Google Plus to date has about 20 million users, but some researchers (or should that be ‘critics’) claim that it’s popularity may be on the wane, even before it is officially launched to the public. The tech people among us, like to rubbish the likes of Facebook and Twitter and praise the next great social network. What a world we live in. 🙁 I personally like the idea behind Google Plus and in particular ‘circles‘.
So, when Google Plus announced on July 23rd, that they would enforce a “real names” policy on Google Plus accounts, it appears lots of people jumped up and said “why?”. Well most users in Facebook (it used to use the .edu address) have real names, so to be honest I don’t see this as being a relevant issue, unless that is you value your privacy. In this event you shouldn’t really use social networks – but more and more people are doing so.
TIP: Most people on social networks don’t share – most Facebook users for example only READ AND TROLL. (ID Theft Protect research)
Twitter for example doesn’t require “real names”, it offers users ‘verified accounts’ – so Google could have adopted this approach. I think the critical nature in the media regarding the “real name” change, is more to do with alienting Google Plus and attempting to affect it’s potential interest and growth, especially given the Facebook revolution. ‘Real names’ provide credibility (think Linkedin too), and don’t forget writers and Hollywood stars use pseudonyms. That’s the plus side. As for the negative side – Google like most social networks want to harness profile data so they can sell or rent your data. So hows does this really affect your privacy?
Google Plus will provide Google with “real data” which they can map to “real names”. Are we being to eager when sharing our information? Do we want our entire Internet lives mapped/timelined (both textually and graphically) and the data about us sold to the highest bidder? Only you can control and manage that for now. I for one hope in the future, that you will have the choice to encrypt and sandbox your data and have full control of what happens to your data on websites and the entire web.
Safe surfing folks!