Google CEO: No one is forcing you to use Google Plus

In what I find to be a very disappointing response, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement about using real names on Google Plus that if you don’t want to use your real name, “No one is forcing you to use it [Google Plus].”

I love Google Plus thus far and think that Google has been instrumental in pushing Facebook to build and innovate recently which is only good for us as consumers in the social market. In addition Google Plus provides a new network and platform to experiment and socialize in different ways. I really think Google Plus has a shot to become a bigger platform than Facebook in the long run simply because Google’s reach is so extensive and they have years and years of experience from Facebook, Twitter and Myspace to use as examples of what works and what doesn’t.

I am a proponent for anonymity on the web. And for the CEO of Google to simply say use your real name or get out, I find it offensive. I won’t stop using Google Plus, but things can really go south with this whole real names issue unless Google gets their act together.

Below is the full statement given in response to a question asked of Schmidt by journalist Andy Carvin at the Edinburgh International TV Festival.  I also find it very comedic that Schmidt likened anonymity on the web to users that could be dogs.  I didn’t know that dogs knew how to use the Internets.

Andy asked Eric how he justifies Google’s apparent “real names or go home” stance, given that real identities could put people at risk?

He replied by saying that G+ was built primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they’re going to build future products that leverage that information.

Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+. Regarding countries like Iran and Syria, people there have no expectation of privacy anyway due to their government’s own policies, which implies there’s no point of even trying to have a service that allows pseudonyms.

He also said the internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.


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