Google Chairman Eric Schmidt thinks Google+ is your ID on the Web, and if you're reluctant to use your real name then you're not welcome on Google+. That's really how it sounds when Schmidt answered NPR's Andy Carvin's question during the International TV Festival on how Google justified its name policy when it won't only raise privacy issues but safety concerns as well.
It's really an interesting issue. Why? First, Google+ only wants to accomodate real people on their network in order to promote transparency and avoid malicious accounts and accounts with pseudonyms. Second, as much as Google+ wants to open and public, it also gives the Internet instant information about you. In a nutshell, such name policy is a double-edged sword.
Carvin mention that Schmidt says that “G+ was built 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,” Carvin wrote in a Google+ post. Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+. It would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.”
If you're not on Google+ yet, content curation has been great and sporadic there. Google wants to put a premium on content, not just any content, but genuine “social” content. Like what they're doing with the search results by implementing the Panda update, Google is bent on changing the social media landscape by promoting transparency albeit privacy issues. And genuine content means that it only wants real accounts on Google+.
Indeed, the Internet has become a destination-location as social platforms experience rapid growth. And as the Internet becomes more social, it's not only the issue of privacy that has emerge has a primary concern, your social account is now part of your offline ID. Gone are the days that you can take a stroll on the Web as a dog (no pun intended), you are now liable for what you write, post, or transact within the social web.
Google wants to leverage from information that it can attain from its growing userbase, it wants to be your ID on the Internet. Google Offers and Wallet are going into full swing soon, Google wants to project transparency and “publicness” to a certain extent. With this in tow, Google+ intends to be an identity service. But with all genuine user info in Google's grasp, you have to wonder – who’s servicing who?