Google+ bans real name under ‘Real Names’ policy
First, Google sparked a furor by banning pseudonyms from Google+ under its “Real Names” policy. Its next row, now warming up in Australia, is the banning of real names that happen to lie outside the programmers’ assumptions.
An Australian journalist and commentator, who changed his legal name to the mononym Stilgherrian many years ago, has been bounced from Google+ on the basis of his name.
He describes his experience in an intemperate and NSFW rant here (classification warning: strong language).
The gist is this: mononyms (which actually occur outside the rather cloistered world of the Chocolate Factory) don’t fit the database rules, and are therefore banned by policy. And Stilgherrian, whose real name (that is, the one legally recognized by Australian authorities) is exactly as it appears – one word, no firstname-lastname pair – has had his account suspended.
The Google machine that sent the form letter announcing the account suspension demanded that “The Names Policy requires that you use the name that you are commonly referred to in real life”.
In a follow-up e-mail, Google+ suggests “If you edit your name to comply with our policies in the future … we can re-review your profile”.
Google+, it seems, is definitive, although reality is frequently inaccurate. ®
It's pretty pathetic, isn't it?
Especially as Google+ is also ignoring W3C's "best practices" for personal names:
"If designing a form or database that will accept names from people with a variety of backgrounds, you should ask yourself whether you really need to have separate fields for given name and family name.
This will depend on what you need to do with the data, but obviously it will be simpler, where it is possible, to just use the full name as the user provides it."
Exactly. You don't need this first name, middle name or last name nonsense. You just have one big field to accommodate it all, and you fill in the name as you want it. It's elementary programming, especially if you make the field Unicode. If really, really, really (and I mean REALLY) necessary, the W3C suggests you provide an extra field for Latin transcription of your name, so guys like "Σωκράτης" can have their names in English-friendly "Socrates". (Not that it matters - "Socrates" is actually his full name, so Google+ would find him verbotem.)
The gossip I'm getting is that most Google programmers think Google+'s naming policy is fucking stupid, and have been sharing the kalzumeus link provided above with each other and with their team leaders. However it is upper management - particularly Vic Gundotra, Google's VP for social - that is pushing the policy hard. Why? I have no idea, unless Vic's worried about the loss of the advertising dollar.
To mean, it seems such a waste of effort. Using your energy to create a new technology (like Sir Tim Berners-Lee did for the WWW) - wonderful! Using your will to create a new operating system (as Dave Cutler and Linus Torvalds both did) - groovy! But staking your reputation on pushing a corporate policy that (a) is broken by design, and (b) killed a lot of goodwill that people had for Google+? It's the sort of thing that gives managers a bad name.
The last clockwork Welshman passed away in 1963. All Welshmen are now either gas- or electricity-powered and require no winding.
It does seem from the comments here that some of the English are still using the old key-and-mainspring system though, and they no longer come with a stiff upper lip.
They don't listen because you are not a user
You are a product, plain and simple. Google is selling you to their clients - the companies that are paying to have their ads displayed.
Google is an advertising company and everything they do is only meant to get you to look at more ads and generate more cash for them.