he doesn't own the fucking internet, nor should he be treated as a go-to guy for moral issues surrounding how the internet operates. He's just an old hack who gets by on his claim to fame, whose really nothing more than a corporate/government bigwig.

wrong slashdot, not coward, real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43088063)

to choose anonymity is a great thing, to have it shoved it down you throat is another. If I choose to utilize the "internet" as myself(keithgirvan@verizon.net, or keithgirvan@live.com), without avatars, aliases, noms de plume, then I have that right. anonymity should be a right, not forced. for those who want another online "life" great, yet... hmmm remember DARPA, and the origins, exchange of information amongst scholars not willing to wait for us postal...once again keithgirvan@verizon.net or keithgirvan@live.com

In a "free and fair" this would be a good idea... (1)

squash_me_quickly (663285) | about a year ago | (#43089539)

Unfortunatly, we don't live in a free world.

In this world there are governments (both ones own and others), that will happily use every little bit of information that one puts on the internet against one.

Never mind that ones employment contract possibly says that they can fire you for saying anything negative about them on the internet, having the wrong political views, and so on.

In an ideal world this would not be a problem, so once we have a "free world"... I'll be all for a "real name" name requirement.

Luther Blisset (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43090989)

When they kept bothering me I used Luther Blisset.

http://www.lutherblissett.net/ [lutherblissett.net]

Now I just don't use google anymore as I consider them to be like the Stasi in furry suits. They try to be all warm and fuzzy but they're actually deeply, evil sociopaths.

Backed down' (1)

anne on E. mouse cow (867445) | about a year ago | (#43091603)

Everytime I log in to YouTube I get pestered to use my real name with the only optout being to 'ask me again later'

Now I can't review Android apps because
I do not want to join google +, I've had enough, any recommendations for a good email provider for my secondary account (primary is family and trusted only)

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