Google adds name verification to social network
Google has added more fuel to the “real name” debate on its social network by promising verified accounts for all users.
Google+ has sparked a debate on anonymity and pseudonyms online, with Google shutting down accounts of people who registered using a nickname – even if that’s what they go by in real life.
Now, it’s followed the lead of other social networks in giving celebrity accounts a “verified name” badge, to prevent people making fake ones.
“When you visit the profile of a celebrity or public figure, you’ll see a verification badge next to their profile name,” said Google+ team member Wen-Ai Yu in a post on the social network. “This will help you easily determine which profiles are owned by real, verified people.”
Sites such as Twitter also offer verified accounts, but generally only for celebrities or those in the public eye, who someone might want to mimic.
Google, however, will eventually verify any user who wants it, suggesting the web giant wants to take its real name system a step further.
“You might be wondering how to verify your own name on Google+,” she said. “For now, we’re focused on verifying public figures, celebrities, and people who have been added to a large number of Circles… but keep in mind that this is just the beginning. We’re working on expanding this to include more people in the future, so hang tight!”
One commenter on the post asked if the new verified account system would lead to Google easing up on the “real name” policy, as it could leave accounts with nicknames “unverified”. However, another Google employee responded: “The naming policy has not changed.”
It’s also unclear how verified accounts will work for non-celebrity people, especially those that have the same name – hundreds of verified John Smith accounts won’t make it any easier to know if you’re talking to the right one.