There is a lot of debate of Google’s “Real Name Policy” on Google+. Like with many other things in life, some people believe having a Real Name Policy is useful others believe that Internet is what it is because of its open and “free” nature where people could have nicknames etc.
So far I must admit I did not care about Google’s policy, but it all changed when I heard the following words from the horse’s mouth, namely Eric Schmidt. Please read the following quote word by word and reflect over it, think about the rhetoric used and the possible implications thereof.
“If we knew that it was a real person, then we could sort of hold them accountable, we could check them, we could give them things, we could you know bill them, you know we could have credit cards and so forth… we can have slightly better search results if I know a little bit about who you are…. We suggest YouTube videos that you should just watch one after the other. Well if I know the ones that you like, and again with your permission, I can merge that as a signal in, and get a better result.”
One of the first things that struck me the most was the “hold them accountable” part. What exactly does Google mean by holding individuals accountable? I amazed that he actually used those words and straight after that said “we could check them” yet no one bothered to ask him to elaborate on that!
Secondly, Google might “bill you” for things – I am assuming this has something to do with Google Wallet. But Eric Schmidt adds more to it by saying “we could have credit cards”, does that imply that Google is going to be a financial services company?
Thirdly, Eric Schmidt say that users will have “slightly better search results” as result of using their real names. I can see the logic in this but would you be willing to give all your personal data to a commercial company who might “hold you accountable” for God knows what and in return for “slightly better search results”?
Finally, Eric Schmidt soothes us by saying “Google+ is completely optional, if you don’t want to use, you don’t have to”.
Does Eric Schmidt practice what he preaches?
If Google+ is so good and he wants all of us to join with our real names. Which one of these is his own daughter?