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Google takes some heat over Google+
Posted By Camille Canon On January 25, 2012 @ 3:53 pm In Featured,News,Social Media | No Comments
It seems like we can’t make it through a week in January without Google sparking controversy over its social network Google+. With the network’s introduction of a new user pseudonym policy and an automatic opt-in for all new Gmail accounts this week, it looks like the debates around Google+, privacy, and the integrity of Google’s search results are just getting started.
Check out the following resources to read more on the criticism Google’s Search Plus has received to date:
The debate over Google+ and Search Plus doesn’t stop here, though. With the recent introduction of Google’s new username policy and its automatic Google+ opt-in for all new Gmail accounts, we can expect to hear a lot more from the privacy advocacy community as well as Google’s competitors.
Google+ now allows pseudonyms (well, not really)- The debate over online identity and the use of pseudonyms on social networks has been an on-going topic within a larger discourse about privacy, public identity, freedom of thought and expression, and advertisement in the digital era. Google Plus weighed in on this debate on Monday and changed their policy to allow users to use nicknames and pseudonyms on the network.
Don’t get too excited. This doesn’t mean we will be able to revive our old AIM usernames. Google will only allow users to use nicknames, maiden names, or pseudonyms if the user can prove to Google through the proper documentation that he or she is publicly known under that name either on- or offline. If Google flags a user profile that it suspects to be operating under a pseudonym, Google requests the user provide substantial proof  of their identity though “references to an established identity online in print media, official documentation, or proof of an established online identity with a meaningful following.”* “We want to build a product that is for humanity at large, and we recognize people have many notions around identity and ways to represent themselves,” states Bradley Horowitz in a Google+ post  announcing the change. “We want to be as inclusive as possible while still ensuring the integrity of the system and the community.”
Automatic Google+ opt-in- Google Operating System  (not affiliated with Google) broke the news on Friday that users can no longer sign up for a new Gmail account without automatically creating a Google Profile and joining Google+. In response to Google Operating System’s post, a Google spokesperson explained , “We’re working to develop a consistent sign-up flow across our different products as part of our efforts to create an intuitive, beautifully simple, Google-wide user experience. Making it quick and easy to create a Google Account and a Google profile enables new users to take advantage of everything Google can offer.”
Focus on the user- Developers at Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace have developed a demo , which allows users to view how often Google ignores relevant results from other social networks in favor of its own Google+ profiles. The tool relies entirely on Google’s own data. Here’s how it works , “If Google decides that it’s relevant to surface a Google+ page as a result in any of the areas where Google+ content is hardcoded , the tool searches Google for the name of the Google+ page. Then, the tool identifies the social profiles within the first ten pages of Google results (top 100 results). The ones Google ranks highest — whether they are from Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Quora, Tumblr, Foursquare, Crunchbase, FriendFeed, Stack Overflow, Github or Google+ — replace the previous results that could only be from Google+. This tool is offered as a bookmarklet , which is a small bit of code that runs in a web browser and temporarily enables additional functionality.”
What do you think about Search Plus? How has it impacted your Google search experience? And has it changed your opinion of Google+?
* Italics added by author.
Article printed from The Search Agents: http://www.thesearchagents.com
URL to article: http://www.thesearchagents.com/2012/01/google-take-some-heat-over-google/
URLs in this post:
 “Search Plus Your World,”: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/search-plus-your-world.html
 online privacy advocates: http://epic.org/privacy/EPIC-FTC-Google-Search-letter.pdf
 settlement: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20048771-281.html?tag=mncol;txt
 Google tying Google Plus and many more-: http://www.benedelman.org/news/011212-1.html
 Ben Edelman: http://www.thesearchagents.com/2011/04/ben-edelman-on-disclosure-labels-in-paid-search/
 Is too much plus a minus for Google?-: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2012/01/too-much-plus-a-minus/all/1
 Real-Life Examples Of How Google’s “Search Plus” Pushes Google+ Over Relevancy: http://searchengineland.com/examples-google-search-plus-drive-facebook-twitter-crazy-107554
 Google’s job as a search engine: http://searchengineland.com/search-engines-should-be-like-santa-107400
 substantial proof: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113116318008017777871/posts/SM5RjubbMmV
 Google Operating System: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-google-accounts-require-gmail-and.html
 demo: http://www.focusontheuser.org/faq.php
 areas where Google+ content is hardcoded: http://www.focusontheuser.org/examples.php
 bookmarklet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bookmarklet
 Privacy Day on Facebook: http://www.thesearchagents.com/2009/12/privacy-day-on-facebook/
 Facebook Introduces New Privacy Controls: http://www.thesearchagents.com/2010/05/facebook-introduces-new-privacy-controls/
 The Continuing Battle for Privacy: Firefox 22 to Block Third Party Cookies in Firefox by Default: http://www.thesearchagents.com/2013/02/the-continuing-battle-for-privacy-firefox-22-to-block-third-party-cookies-in-firefox-by-default/
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