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Merry Christmas (Nymwars are over)
July 16, 2014 12:07 AM   Subscribe

Google Plus apologises and reverses its real name requirements. Violet Blue pots the history of this front of the nymwars. Previously
posted by Sparx (79 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just saw this. Waiting a few days to see if there's fall out before changing my G+ account to the name people actually know me by.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:40 AM on July 16


After all these years, I've still got no G+ associated with my primary gmail address. It's not going to change in the foreseeable future.
posted by sukeban at 12:42 AM on July 16 [4 favorites]


Huh. Well I guess I will fall back to my default position of passively ignoring Google Plus instead of what had been my position of active avoidance.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 AM on July 16 [42 favorites]


After all these years, I've still got no G+ associated with my primary gmail address. It's not going to change in the foreseeable future.

Same, although it irritates the hell out of me you can't write reviews for places on Google Maps or comment on Youtube now without having a G+ account.

This seems like closing the stable door after the horse was never in the stable in the first place because it was already on Facebook. Wouldn't be surprised if Google decide G+ has failed and shut it down at some point. Third time lucky with the social network maybe?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:52 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Does this mean they'll automatically lift the ban on my google profile?
posted by infini at 12:54 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Too much, too late, don't trust 'em.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:54 AM on July 16 [17 favorites]


Wouldn't be surprised if Google decide G+ has failed and shut it down at some point.
That kind of happened in April. G+ isn't dead-dead, but it isn't the flagship Google once hoped it would be.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:55 AM on July 16


Just avoid G+ if you can. If not, access G+, Gmail, etc. through a different browser than you access google's search, maps, etc., ideally a FireFox configured to "never remember history" like TorBrowser (recently).

I'd avoid Google maps in favor of openstreetmap.org whenever possible too. Although sadly yournavigation.org isn't nearly as good as google maps for public transit schedules, maybe punch the "clear current history" button before using google maps for travel directions.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:57 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I can review local restaurants with anonymity!

And yes, it is a bit late to be deciding that the customer is right on this one.
posted by asok at 1:00 AM on July 16


Every time I click on a Google+ link I feel slightly soiled.

Sorry Google. I don't log into your email interface to read my emails, and I won't be logging in to do basically anything else either. You still manage to be pretty creepy with the ads you serve me, but that's as much as you get.
posted by hippybear at 1:13 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Every time I click on a Google+ link I feel slightly soiled.

Ever since the Google Reader fiasco every time I interact with Google, I feel exactly the same.
posted by vac2003 at 1:26 AM on July 16 [11 favorites]


This is worrying.
They've found a way to sell you to advertisers without needing your real name.
posted by fullerine at 1:29 AM on July 16 [29 favorites]


'Twas a bold experiment.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:41 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


It's amazing how much more civil YouTube comments got when people were forced to use their real names...
posted by inturnaround at 2:10 AM on July 16 [4 favorites]


I think it's more that they've given up on making any money from it (see the massive staffing down), and so they have decided to make it better for the people who do use it before abandoning it for a few years, then shutting it down entirely.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:11 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Google's real name requirements for both Google and G+ have been escapable for years. The problem is that it's a pain in the ass to escape and they know shit about you via your email content. The real problem is that most people aren't interested in privacy.

Facebook is more fun. There I'm born in 1942, interested in both Men and Women, and Widowed. I click for fun there.

I paid almost three thousand dollars for my first computer which had less than one seventh the storage of one of my gmail accounts.

It's interesting how quickly things change from a convenience to a necessity. I could probably run a VPN behind 7 proxies and I will if I have to. The thing is that I personally don't have to.

What is much scarier than what they know about me personally is what they know about all of us.
posted by vapidave at 2:26 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


The trouble is that post-NSA, most people interested in using a pseudonym have already been scared away from Google by privacy concerns.

I miss Livejournal.
posted by Drexen at 2:37 AM on July 16 [10 favorites]


They've found a way to sell you to advertisers without needing your real name.

Google itself can probably figure out your real name and much more about you quite easily without you having any kind of Google account or even visiting any Google sites. Most pages you might visit on the internet (all of MetaFilter, for example) contain snippets of code loaded from Google servers to display advertisements, track page analytics, display custom fonts, and otherwise utilize Google services, providing Google with much of the same information they'd get if you visited one of their own sites. I would think that the G+ thing was more about some benefit they expected to gain from requiring you to disclose your real name to other users, such as the increased civility of YT comments that people are mentioning.
posted by XMLicious at 2:40 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


This expresses it better than I ever could: "What Google's Apology SHOULD Have Been", by Alex Bayley.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:52 AM on July 16 [22 favorites]


It seems to me that the apology coming after the news that the head of G+ stepped down in April makes it blatantly obvious (if it wasn't already) that Google only cares about its users insofar as they can extract information from them. Google+ is dead/dying, so they may as well. It's not like it's useful anymore.
posted by supermassive at 3:21 AM on July 16


Can we just agree to never mention the term "nymwars" ever again?
posted by pseudocode at 3:31 AM on July 16 [26 favorites]


The 8 people that use G+ will be thrilled.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:44 AM on July 16 [12 favorites]


there are no more restrictions on what name you can use.

Profanity? Racial epithets?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:14 AM on July 16


...too late, don't trust 'em.

Amen. Google has shown its true colors plainly and repeatedly. "Don't be evil"? They should maybe search on that word to get a better understanding of it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:25 AM on July 16


To little, too late. G+ succeeded only in that they have established a button on some sites, and created a schism of those who G+ and those who do not. From what I can tell, its mostly a corporate and famous ish person thing.

Which might have been the win they wanted all along.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:09 AM on July 16


And the 8 people that use G+ will be disappointed when they completely change it into a Yelp competitor in about 2 years.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:14 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


So after basically insisting that people only use pseudonyms (or names that are not on their ID) for specious reasons, they expect us to care? Sometimes when companies make it hard to access their services, you end up finding out that you don't really care about them in the first place.
posted by ersatz at 5:32 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


Can we just agree to never mention the term "nymwars" ever again?

The kids are going to have to learn about the NymWars sooner or later.
posted by Flashman at 5:33 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Google has shown its true colors plainly and repeatedly. "Don't be evil"?

You know, I was thinking about this the other day and it occurred to me that, really, Google never hid their true colours. It's not that they've suddenly started being malicious. It's that their mission from day one was effectively anti-privacy.

Web search is about open and easy access to information. And we liked that. It's just that as Google keeps getting bigger and more powerful, their basic vision of making all conceivable information available to everybody all of the time stops looking like a techno-utopia where you don't have to go to the library to learn about dinosaurs and starts looking like a surveillance state.

And there's no reason to believe that Google didn't, from day one, believe that "information wants to be free" is a moral imperative that trumps any personal desire to keep information private.
posted by 256 at 5:54 AM on July 16 [15 favorites]


I hope this is a sign that Google's arrogance is waning. They have a lot of smart people and they make some cool things but so much of it ends up being half assed because they dont listen to customers. The attitude seems to be we know better.
posted by humanfont at 6:02 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Inigo Montoya: Offer me circles.
Google: Yes!
Inigo Montoya: A reversal of your real names policy, too, promise me that.
Google: All that I have and more. Please...
Inigo Montoya: Offer me anything I ask for.
Google: Face computers, self-driving cars...anything you want!
Inigo Montoya: I want Google Reader back, you son of a bitch!
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:13 AM on July 16 [182 favorites]


Ironically, most of the (actual and substantiated) complaints that I've seen about G+ seem to revolve around the fact that it sucks as a marketing platform.

Apart from the annoying and confusing mandatory buy-in, Google+ hasn't done anything that I find to be actually objectionable. Facebook, on the other hand, has crossed well into the territory of being outright malicious toward its users (they also had a similar "real name" policy for the first several years of their existence, which they silently dropped because they couldn't enforce it -- at the time, the policy was seen as revolutionary, and credited with the platform's initial success).

Basically, if you're jumping through hoops to avoid Google +, you're a pretty big hypocrite if you're using most other forms of social media. While I personally don't find the platform to be terribly interesting, Google has so far done nothing to throw its users under the bus.
posted by schmod at 6:25 AM on July 16 [8 favorites]


[A couple of comments removed. Not another Violet Blue derail, please.]
posted by taz at 6:35 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Ian A.T.: Inigo Montoya: I want Google Reader back, you son of a bitch!

This is the best MetaFilter comment there will ever be, y'all can go home now.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:40 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure Google has ever believed information wants to be free. Quite the opposite: they believe information exists to be collected, collated, and charged for.
posted by Georgina at 6:43 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


After all these years, I've still got no G+ associated with my primary gmail address. It's not going to change in the foreseeable future.

Ditto for all three of my Gmail accounts. And, yeah, the inability to comment on YouTube without a G+ account sucks.

Just the other day, though, I had to create a Gmail account for a client, and I could not for the life of me find a way to create a new account without also getting a G+ account. At least it's not mine, I guess.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 AM on July 16


EndsOfInvention: " Wouldn't be surprised if Google decide G+ has failed and shut it down at some point. Third time lucky with the social network maybe?"

This was the third time. Wave->Buzz->Plus... FAILFAILFAIL. I suppose maybe Wave wasn't a "social network" so much as an app, but it seemed like it had a lot of potential that people just weren't creative enough to get.

That said, as long as Vic and Larry are there, G+ is sticking around. They threw their lot in with it, and they will refuse to budge. Stubborn fools.

I left because of the nymwars. I tried to fight, and got a few privileged minds to at least consider the issue (including one who apparently is a major Google fan) and revise their hard stance. But in the end, Google refused so I said "fuckitty bye" and never looked back.

I was really hoping they wouldn't try to just be another Facebook clone, had hoped that perhaps they would take it back to LJ and bring that deeper style, but everything in the architecture and design was made for short, stupid posts and pictures and streams of info a la Twitter and FB.
posted by symbioid at 6:45 AM on July 16


Google has so far done nothing to throw its users under the bus.

Well, other than the aforementioned G+ requirement to comment on YouTube, Places, Maps, etc. That's a case of removing functionality that was previously available for no other reason than to artificially boost G+ adoption numbers. There is no functional reason to bind G+ to commenting other than simple gaming of numbers.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:46 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


This was the third time. Wave->Buzz->Plus... FAILFAILFAIL. I suppose maybe Wave wasn't a "social network" so much as an app, but it seemed like it had a lot of potential that people just weren't creative enough to get.

Meh. I've been trying to route my stuff around google into Fastmail for over a year now on the logic "if you're not the paying customer, you're the product." The gmail/G+/reader thing struck me at the time as a play to give their own in-house protocols priority over open protocols in the mobile space.

I have few doubts that we'll see another iteration of the concept in the future.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:49 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Georgina: "Quite the opposite: they believe information exists to be collected, collated, and charged for."

What information does Google charge for?
posted by schmod at 6:56 AM on July 16


Wave->Buzz->Plus

somewhere in the darkness orkut weeps.
posted by winna at 7:00 AM on July 16 [12 favorites]


schmod asked: "What information does Google charge for?"

That'd be your personal information. Sold to advertisers. You're the product, remember?

My choking in disbelief moment came when I read "...letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+..."

If Google is still using "letting" rather than "forcing" in regards to the YouTube assimilation, then this isn't an apology.

I think it's terribly appropriate that the guy who spearheaded the whole Google+ thing was an ex-Microsoft guy: This whole fiasco was exactly the sort of tone deaf to user desires make it one big corporatized homogenous product and damn the edge cases thing that has driven so many of us away from MS products.
posted by straw at 7:06 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure Google has ever believed information wants to be free. Quite the opposite: they believe information exists to be collected, collated, and charged for.

But always free when they want to obtain and use information about you!
posted by immlass at 7:07 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I always felt the real name thing wasn't so much from Google as it was them responding to their advertisers. And Google is definitely an advertising company. 95% of their revenues and all their profits come from advertising. Everything they do, be it operating systems, applications, hardware platforms, social networks or balloons circling the earth, is designed to increase internet usage and exposure to their ads. And the data they collect and collate from all their various tied-together stuff is what makes their advertising far more valuable than other's. In that regard, real names for real people living in real places are simply another asset they can offer their clients. Your definition of evil may vary...
posted by jim in austin at 7:08 AM on July 16


This is one hundred percent a good thing for that org.

Now if they want to make up and be besties again they could put a warrant canary at the top of all google pages with a login.
posted by bukvich at 7:15 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


schmod: What information does Google charge for?

Google's business model is collecting personal data, collating that data (i.e. matching it to your particular profile as you move across the web, so they learn bits and pieces about you from each service of theirs you use), then charging advertisers to show you targeted ads.

Over 90% of Google's $59.83 billion in revenue last year came from advertising. Though the amount is going up, the percentage is actually decreasing. Advertising used to be over 95% of revenue.

Google is not a services company. They're an advertising company, and you are, in the wise words of blue_beetle, the product being sold.
posted by Georgina at 7:35 AM on July 16


I'm not sure Google has ever believed information wants to be free. Quite the opposite: they believe information exists to be collected, collated, and charged for.

Yes, and it's not always that they are charging for it directly; often they make you pay someone else - usually someone who pays them for page rank. Example: at one time, you could enter a phone number as a search term, and Google would tell you whose it was. Now, unless the number belongs to a business, it returns a bunch of "free lookup" services that are not exactly free, along with a bunch of irrelevant other stuff.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:36 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


This fiasco was interesting to me in exactly the way furries are. I don't have any people on my Facebook or anywhere in my social circle who "go by" names like AppleFan477 or CaptainTheKingCharles or whatever else. For that matter, most of my social circle has actual profile photos, not pictures of the Horsehead Nebula or Speed Racer. (Occasionally it's a couple photo, or their kid or pet.) So this was a little glimpse into a world that I don't interact with. From my/our perspective, real name requirements seem both obvious and refreshing. It's interesting to hear others' reactions.
posted by cribcage at 7:39 AM on July 16


Well, other than the aforementioned G+ requirement to comment on YouTube, Places, Maps, etc. That's a case of removing functionality that was previously available for no other reason than to artificially boost G+ adoption numbers. There is no functional reason to bind G+ to commenting other than simple gaming of numbers.

But there is a functional reason, actually. And this makes sense when you consider what G+ really is. It's not a social network like Facebook. It's an identity service. It just happens to have a social network UI - along with many other UIs. But the social network UI is not the important part of G+. What's important (from Google's perspective) is the ability to have a single identity that can work with all of their products. This has obvious benefits for Google: it helps them serve ads better, it helps them not to have to maintain however many account management systems they had before. And it has obvious benefits for users: you can access all of these services with a single account, and get "cross-pollination" benefits of a sort. Of course, it also has an obvious cost for users, who may not want Google to have all of this information centralized within a single user profile.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:47 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


real name requirements seem both obvious and refreshing.

Real names on the internet would put a lot of us in danger. Threats of violence are marginally less unsettling when you know the person doesn't know your name, and women on the internet get a lot of threats.

Also, as people have pointed out above, real name requirements don't actually make people more civil, so the only justification anyone ever had for them is proved bogus.
posted by winna at 8:05 AM on July 16 [30 favorites]


I don't have any people on my Facebook or anywhere in my social circle who "go by" names like AppleFan477 or CaptainTheKingCharles or whatever else.

For me, that's an equally weird glimpse into another world! I've always been heavily involved/invested/psudonomously identified within one or more communities or subcultures that I don't want my friends, family, work colleagues or other authorities to see, and that in some cases would have negative -- maybe very strongly negative -- effects if they did.

If you don't have aspects like that to your life then more power to you, but Google's (and Facebook's, etc) complete tone-deafness to this concept made using their platform an impossibility for me, and likewise for many other people who are, in one way or another, at some margin.

The ability to find and safely move around those margins without tying myself to the other areas in my life is a need of mine, and is the main attraction of the internet for me -- but there are many others who need this ability protected far more than I do.
posted by Drexen at 8:16 AM on July 16 [9 favorites]


Every time I see one of these threads about Google+ or Facebook or some such horror, I feel so sad that we never managed to make the Web, or the Internet, work the way it was supposed to.

These centralized services shouldn't exist, because they shouldn't have to exist. At which point arguments about them collecting information to track you for advertisers, or about them collecting information to track you for spies; or about them manipulating their users to get more eyeball time; or about what names they'd let you use; or about their policies on whether or not you could talk about this or that part of your life, or post this or that picture or this or that link; or about the risk involved in their power to change those policies; or about them ripping out functions people cared about; or about their security problems; or about other centralization-created brittleness, also wouldn't exist.

We failed. Sigh.
posted by Hizonner at 8:17 AM on July 16 [11 favorites]


I don't have any people on my Facebook or anywhere in my social circle who "go by" names like AppleFan477 or CaptainTheKingCharles or whatever else.

Your user name is cribcage for a reason, I suspect. Also, if that's you're real name in your profile, there are plenty of folk out there with names that are a lot easier to google.

A lot of it is safety and privacy. I like talking about comics a lot without having to worry about someone finding my address online (which is ridiculously easy to do nowadays if you have a somewhat unique name and a general area) and sending shit to my house. I also like the ability to control what potential future employers see of my identity.

Also, if you're trans and not completely out, names are pretty goddamn important.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:19 AM on July 16 [4 favorites]


To clarify, I wasn't attempting to derail this thread into yet another rehashing of the various arguments on one side or the other.
posted by cribcage at 8:20 AM on July 16


Drexen: "Cribcage: "I don't have any people on my Facebook or anywhere in my social circle who "go by" names like AppleFan477 or CaptainTheKingCharles or whatever else."

For me, that's an equally weird glimpse into another world! I've always been heavily involved/invested/psudonomously identified within one or more communities or subcultures that I don't want my friends, family, work colleagues or other authorities to see, and that in some cases would have negative -- maybe very strongly negative -- effects if they did.
"

This, 100%.

I honestly wonder how old cribcage is and when they got online. I think there's a disparity from those who really got online before, say, 2000 or 2001 and at some point after that (probably 2001-2003).

I'm glad to see Gundotra is gone, shame Page is still around. I couldn't give two shits about Google after G+ anymore.

Everything online is a shitty repro of the real world - whereas when we first ventured on, it was a new world with huge possibilities. HYPERtext... Now - it just linear pages. Pseudonyms! Alternative Selves! Privacy! Now you have to be who you are in real life. There used to be more than one conquerer HTTP protocol.

Static, boring, plain, real life is what sells. The pregnant with possibilities of identity-shifting and an emergence of an organic higher order, a true WEB across cyberspace has been decayed into walled-gardens and data-silos for capitalism and profit.
posted by symbioid at 8:31 AM on July 16 [13 favorites]


I don't have any people on my Facebook or anywhere in my social circle who "go by" names like AppleFan477 or CaptainTheKingCharles or whatever else.

Except Metafilter, because most of us here are better known to each other by handles/nicks/pseuds than by name. My name is on my profile but most people here know me by my handle. Your name is on your profile, but if I met you in the flesh, I wouldn't know who you were unless you told me your handle here.
posted by immlass at 8:33 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Can we just agree to never mention the term "nymwars" ever again?

Grechen, stop trying to make "nymwars" happen!
posted by the jam at 8:43 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Real names on the internet would put a lot of us in danger.

Real names make participation for a decent minority of people impossible as well, if they want to remain employed. Most teachers and police officers, for example, have the shallowest of social media exposures.

Pseudonyms don't have to be super secret, but they need to be secret to most.
posted by bonehead at 9:29 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Most pages you might visit on the internet (all of MetaFilter, for example) contain snippets of code loaded from Google servers

Allow me to introduce the glory that is Ghostery.

You'd be astonished how many companies are trying to track you. Visited a site the other day that Ghostery blocked 17 different trackers on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:38 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


These centralized services shouldn't exist, because they shouldn't have to exist. At which point arguments about them collecting information to track you for advertisers, or about them collecting information to track you for spies; or about them manipulating their users to get more eyeball time; or about what names they'd let you use; or about their policies on whether or not you could talk about this or that part of your life, or post this or that picture or this or that link; or about the risk involved in their power to change those policies; or about them ripping out functions people cared about; or about their security problems; or about other centralization-created brittleness, also wouldn't exist.
I agree so much. Perhaps we're just lucky we even got the Internet and didn't end up with AOL or CompuServe or Prodigy controlling the entire global information network and all access to it. But at this moment in time an awful lot of people end up using most of their Internet time on Facebook as if it were a closed network like Prodigy.

Internet software developers failed spectacularly when it came to making social features useable. Blogs pioneered a way for individuals to share thoughts, text, and pictures with each other, and RSS provided a primitive way to follow each other. But look at all the posting and the sharing of photos and quizzes and other stuff that goes on in social media. The number of people that could perform these same activities, if forced to use WordPress or BlogSpot and some sort of RSS reader, would be vanishingly small. Facebook took over because it made it very easy to perform these activities, and made it very easy to find friends, and got enough traction to force social pressure to join. It's a dream for Facebook, and a less than ideal situation for everyone else. People can find each other, share with each other, post baby and cat pictures that they know everybody else is just dying to see, and that would not have happened without the ease of use that Facebook provided. Facebook has enabled all the communication that should have been part of the web, while simultaneously destroying all of the technologically great aspects of the web.

Google+ should have been an attempt to make something open, something that allowed easy interoperability with other services where people controlled their own data and identity. Make it super easy to use Google to set up easy sharing with everyone, but don't make it so that Google has to own everything. If Google were as "open" and nerd-friendly as everybody seems to think they are, they would have done something like that. They wouldn't even have to opensource their implementation, as long as they had made it interoperable, and helped establish standards.

If Google had done that, then perhaps they could have worked around Facebook, gotten in on the edges by making Facebook just one of many different social network providers that talk together, where no large corporation controlling everything. But instead they copied Facebook precisely, down to silly naming restrictions in the early days, deciding that performing a frontal assault on Facebook's hugely fortified castle of a network would work better than climbing in through the sewers and giving all the prisoners inside some weapons.

On the other hand, building something like Facebook and making it work is no trivial engineering task. Doing engineering of that sort in a single sandbox, inventing protocols as necessary, is perhaps necessary before interchangeable and standardized protocols can be established. In order to provide a search engine Google slurps up everything on the web in order to index it, whereas by having everything in house Facebook's task is made much much easier.

So instead we have Google expending every last bit of its massive and perhaps undeserved goodwill over silly and stubborn imitation. Real names policy, killing Reader, coercion into getting accounts from distinct products (hello IE vs. Netscape), faceless and merciless destruction of personal profiles, all because they want their own version of Prodigy for everyone to play in, because Brin doesn't see why he shouldn't have everything that Zuckerberg has. I always chuckle when people try to argue that Google is more open than, say, Apple.
posted by Llama-Lime at 9:43 AM on July 16 [6 favorites]


> "Don't be evil"? They should maybe search on that word to get a better understanding of it.

It's a certain mental attitude, one we've seen before.

Nixon: Whatever it is, if the President does it it's not illegal.
Google: Whatever it is, if we do it it's not evil.

First come I, my name is Jowett.
There's no knowledge but I know it.
I am master of this college.
What I don't know isn't knowledge.

posted by jfuller at 9:46 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Alright, am I the only G+ user here? I used what is technically my name, but not the one I use day to day. That said, I'm switching my account to Canageek as we speak.

It turns out that there is a really strong RPG community presence on there, heavily linked to the RPG blogosphere. Probably as Hangouts/Private G+ Community/Calendar/Roll20 are about the best way to play RPGs online, coupled with the fact that adding images on most forums is a pain: you need to use a hosting service, copy the code in, etc. G+ makes it easy to add an image of a monster, new book, etc, and some text to go with it.
posted by Canageek at 9:53 AM on July 16


I'm much more worried about the NIMHwars.

Mrs Frisby, where are you when we need you?!?
posted by hippybear at 10:30 AM on July 16 [6 favorites]


I'm always surprised when I get a notification that someone has added me to their G+ circles, because I can't for the life of me imagine WHY.
posted by desjardins at 10:30 AM on July 16 [7 favorites]


real name requirements seem both obvious and refreshing.

Real names on the internet would put a lot of us in danger. Threats of violence are marginally less unsettling when you know the person doesn't know your name, and women on the internet get a lot of threats.


And for me, who has a persistent pseudonym across years and platforms, the requirement for a "real name" actively made it more difficult for people to know it was me. I have had people contact me other places asking if I'm "the Deoridhe from XXX" and I can confidently reply, "I'm the only Deoridhe, so yes." Once I had a "real name" attached, people started using it and it was just weird. I'm Deoridhe. I'm always Deoridhe. The original reason for my pseudonym was safety, because I'm a woman and the internet was considered scary in 1996, but now it is effectively who I am.

Honestly, until Facebook it never occurred to me that people would prefer their "real" names over a persistent pseudonym.

I started using G+ because of YouTube; I like having lists of things I like to watch and Google made it impossible to do that without a G+ account. I divorced it from my main email, and my alternate "professional" email setup using different browsers, and made up a secondary persistent pseudonym to appease G+. It was weird having people who knew me mostly through my blog call me Deirdre, though; despite G+ allowing "nicknames" you couldn't actually post anywhere using it, even in quotes in the middle of your name, so now there's a bunch of comments that only vaguely link back to me because they're under Deirdre - first time in well over a decade something has been online and not easily linkable to my name.

Once I wait a week to see if goggle's going to walk this back, I'll be changing my G+ account so it uses my name; I want to wait and see who does so early and gets deleted for it, if anyone.
posted by Deoridhe at 10:58 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I had (and still have) several friends on the Google payroll, so I was an early adopter of G+. Whereupon I promptly did fuckall with it. Recently though, I started a podcast with some friends involving interviewing smart people about the interests in historical topics (shameless link). We do this over Google Hangouts which require an account. I was a bit miffed that I would be using my real full name with the interviewees, since it is unique and therefore I am very easily "google stalked." So I welcome this, although I would suppose the real reason for the shift is because Google is now requiring G+ accounts for everything. The loss of market share from forcing the use of real names to use what Google clearly wants as a ubiquitous login is apparently catching up to them.
posted by Panjandrum at 11:01 AM on July 16


Like so many Google products (Wave was a kick-ass API that nobody ever wrote a decent client for), G+ is such a waste of potential, it's criminal.

I'm in a band. Facebook for bands is... ...let's say annoying at best, and actively offensive at worst. The annoying is a million little niggles that make it a total hassle to do things. Pages (which is what bands are on FB) can't start or join events. Thus, I can't invite the fans of our page to the event. Sure, I could create a fake person account and try to get people to go there, but I know musicians who have had their page shut down doing that. And so, if I want people to see something, I have to share it on my page. But oh ho! Did you know hardly anybody is seeing that? Better pay some money to get it 'boosted'. What does that do? Who cares? More people see it!

The one-to-many paradigm on FB is so broken there are still bands who run all their media through myspace. I wish I was kidding.

G+ has tried to launch a music service. But of course, you have to pay to get on it. Why? They have more storage than god. If they turned Google Music into Bandcamp and hooked it to G+ half the cool kids would be on G+ tomorrow.

Call me Google, I could use a raise.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:09 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Brilliant! Make everyone use their real name, then switch to pseudonyms. That way they can find out what everyone's preferred pseudonym is, so then they can associate all that with the real name, which they already know.
posted by ctmf at 11:55 AM on July 16 [7 favorites]


Pages (which is what bands are on FB) can't start or join events.

They can start Events. Or at least the Page I run (amateur sports team) can start events. You have to "Use Facebook As: [your page]" from the little \/ down arrow menu on the top right of the page. Then on your Page where you'd write a Status there's an option to create an Event.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:35 PM on July 16 [2 favorites]


You'd be astonished how many companies are trying to track you. Visited a site the other day that Ghostery blocked 17 different trackers on.

You can set Ghostery to popup a list of the trackers it's blocking, and the longest list I've ever seen (and which BOGGLED MY GODDAMNED MIND) was in a recent iteration of the pages for watching episodes of the Daily Show or Colbert Report, which topped out at 48 trackers blocked. Some of which you had to enable for the video with its interstitial ads (louder than the episode audio, in a spectacularly stupid, retrograde imitation of broadcast video) to even play.

It's gotten slightly better since, and now there's only a short preroll static ad, but they've also blocked international viewing (easily worked around). Still: kind of ludicrous.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:33 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Sigh. It's a bit tiring to see the same old snark about Google. It's a collection of individuals, not some faceless borg, for christ's sake.

All of the decisions Google has made, first in instituting the real names policy, and now in abandoning it, are orders of magnitude more nuanced than anything I see in comments on the web. Even on MeFi, which is a disappointment.
posted by dougfelt at 9:46 PM on July 16


Google should publicly demonstrate that 1) it's a collection of individuals that have their own opinions as well as input into decision making processes, and 2) there is nuance going on behind these decisions.

Because as it is now, Google is the epitome of faceless borg, as they have zero customer contact and are incredibly secretive. You need inside connections or be sufficiently internet famous in order to get anything fixed over there, and even then it's a crapshoot. While wielding tremendous power over the Internet, Google chooses to present a unified, emotionless face to the world, and public discussions must take them at face value because there's nothing else to go on. However, I for one would love to hear some of this nuance.
posted by Llama-Lime at 10:49 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Brilliant! Make everyone use their real name, then switch to pseudonyms. That way they can find out what everyone's preferred pseudonym is, so then they can associate all that with the real name, which they already know.

That really is assuming the pseudonymous of us gave them our actual real name, instead of a Real-Like Name which is all that was really required. Hel, I get by on Facebook simply by having a lot of friends and not having a Second Life last name; they do periodic SL purges and fiction purges.
posted by Deoridhe at 10:56 PM on July 16


Google is the epitome of faceless borg, as they have zero customer contact and are incredibly secretive.

Google's customers are not its "users." Its customers are the businesses that buy ads and search placement (and Google Analytics, etc.). And they are DEFINITELY in close contact with those customers. Believe me.

Just the other day, though, I had to create a Gmail account for a client, and I could not for the life of me find a way to create a new account without also getting a G+ account.

I thought there was one Google account for everything now. You sign up, you get Gmail, Docs/Drive, Music, G+, etc. ... no?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:56 PM on July 16


These centralized services shouldn't exist, because they shouldn't have to exist.

We had that. It was called Usenet. It was a sewer.

Personally, I like G+, though it has some annoying limitations. It's perfect for conversing with my friends, playing games online, and sending out event invitations. It really needs a lot better formatting support- when they tried to do something between Facebook and Twitter, they leaned too hard in the Twitter direction. But if I want conversations about something like Fate Core, or participate in private communities about art or fashion, r simply post pictures to, G+ meets my needs.

And what the hell am supposed to use instead? Facebook? Are you fucking kidding me- FACEBOOK? With Facebook I don't even have control over whose feeds I read! Livejournal? The service that goes down every time Putin sneezes, and is ten years behind in usability? Myspace? Don't make me laugh.

Seriously, you want a good replacement for G+, then make it yourself, and make it match my specifications. And then be prepared for me and everybody else to call you a total shithead for making it.
posted by happyroach at 11:49 PM on July 16


inturnaround: "It's amazing how much more civil YouTube comments got when people were forced to use their real names..."

I worry about the imagination of the internet population. IE: Spot the Fake name> Dick Trickle, Dick Cheney, Prince, Early Winn, John Smith, Rob Smith, Joe Johnson, John Jonson, Gaylord Dingler, Gaylord Silly, Helmut Hauser, Dick Butkus, Don Juan Nepomuceno de Burionagonatotorecagageazcoecha, Miroslav Šatan, Melvin Calvin.
posted by Mitheral at 1:58 AM on July 17


Ironically, Google+ massively reduced my engagement with Google products. I briefly want the old Reader back after they broke the social features but Newsblur surpassed it on features awhile back and it has a solid business model which isn't based on selling user data.

I do sometimes wonder about that alternate universe where Google embraced the thriving Reader social network rather than sacrificing it in an attempt to avoid having to admit they got the model wrong with G+ – a stream of cool things your friends found online would have been a lot more appealing and less intimating than trying to turn every link into a quality MeFi post.
posted by adamsc at 6:38 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


We had that. It was called Usenet. It was a sewer.

Quoted for truth.

Usenet was great in many ways, for about a decade or so, but it was also deeply horrible in so many others. Reddit today, is much more regulated, civilized than usenet ever was. It died because it was impossible to ban bad posters and posts, which leaves it today a wasteland of scammers, pornographers and thieves.

G+ and Facebook don't feel like the right answer to me (or why would I be here?), but free-for-all decentralization doesn't work great either, not more than a few years.
posted by bonehead at 6:43 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Google is reportedly separating its photos service from Google+

I really hope that that means that they're going to add some ways of sharing photos other than via G+. I end up downloading my pix and then uploading them for FB or Twitter which is dumb.
posted by octothorpe at 7:41 AM on August 2


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