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Google-Plus-LogoAnd also to change its mind at any time.

Whatever the reason Google gives for its policies regarding names on its profiles, new social network services (and whatever other services it chooses to bring under that banner over time), whether it is making people feel ‘safer’, eliminating spammers and scammers, or for mining marketing data; the practical result of all of how it works out is that Google wants to pick which name you get to publically use when you use those services, and to renege on that decision and force you to select another, should it change its mind.

Google might allow you to use your birth- or wallet-name. However Google has found hundreds of users using these names to not be ‘acceptable’, even when presented with appropriate government ID.

Google might allow you to use a pseudonym. It has allowed hundreds of users to do that.

Google might keep you picking alternatives until it decides that it is finally satisfied – or it might just greet you with a stony silence and cut you off from all Google services (maybe this isn’t supposed to happen, as some Google staffers have said, but it happens to some people anyway).

And it might just change its mind and force you to choose something else after approving a previous selection.

Google gets to decide what it considers your ‘real name’ to be, until or unless it decides you have to change it again.

You know what that is? That’s ridiculous; it’s capricious and unpredictable and every bit the behaviour you’d expect of a bully. It devalues Google’s social network and makes Diaspora and even Facebook look more attractive.

Zuckerberg must be laughing his arse off right now. At least Facebook’s terrible identity policies are pretty consistent.

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Categories: Opinion, Social Media.

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