back to article Remember when Google+ outed everyone by their real names? Now Google's sorry

In another attempt to get someone, anyone, spending time on Google+, the Chocolate Factory has abandoned its “real names only” policy. The policy has been criticised for its entire existence. The company began deleting accounts that didn't pass its real-names test in 2011, without any particular consistency of enforcement. In …

  1. cd


    The last place to hide from the NSA.

    1. jai

      Re: Gone

      Oh what bliss do the ignorant and naive so enjoy....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes they're a bit thick...

    Once upon a time, I had a Google+ account. For about ten minutes.

    Upon creation, their default settings had *all* my public pictures linked to my real name, and on public display. The pictures were supposed to be public (no problem there), but not linked to my real name. Some of these pictures were on anonymous blogs related to controversial topics that might lead to physical violence from extremists with alternate opinions.

    Google literally endangered my safety. Or, 50-50 odds, the health and safety of those that might seek me harm.

    That Google decision makers couldn't see this usage case reveals them to be morons.

    1. MyDoorKnob

      Re: Sometimes they're a bit thick...

      >That Google decision makers couldn't see this usage case reveals them to be morons.

      Whereas those who don't realise the long-term implications of spewing their data into "social" "networking" reveal themselves to be Morons' Morons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sometimes they're a bit thick...

        Your point is valid, except an anonymous blog is not exactly a ""social" "networking"". Taking your point further: If we assume for example that they (e.g. Google+) are inept in their implementation, then we can never make use of anonymity (or "privacy") for positive reasons? Makes the 'net that much less useful. Your advice is a chocolate teapot.

        To be clear, one might not be concerned if the NSA, GCHQ, etc. can track one down; that's pretty much a given if you're engaging in criminal behaviour. But NSA / GCHQ are not likely to come around at 3AM and slash your tires because they disagree with your opinions.

    2. Anonymoist Cowyard

      Re: Sometimes they're a bit thick...

      So you were trolling and then got caught out by your own stupidity...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sometimes they're a bit thick...

        "So you were trolling..."

        No. A multi-year project to make a real and positive change to the world, or at least my part of the world. It worked too.

  3. Old Handle

    Good. I guess.

    I still have no plans to use Google+, but I suppose, now I would consider it if I have had a reason or something.

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Good. I guess.

      I mostly use my real name, but I'm the one who decides when and where. Google can just + right off.

    2. Anonymoist Cowyard

      Re: Good. I guess.

      Google+ Is actually very good, if you stop believing it's like facebook. Problem is, to many people can't seem to get that into their thick skulls.

      Thankfully, this means those types of people AREN'T active on Google+, which is a bonus.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    Google, I'll let you know

    Don't contact me, I'll contact you...

  5. frank ly

    They haven't noticed me

    My Google account (with Google+) is not my real name, it's a mildly humourous made-up name. When I read that Google would be hunting down pseudonyms, I thought that I'd be culled. I was fine and keep using the account. Having said that, I only use the e-mail and G-Drive; I don't have any real visibility on Google+, such as photos, posts, friends in circles, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They haven't noticed me

      Same here.

      However, have you ever tried to 'add' someone to your circles using a gmail address which was provided for the purpose?

      Please tell me if this is possible because when I wanted to share a few photographs with other G+ users this was one of the most frustrating experiences I have ever had.

      1. frank ly

        @m0rt Re: They haven't noticed me

        I haven't tried adding anything to the circles and I'm sure I never will. Good luck with using it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "On Google+ no-one knows you're a dog, but Google knows Google+ is a dog"

    ...That's the best Tag line yet from El Reg...

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge


    I guess this still the Google version of Facebook? Or something near to it? As others have said, why bother?

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: Meh!

      It's more like their version of Twitter and Flickr/Instagram with a smattering of "Facebook" features (quotes because Facebook didn't invent any of them).

      Can't answer your final question, though. It has a few well-implemented features that I like, but I've never tried to convert anyone to it.

  8. Sebastian A

    G+ as an "identity service"

    What a garbage coverstory. If you don't positively verify the identity of a user on signing up then you cannot be an identity service. I could have signed up as Robert Smith and their name policy would never have batted a digital eyelid, but no, if I were to sign up as Turnip McFondleballs the world would have ended?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: G+ as an "identity service"

      It is an identity service, just not a named identity service. But it couldn't do that without some kind of formal backup such as id cards.

      Google+ is the single-sign-on for the Googly services. Google+ serves some people well as communities and others continue to ignore it.

      1. Spearchucker Jones

        Re: G+ as an "identity service"

        If you're splitting hairs then Google+ is a system that manages personas - it's technically not an identity system. An identity is (in the IT sense) universal, whereas a persona has a constrained applicability. Identity has a one-to-many relationship with persona (one identity will use a G+ persona to post a doge picture, and another persona to check a bank balance).

    2. Turnip McFondleballs

      Re: G+ as an "identity service"

      <i>if I were to sign up as Turnip McFondleballs the world would have ended?</i>

      Mine might have.

      My identity ----->

  9. solo

    Temporary concession?

    Just like they forced YouTube users into using their G+ account and real names. I don't trust an 'advertising company which uses tech' (as someone from this forum named them).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I expect they slap down enough supercookies and similar to extract real names in fairly short order anyway.

  11. Shannon Jacobs

    Should I try to claim my favorite nickname?

    Naw, why would I care. I already got it on Outlook. Oh, wait. No improvement there.

    Why doesn't ANYONE offer a sincerely anti-spammer email system?

  12. Number6

    I am probably better known on-line by one of two handles, one of which is close to my real name, the other is not. I've been associated with it for many years though, and more on-line people probably know me by that name than my real one.

  13. Frank Zuiderduin


    What's Google+? Oh yeah, that service that made searches with '+keyword +keyword' useless. I always thought it was really nice of them to drop that feature because they offered something with a + in it. Not.

    1. J__M__M

      Re: Junk

      Is uselesser a word? Well if it is, the - is uselesser than the +. Maybe they figure it's a wash.

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Junk

      Huh! I never made that connection before. Makes sense though. IIRC the official explanation was the quotes were more natural, but that doesn't explain why they needed to drop support for the old syntax.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a start.

    Next they should unlink that shit from YouTube.

  15. thomas k.

    the only advantage ..

    The only advantage I've noticed to having Google+ is that it allows you to have a little picture next to your name when logged in. Delete your G+ profile and it goes away (though the picture itself remains in your profile).

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, I'm Spartacus...

    Cool, let everyone sign up as Edward Snowden then I say... To Eric, Larry, Sergey... The good ol days are over for you fellas.. You became far too cosy with government snoops. Talk about stepping over the creepy line, when you promised you never would.... Your CloudFog offerings are taking a hit now I hear.. Well I for one am very happy about that!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google what????

    That is all...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just don't get hurt in the rush to sign up will you.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Doesn't seem to work

      I just tried creating an account. It still says "Are you sure you entered your name correctly?".

      It also still wants a date of birth, and a gender. Neither of which am I willing to supply to any sort of social networking.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's so bad in G+?

    From time to time I share a few photos and videos with other G+ users, follow a few interesting persons (mostly tech nerdy people such as Linus Torvalds), a few friends and family follow me and little else. For that kind of use G+ is perfectly fine. Perhaps it is not the be-all and end-all of social networks, but I honestly don't want or need that kind of thing. I don't have a Facebook login and I'm a perfectly integrated and productive member of society.

    So please, what is so bad about G+ that makes everyone despise it so much? What do you get out of Facebook, for example, that you don't get from G+?

    (please add comment telling why, please...)

    1. JDC

      Re: What's so bad in G+?

      That's about the same as my experience of it - it's not that bad. The communities bit is quite handy too if you want to set up a discussion group about something.

    2. depicus

      Re: What's so bad in G+?

      Imagine your Aunty Silvia had a bit of a crush on you and you met her at a family party.

      The first time she's fine and just chats to you all day. The second time you meet her she again chats all day and cold stares anybody else who comes over. The third time she goes for a kiss and tries to slip her tongue down your throat. You complain to your wife but she just laughs... that is G+

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @depicus "Imagine your Aunty Silvia had a bit of a crush on you and you met her at a family party."

        erm... not everyone around here has experienced a member of the opposite sex having a crush on oneself. So I'm a bit lost on the metaphor. Are you saying that G+ is like someone from your in-law family having a crush on you? How is that different from anyone else having a crush on you? How do you feel when someone has a crush on you at all?

      2. 's water music

        Re: What's so bad in G+?

        Imagine your Aunty Silvia had a bit of a crush on you... ...that is G+

        wait, is she hot?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some of us are still suspended

    Stupidly the policy has been changed, but the suspended-for-names accounts are still suspended with no appeal other than verifying your real name.


  21. Richard Cranium

    I like G+

    Unlike facebook and linked in I have a reasonable degree of control over who sees what and I don't get loads of emails suggesting I link with the distant aquaintance of someone I linked to ages ago and can't remember why but am now able to view their drunken photos.

    My facebook and linked in profiles are as locked down as possible and state that I am not active there and prefer other channels of communication.

    I welcome quality control, I welcome the attempt to make people stand behind their online rantings by providing identity information. I use all kinds of pseudonyms on various forums etc or choose to post anonymously in some situations. In some situations that is useful, perhaps allowing me to be a little more frank about my employer than might be wise were my real name attached. There are plenty of places on the internet where I can do that, what's wrong with having one we can choose to use and where we must behave like grown-ups?

    An editor I know said they gather loads of feedback via social networks, most of it is garbage, the exception is G+. It will be a pity if it does end up as just another stinking pile of dross.

  22. Pypes

    Since google went full retard with G+ I haven't left a single youtube comment, or reviewed a single android app (2 activities I was previously quite fond of) I can only assume I'm not the only one.

    I don't even know if I have a Google+ account, I just assumed it all got rolled into my omni-account and was visible for the world to see.

  23. Hellcat

    Has anyone actually tried changing their details to display only their chosen nickname?

    You have 3 boxes, First name, Surname, Nickname

    Then a drop down for 'display name' with the options.

    1. <first name> <surname>

    2. <first name> "<nickname>" <surname>

    3. <first name> <surname> (<nickname>)

    I don't see any option for not splashing my real name all over short of using Hell + Cat as my first name and surname, and then selecting option 1.

  24. Slx

    I got stalked by a guy who didn't like a really innocuous YouTube comment I made on a technical issue, all because of this idiotic policy change.

    He figured out my gmail address then started emailing me, then kept adding me on linked in and calling my office.

    I was also actually disturbed to find my Android phone had backed up photos to the Google+ profile somehow by default. They were in an unshared album. I use the phone camera to capture expense receipts and stuff!

    On top of that they've pushed Google+ into the play store, so no longer review apps.

    To be perfectly honest it's *nearly* driving me to iOS or some alternative to Android.

    The result so far: I deleted all my Google accounts and closed Google Apps for business.

  25. Valerion

    I tried to sign up once

    Google+ wouldn't believe that my name was real (it's honestly not that weird!) and wanted me to send in actual identification - copies of my drivers license or somesuch.

    Instead I closed the browser and got on with my life.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For those suspended for not using a real name - your appeal will be rejected

    For those suspended for not using a real name - an appeal will be rejected, for the same reason they flagged it last time, non compliance with the real names policy.

    The old policy is still being actively enforced.

  27. bullsballs

    WHO CARES...

    not interested, NEVER USE YOUR REAL IDENTITY...

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