One fell swoop

How one wrong move on Google+ can help you lose half the Web

I left Facebook for Google+ a while ago, although not many have found doing that to their liking. While why anybody would want to remain with Facebook (except, perhaps, for its Pages feature) is beyond me. But that is another issue altogether. In spite all these indications, Google+ received positive reviews and reached 10 million sign-ups in no time. And yet one policy of Google+ seems to bother everybody.

The use of your real name

A huge lot of people get thrown out of Google+ for registering with fake names (including sugarguy postman and teddy teddybear which I came across somewhere!) All Google asks these people to do is prove that those names are really theirs; and since those fellows cannot, Google throws them out—they will effectively be barred from using any Google service under that name.

The funny thing is that Google’s services—although they began humbly as BackRub within Stanford compounds—have now spread all over the Web. They have their hands in roughly half the internet, from search engines to emails to advertising to website traffic analysis to blogging to browsers to operating systems to mobile phones to anything else technologically advanced that you can think of.

One name for all

The catch is that every man in his senses would connect all Google products to one account: one username, one password and (needless to say) one real name, one address, one company and so on.

In other words, this means that when you make one wrong move on Google+ (read their Terms of Usage: it took me a good half-hour) you will, often even with no prior warning, be disconnected from all your Google services. You will lose access to your emails, your advertising earnings (unless you have already been banned from AdSense, like me,) Picasa photographs and everything else you put up on the Google cloud.

And, considering you signed up with FunnyName FunnierName as your real name, you have no method to prove that that is really you.

Age restrictions

A 13 year-old kid from Norway, who had a two-year-old Google account was banned from using all services, almost overnight, because he signed up to Google+. It was clearly a violation of the Terms of Usage and Google cannot be blamed, but it ought to serve as a wonderful example for what I have been stressing all these days, since I got invited to use Google+ before the public release: this is no playground like Facebook.

As the G+ Insider points out, while Facebook asks its users to use their real name, it makes no effort to press this rule with gusto. However, this does not play a good role in other areas. As it turns out, Facebook is as lenient in all areas of its Terms of Usage (one I particularly despise is people tagging me without my permission, which, as of the date of this article, is a violation of their Terms of Use) that it becomes too much of a playground for kids.

No Playground

Those preferring to switch entirely to Google+ in this scenario are mostly nerds, as a recent survey pointed out, (which probably explained why I decided to switch,) and those who prefer a flexible Terms of Use (ever tried that Send Feedback button?) which restricts misuse, abuse and overly playful nature.

It would be like suggesting, “Let’s keep G+ clean.” And not full of everything that Facebook has come to be. In short, treading through Google+ will be a sensitive issue for some, while it will come naturally to others. Especially if you switched from long time pal Facebook, voluntarily.