Google Reacts To Pseudonym Anger

Google's homepage in 1998
Simpler Times

Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior VP of social stuff, described closing the Google+ accounts of pseudonym users as: “like when a restaurant doesn’t allow people who aren’t wearing shirts to enter.”

I respectfully suggest that it’s a little more like throwing them out of your restaurant, and then burning their houses down. Google deny that they will close down your Google Profile solely for infringement of the no-pseudonyms rule, calling it a “myth”, but it does seem they single out obvious pseudonyms for closer examination and can shut them down for other, unspecified reasons. GrrlScientist, whom I quoted yesterday, only regained access to Docs, Gmail etc. at Google’s pleasure and upon giving them her personal phone number. And no, they still won’t let her use Google+, and they still haven’t told her why.

However they have listened to the outrage, reacted quickly, and promised some improvements (same source):

– Giving these users a warning and a chance to correct their name in advance of any suspension. (Of course whenever we review a profile, if we determine that the account is violating other policies like spam or abuse we’ll suspend the account immediately.)

– At time of this notice, a clear indication of how the user can edit their name to conform to our community standards

– Better expectation setting as to next steps and timeframes for users that are engaged in this process.

Maybe they know what they mean by the last one, I have no idea. However, the others are at least an improvement. If it’s not churlish of me though, I do think that not confiscating what you might rightfully consider your private property without prior notice is the very least they can do.

This is something Google really need to get straight, fast. How can their Docs be considered a rival to Microsoft’s Office if they have some ownership rights over anything you create with them? Imagine how quickly Microsoft’s business would cease to exist if they zapped documents made with pirated copies of Office. It’s unthinkable. Just as what Google did was unthinkable – until they did it. If documents aren’t sacrosanct, the whole Docs-Chrome-Cloud business model evaporates.

Maybe this is the time to consider Diaspora again?

2 replies on “Google Reacts To Pseudonym Anger”

The thing is about thinking it’s your personal property, is that you shouldn’t. Google has always been very open about the fact that THEY own your docs and whatnot, I remember the scandal when they launched Docs because they originally had a clause stating they could use your content, and they changed it when people protested.

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the anti-pseudonym policy and the upcoming anti-private profile policy and the main concern has been losing access to your content. I’m a security enthusiast so I can’t help but think that you should have backups of all of this content anyways – and if there’s no way for a local backup to be created why are you trusting somebody ELSE with your data’s security and safety? What if Google got MegaChineseHax0red and lost all of their data? If you’re assuming they’re smart enough to make backups, why aren’t you smart enough to make backups?

My opinion on the anti-private profile policy: It’s social media…The whole idea is people being able to find you, insisting that you at least let people see your name is not unreasonable for social media.

My opinion on the anti-pseudonym policy: If you’re using Google in a critical manner to the success of your life, what’s the harm in having that associated with your real identity? I understand that the PATRIOT Act means that the US Government can go to Google and demand this data, but Google’s shown that they’re willing to leave a country entirely instead of breach their ethics. Also, the USG can go straight to your ISP where EVERYTHING you do on the internet is being logged…Why would they even bother with Google when they can get the same info Google has PLUS MUCH MORE? If you don’t want Google knowing who you really are and associating that with your online behavior – don’t use Google. they are not the only provider of free email, free office document software, free social media, free gps navigation, free internet telephony, free instant messaging, etc. etc. etc. You have other free choices for everything Google does, the cost for using Google is now becoming your name. If it’s not worth the price to you, take your business elsewhere. Maybe then Google’s Facebook Killer will instead be Google’s Google Killer.

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