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A good read and grounds to hope that reason will prevail at Google+ HQ.

via +Chuck Falzone

Peter Steiner’s iconic “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” cartoon may have been drawn in jest--but his point was deadly serious, as recent events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown. In reality, as the web has developed--with users anywhere able to post a blog, share photos with friends and family or “broadcast” events they witness online--the issue of identity has become increasingly important.

So, we’ve been thinking about the different ways people choose to identify themselves (or not) when they’re using Google-in particular how identification can be helpful or even necessary for certain services, while optional or unnecessary for others. Attribution can be very important, but pseudonyms and anonymity are also an established part of many cultures - for good reason.

When it comes to Google services, we support three types of use: unidentified, pseudonymous and identified. And each mode has its own particular user benefits.

Unidentified. Sometimes you want to use the web without having your online activity tied to your identity, or even a pseudonym—for example, when you’re researching a medical condition or searching for that perfect gift for a special someone. When you’re not logged into your Google Account (or if you never signed up for one), that’s how you’ll be using our services. While we need to keep information like IP addresses and cookies to provide the service, we don’t link that information to an individual account when you are logged out.

Pseudonymous. Using a pseudonym has been one of the great benefits of the Internet, because it has enabled people to express themselves freely—they may be in physical danger, looking for help, or have a condition they don’t want people to know about. People in these circumstances may need a consistent identity, but one that is not linked to their offline self. You can use pseudonyms to upload videos in YouTube or post to Blogger.

Identified. There are many times you want to share information with people and have them know who you really are. Some products such as Google Checkout rely on this type of identity assurance and require that you identify yourself to use the service. There may be other times when it’s more desirable to be identified than not, for example if you want to be part of a community action project you may ask, “How do I know these other people I see online really are community members?”

Equally as important as giving users the freedom to be who they want to be is ensuring they know exactly what mode they’re in when using Google’s services. So recently we updated the top navigation bar on many of our Google services to make this even clearer. In the upper right hand corner of these Google pages, you will see an indicator of which account, if any, you are signed into.

We’re also looking at other ways to make this more transparent for users. While some of our products will be better suited to just one or two of those modes, depending on what they’re designed to do, we believe all three modes have a home at Google.
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7 comments
 
So what would be "reasonable" in the case of Google+? Do you mean that it's YouTube and Blogger, and should allow people to use any identification they want? Do you mean that Google+ is the internet and people should be allowed anonymously on it?
 
There is a difference between a pseudonym, and "anonymous communication". I have never been a big believe in the latter, except in countries with no freedom of speech.
 
Yes I'm talking about the former not the latter. A pseudonym recognised and vouched for (like Mark Twain whose real name was Samuel Clemens) and not an anonymous one.
 
They could also have a display name, if they want some other name on file for their own purposes.
 
I checked marktwainproject.org, it has many of his letters online. Anyone assuming that he signed as "Mark" the letters to his wife, or that other people didn't address him as Samuel L. Clemens even if he signed as "Mark" his letters to them, is dead wrong. You can still publish on Blogger using any pseudonym you like, you can't be on + using a pseudonym, it's personal, it's a social network.
 
As laid out in the blog post above, anonymous use of Google services is what you do when you log out and/or open an incognito window, so that wouldn't apply to G+.
 
I don't think anyone is arguing for anonymous use (Unidentified) but plenty want pseudonymous use even if it means identifying themselves to Google.
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