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Google+ Identity Crisis: What’s at Stake With Real Names and Privacy TIM CARMODY

There’s a very simple business reason why Google cares if they have your real name. It means it’s possible to cross-relate your account with your buying behavior with their partners, who might be banks, retailers, supermarkets, hospitals, airlines. To connect with your use of cell phones that might be running their mobile operating system. To provide identity in a commerce-ready way. And to give them information about what you do on the Internet, without obfuscation of pseudonyms.

Simply put, a real name is worth more than a fake one.

This is why I’ve argued that Google+ is not only a social network:


Social media here is a means to establishing identity

ll of these changes affect only the public display of identity to other users and the open web. Google itself still wants your full identity, or at least as much identity information as possible. Other users may only get partial glimpses at your multiple and overlapping identities, as well as the information you share. Google gets everything.

zugerberg--- You have one identity… The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly… Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.

Let me paint the two scenarios for you. They correspond to two companies in the Valley. … On the one hand you have Google, which primarily gets information by tracking stuff that’s going on. They call it crawling. They crawl the web and get information and bring it into their systems. They want to build maps, so they send around vans which literally go and take pictures of your home for their Street View system. … Google is a great company, but you can see that taken to a logical extreme that’s a little scary.

On the other hand, we started the company saying there should be another way. If you allow people to share what they want and give them good tools to control what they’re sharing, you can get even more information shared. But think of all the things you share on Facebook that you wouldn’t want to share with everyone, right? You wouldn’t want these things to be crawled or indexed—like pictures from family vacations, your phone number, anything that happens on an intranet inside a company, or any kind of private message or e-mail.


This is one reason Fred Vogelstein wondered whether Facebook’s “(un)privacy revolution” might actually be a good thing for the web: Allowing users to share more of their information without worry of having it crawled and indexed by Google’s servers.

Google, on the other hand, has created a social network that allows you to offer multiple identities to others, while keeping all of that information, which was previously inaccessible to its identity engine, to itself. Under the banner of increased privacy and user control, it solicits information from you that, were it viewable by everyone in your networks, you would most likely keep to yourself.