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Why do +Sergey Brin and +Larry Page let Eric Schmidt talk?

If these comments are faithfully reported here, then Schmidt is essentially saying:

* If you don't like us forcing you to expose the name we believe is your "real name," then you can fuck off. We don't need you. You need us.

* I'm going to pretend that the solution everybody has proposed (we know your name, but making it public is optional) doesn't exist. <Fingers in ears> La, la, la, la, la, la, la.

* +Bradley Horowitz was lying when he told +Tim O'Reilly our "real names" policy would be fixed in order to enable some form of anonymity.

http://www.businessinsider.com/googles-bradley-horowitz-discusses-state-of-google-with-tim-oreilly-2011-8

Way to go, Schmidt! You've really un-done a lot of good will and great PR from the Google+ team.

(Note, G+ didn't auto-link to Schmidt's profile for some reason.)
Andy Carvin originally shared:
 
I'm at the Edinburgh Intl TV Festival and just got to ask a question to Google CEO Eric Schmidt regarding real names on G+. I asked him how Google justifies the policy given that real identities could put people at risk.

He replied by saying that G+ was build 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 (to me, at least) that Schmidt thinks there's no point of even trying to have a service that allows pseudonyms. Unfortunately, the way the Q&A was conducted, I wasn't in a position to ask him a followup on this particular point.

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.

These aren't exact quotes, but I did my best to paraphrase the gist of what he was saying.

Comments?
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The more I think about it the more I don't understand. If they think they will make more money if they have more members to show ads to, isn't it obvious that Real Names + Pseudonyms > Just Real Names?
 
I disagree. And around and around we go. However, I am willing to admit I might be wrong.
 
+Mike Elgan : "(Note, G+ didn't auto-link to Schmidt's profile for some reason.)"

Does Eric Schmidt even have a Google+ profile? I don't think he does.
 
wow! can no one make a strong point without the use of obscenities anymore?
 
i thought scoble did a 180 to a position of opposing the policy.
 
+archer rehcra : "wow! can no one make a strong point without the use of obscenities anymore?"

Huh? Where did someone use an obscenity? I must have missed something.... OMG! Mike said the F-word! Oh horrors!! Oh my virgin ears!!!

Never underestimate the power of a well-placed obscenity, archer.
 
If you disagree with the policy don't use the free tool.
 
Actually, I think what Schmidt says makes sense.

1. It's Google's network, and can be run as Google sees fit. If you don't like the rules, don't play. That's pretty simple. (And it's not necessarily "f- off" any more than 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' is f- off.) There are plenty of other networks to utilize if you don't feel you can use your real name.

2. Schmidt's comment about why is revelatory (at least to me): *They're planning to build other products based on real identities.* I haven't seen that before, but it certainly explains why Google is being adamant about this, and why proposed alternatives aren't being adopted. Google+ is an identity service. I'm intrigued as to what one might build relying on that . . .
 
+Dwight Silverman Sure it's google network and they are free to say you are unwelcome if you are an abused woman or a stalked person or someone who has an unconventional real name. They are also free to say we who protest the policy are unwelcome. I sense that step will come next.
 
the "free tool" argument is so absurd,

if i need a hammer, and my neighbor loans me one, i shouldn't complain because it's made of fiber and not wood. my neighbor is doing me a favor.my neighbor isn't dependent of me using his hammer. my neighbor's living isn't dependent on me using his hammer.
Xah Lee
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+Mike Elgan any public source of Sergey or Larry's views on the g+ naming issue? Thanks.
 
I think the real names policy is totally acceptable however, their enforcement of it has been questionable at best...I'm sick and tired of people called xiis233sshe throwing around racist slurs on youtube videos...
 
+archer rehcra: "if i need a hammer, and my neighbor loans me one, i shouldn't complain because it's made of fiber and not wood. my neighbor is doing me a favor.my neighbor isn't dependent of me using his hammer. my neighbor's living isn't dependent on me using his hammer."

Nope, but the building of a house is dependent upon somebody's hammer. And there are precious few "hammers" like Google+.
 
+Dwight Silverman Again, they can require real identities without requiring public exposure of said identities. There is no connection between making G+ an identity service and forcing people to publicly expose the name Google thinks is "real."

Secondly, they have no possible way to establish real names. They're only attacking weird names. If your fake name sounds "normal," like Bill Smith, you're fine. If your real name is Jumpin Jack Flash then Google will harass you about it.

Third, if you're not wearing shoes and a restaurant gives you the "f-off," then you go to the burger joint next door. Google isn't claiming that it wants to be one of the hundreds of social services, but instead asserting the idea of being THE social layer for the entire Internet.

Fourth, the leader of the Google+ project, +Bradley Horowitz, says Google+'s real names policy is broken, and that Google intends to fix it by allowing some measure of anonymity. Schmidt is directly contradicting what Horowitz said.
Xah Lee
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+Patrick Scott totally agree. These days, any video of YouTube are some 95% of complete garbage comments from anonymous.
 
+Patrick Scott and so you'd like to live with the illusion that those sentiments don't exist? a simple system enabling blocking of such is the best solution. it's not the name, it's the behavior. also, it's more than a bit ironic that google apparently does nothing at youtube to deal with such people.
 
"given that real identities could put people at risk" - if that is the case, then perhaps that person should change their name in real life, first and foremost?
 
+Xah Lee and +Patrick Scott It's not a "real names" policy. It's a "normal names" policy. Anyone can make up a name that sounds "normal," and Google can't and won't challenge it.
 
+Xah Lee +Patrick Scott Youtube's comments are a mess. Nobody is asking for that here. We are looking for the right to use persistent pseudonyms. Not fly-by-night anonymity.
 
+Mike Elgan Real Content Please
Where is the actual video, audio or quests from this? All I am seeing is that some random person says Schmidt said "Blah". So, can some one please link to to some real content? I would love to see/hear this.
 
It's fine with me that Google is an identity service, we can use that. But, how would Andy Carvin's great journalism be if Twitter required real names? It seems clear to me that we need both types of communication services. Sometimes important news reports require anonymity.
 
+Mike Elgan - Yes that is where I think Google's enforcement of the policy is a fail. I love the fact that people can't call themselves kIE2ks Sh8 on G+ but I think reasonable psuedonyms like Nixie Pixel should be allowed ....
 
Also, I think Google have opted for this policy also because of their experience with email and web spam. You know, people running 1000 "auto-blogs" and spamming the whole internet with fake blog comments to get backlinks. Then Google does their best to algorithmically punish these spammers, while the collateral damage - the real bloggers who also get punished - their numbers are not insignificant either (as if they had not been punished by the spammer content ranking in SERPs higher than them). This just has to start to stop somewhere. And if you say that the only (or main) problem is that this is not "real name" but rather "real-sounding name" policy - then I think that's an implementation glitch, which will be worked out sooner or later, by employing name verification that works.
 
+Amy Rothstein I agree with your point! Persistent pseudonyms should be allowed since they're not truly anonymous and are less likely to go around attacking people because they will be affected by a block (unlike somebody using the name adf123hjsw - when they get blocked, they simply create a new account called 2dasdq1esw)
 
Eric Schmidt doesn't have a profile on the public Google+. I'm sure he has a profile on the internal test version but he doesn't have one on the public internet as far as I can tell.

I find this extremely odd.
 
Good. I for one don't want to deal with fakes. They can go elsewhere.
Xah Lee
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+Mike Elgan The way i like to say is that g+ wants to prevent people using fantasy names. (e.g. as used in second life, gaming, etc). But then the fantasy name users use this point to argue falsely that g+ require their real ID, which is not true.

I think preventing fantasy name is a good measure, because it at least attach some responsibility to the name when you use a name that sounds normal. e.g. like pen names used by writers. Even though a pen name is technically a fake name, but the difference is that the name's holder attach responsibility to it, and pen names usually have to sound normal to work its magic. This is the gist of g+'s naming requirement, in my view.

If google truely allow any name, then g+ will immediately die, be filled with spammers, trolls, anonymous, all things fly. Filter won't work. Spam got worse and worse in the past 20 years in every media (email, blog comment, then blog itself, IM, social networks (e.g. fb, twitter)). It's tech war escalation. For those who support fake names, i think this is a good business reality point to consider. If g+ fails to be competitive to Facebook, then we really lost all the reason to want to be on g+ in the first place. There's Google's Orkut, and literally hundreds others.
 
+Mike Elgan Re: Schmidt vs. Horowitz - who works for whom? Schmidt may indeed have spoken without knowing the details of how G+ policy is being crafted, but what's more interesting to me is his description of a broader strategy.

I can see real value in telling a customer of a Google product: "You can trust these people are who they say they are." Right now, that process may be "broken", but the overarching strategy remains.

I think it's clear that Google's "harassing" of people with unusual names is initially algorithm-based. It's first caught by a machine, then later vetted by humans ... probably far too few, and too far down the policy chain, and not well-trained yet. This is all new and being worked out as it goes. It's beta, including the policy.

Personally, it's now how I would run G+, and I think there needs to be some allowance for established online identities. But Schmidt's statement - particularly in light of the future products detail - makes sense to me.
 
Why is this such a big deal? I am sure at some point they will allow you to use nicknames but like he said it's primary function is as an identity service. Why is this so hard to understand? If you don't like that then go build your own...
 
so someone has said, "spam [and such] have gotten worse and worse"

really? this reminds me of friends i have that are still on aol and using i.e. complaining about all the pop ups, spam, malware, and viruses they're plagued with. they hate the situation, but won't do the simple things to remedy it.

folks who are all down with google's policy seem to be these types, and see it as protecting them from "unpleasantness" that they are either too lazy, or stupid to deal with on their own.
 
This doesn't affect only those who who don't wish to use real names. I don't use a pseudonym, but if things aren't eventually resolved so that certain of my friends and "nyms" I follow elsewhere aren't welcome (and I still hold out hope for resolution), I'll simply stop using Google+.
 
What The What
I am still not seeing proof that he said this. Can some one please link me some audio of video. All I can find is some random persons claims. Are we getting all worked up over random claims?

Video or audio link please... Anyone?
 
+Moira Nielsen : " ...if things aren't eventually resolved so that certain of my friends and "nyms" I follow elsewhere aren't welcome (and I still hold out hope for resolution), I'll simply stop using Google+."

I won't go as far as you would go, Moira. But I do grieve for many people I know who have left Google+, who would have added much to the good discussions here.
 
+Alice Cabrera First of all corporations are in the business of making money. Irrespective of the Supreme Court of US, corporations are not people, they contain people, and some of them even have some say in the direction of the corporation.
Secondly, what is the "Badge" thing that came in an email some months ago? Anyone have contact with this odd request?
So I am rather enamored with Google, so I don't see exactly straight as I might ususlly, but adding the Badge with the real name, in my mind is targeted ads when wondering the internet. Which I don't find to awfully horrible, just rather annoying, (Adblock!) But that is as far as I see it.
I rather like conversation with opinionated people versus a batch of children and grandchildren discussing their drinking issues and where they are headed for shopping. Thank you - Circles!
 
+Jacob Chappell, i've been bugged by this too. as it's been two days now, i'm guessing that audio and video don't exist.
 
+Ryan Schultz, I won't have much of a choice. Funny thing about my demographic (middle-aged women) is that a good percentage of us will not use our real names online. Some have concerns regarding children's privacy, others are simply wary, all too often with some life experience that has made them so.
 
I rather like conversation with opinionated people versus a batch of children and grandchildren discussing their drinking issues and where they are headed for shopping

yes, and of course all of us who have a problem with the policy are very fond of such and are in a panic that we will be deprived.
 
I think Page took the reigns for a reason. While I'm sure Schmidt is a competent guy, he doesn't seem to have any vision - something which Page is not lacking.

Look at the whole Steve Jobs situation now and wonder about Apple's future. It's not that Apple doesn't have brilliant people (they most certainly do!), but Jobs was a driving force - a visionary leading from the front. Schmidt doesn't seem to be that type of guy.

I wouldn't worry too much about what Schmidt says; he's said numerous things in the past about not getting involved in the social space, or at least not recognizing the potential...and look where Google is headed now.

Edit: Google is an innovative company. I'm convinced they will find a workable solution that helps them meet their business goals and satisfying their user base.
 
Maybe it's time we all got some integrity and were actually held responsible for the things we say online. Instead of freely trolling a forum or G+ comments because we can hide behind a pseudonym, we might behave like decent human beings because our real names are visible: there might be a whole lot less vileness all over the intarwebs. Of course, this doesn't address the safety issue which is very real for some people, I know. Perhaps if people were actually responsible for their behavior online, safety would be much less of an issue.
 
Yeah, Scoble told me the same thing when I accused him of using the service completely unlike anyone else and then complaining that it doesn't work right. He said he had another account with only ~100 people in his Circles. Now we've only got one account? Which is it?
 
attention porn pimps: please stay on the sidelines of the nymwars. you participation can't be a good thing.
 
+Juraj Vitko [And if you say that the only (or main) problem is that this is not "real name" but rather "real-sounding name" policy - then I think that's an implementation glitch, which will be worked out sooner or later, by employing name verification that works.]

Right. I'm sure that'll work out as well as picking out the link-farm blogs from the legitimate ones.
 
Aye, everytime I hear Eric make a comment I think 'and this is why you have PR people check stuff'. He does an awesome job in making Google sound creepy, and giving competitors ammo to use. Now, I could understand it if it was a techy geek saying the things he does, unaware of the social side of things perhaps and that it's really cool tech, but in his position, he really does need a 'self aware filter' mode.
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+Mike Elgan said: "Secondly, they have no possible way to establish real names. They're only attacking weird names. If your fake name sounds "normal," like Bill Smith, you're fine. If your real name is Jumpin Jack Flash then Google will harass you about it."

Do Googlers know every language in the world? How does one define a "weird name"? How does one define a "normal" name? Normal to who? That is an entirely subjective measure, and is subject to cultural and social bias. I had never heard of Ms. Violet Blue before this current controversy, but when I did hear about it, I wondered how anyone could think that she and/or her name was fake, especially since Cher's son with Gregg Allman was named Elijah Blue. Are you going to say that he is "fake", or that his name is "not normal"?

Determining the realness or the fakeness or the "normality" (whatever that means) of a name, any name, cannot be done by any computer algorithm, hence it would have to be done by human beings who by the evidence of this and other such controversial examples, do not and cannot know whether or not a name is "real", or "fake", or "normal". If they are having problems with Western names, God alone knows how they will screw up with perfectly valid names from other, non-Western cultures...and this is valid, since (like most things on the Internet), G+ is accessible and used worldwide.

To quote +Robert Scoble "The policy isn't defensible and isn't workable. I'm waiting for Google to get one that is."

And anyone who trots out the "pseudonyms make people troll or be rude online" argument, obviously hasn't been paying attention. If you're a jerk, you're a jerk, whether you "hide behind a pseudonym" or not. If this wasn't true, then no one would ever have an argument in the street with a stranger. People can be and are rude while using their real names, while using their pseudonyms, and while using the "name" Anonymous.
Eddie N
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+David Shellabarger said: "Eric Schmidt doesn't have a profile on the public Google+. I'm sure he has a profile on the internal test version but he doesn't have one on the public internet as far as I can tell. I find this extremely odd."

The name of that policy is "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" :)
 
+Eddie N I'd add that the Internet provides a perception of anonymity. We're all communicating now outside our physical realm. I doubt I will ever see most of you face-to-face. So the ramifications of me acting like a jerk are largely removed. Because of this, we are all operating within a perceived level of anonymity. Whether we're bad actors under this is more to do with our personal morals and that of the community we're in than the power of a name.
 
I can't say I disagree with anything that Schmidt said.
 
Bradley's quotes are irrelevant to the context of my statement. I simply do not disagree with any of Schmidt's sentiments about the need for pseudonyms and anonymity with Google+.
 
I had a Livejournal account for some time, under a pseudonym, and I felt an incredible freedom to discuss stuff that I would never talk about on G+ or facebook, while posting under my real name. I am constantly censoring myself, because you know what? It's the people using their real names who are often the biggest ass-hats. I don't care about anonymous trolls and spammers - they are simple enough to ignore. But when you engage in a supposedly polite conversation with a bunch of supposedly responsible adults using their real names, it's a heck of a lot more jarring when someone who is absolutely convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong starts to engage in ad hominem attacks and so on.

Afaiac, the most intelligent, engaged, creative, and visionary conversations are happening over in the pseudonym corner. All you real-name loving people who list yourselves by job title are actually pretty boring, you know? Not all of us are on the internet because we want to hear about the latest tech gadgets and swap social networking jargon. In fact, people who like that stuff are actually in the minority, but we hear disproportionately far more about that stuff because they are all a bunch of self-promoting bandwidth hogs.
 
+Al Cleveland Why would you assume that because someone is using an assumed name, they are assuming equally false opinions? I generally find the opposite to be true more often - like I said in my prior comment, I am much more likely to tell you what I REALLY think if I'm using a pseudonym. Even in North America, we're constantly monitored, potential employers can check our social networking sites to see whether we have any 'troublesome' political affiliations or lifestyle choices. It's none of their damn business, but business has MADE it their business to sell our personal information to advertisers.

It's a huge mistake to assume that someone posting with a pseudonym is uttering false opinions. They may well be the only people who actually feel safe enough to tell you the truth.

Don't confuse anonymity with pseudonyms - they are NOT the same. My observation is that the people who are the most rabidly opposed to allowing for pseudonymous identity are those who are generally fear-driven, who dislike change or challenge to the status quo, and who are the least open-minded politically, socially and culturally. And mostly it's because they have pseudonymity confused with anonymity. Think about it. And maybe take a moment to read some of the excellent articles on the subject instead of having a knee-jerk reaction and re-quoting sound-bytes from the most reactionary, conservative public figures in the debate. Because you know those people have a corporate agenda, and no matter how comforting and normal it all sounds, that is not in ANYONE'S best interest.
 
+Al Cleveland - have you ever watched politics on TV? Are you absolutely sure it takes an odd name to be dishonest or to troll? And what's more - you want a "real sounding" name because you think someone picking a pseudonym designed to fly under the radar is more likely to have an honest conversation with you? Fascinating.
 
I think one thing we can agree on is that people who care about Google+ developing as a useful and enjoyable social network don't want it to degenerate into the racist, sexist, religiously biased, abusive trolling that goes on in YouTube comments.

While it's true that YouTube members use pseudonyms, that has nothing to do with a desire to hide their real names. They can't use their real names when they register on YouTube. YouTube requires unique names, so only the first Bill Smith can be BillSmith, then maybe the second was Bill_Smith, then BillSmith1, bsmith45, bills57438, etc. All the normal sounding names were taken years ago.

Google+ does not require unique names. There can be as many Bill Smiths as sign up. What's more, there can be more, since there is nothing stopping fake accounts from being created with the name Bill Smith.

The only reason spammers and trolls on YouTube don't call themselves Bill Smith is that some other Bill Smith got there first. They're perfectly content using the name Bill Smith here. They can use any fake name that gets them under the radar.
 
Fourth, the leader of the Google+ project, +Bradley Horowitz, says Google+'s real names policy is broken, and that Google intends to fix it by allowing some measure of anonymity. Schmidt is directly contradicting what Horowitz said.

Well, as much as I hate appearing to support a view I disagree with. Schmidt could be one of those people that sticks to the current party line until it actually changes. This, if true, then implies that he knows that there is no change being implemented at this time, and may not be for quite a long while.
 
+Dwight Silverman but if g+ doesn't take off, i.e. it doesn't succeed as a social network, there's NO broader strategy.
 
+Dwight Silverman Enjoyed your TWIT show today, BTW. : )

It seems to me that what Google should really want is all the information on your credit card. That would enable them to be Facebook, Twitter, AND Amazon.com. What they do NOT need to do is force users to share any of their credit card info -- including their name -- with the general public.
 
+Mike Elgan Google does not have 225+ million user accounts with verified credit card information—unlike Apple, which does.
 
+Alice Cabrera Forgive me for trying to envision a positive outcome from this policy rather than joining in the meh-meh-meh.
Eddie K
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+Jacob Chappell re-read the post (either by +Robert Scoble or +Mike Elgan) and look at the OP share link: +Andy Carvin is hardly some random person ... if you want to nitpick, is that Carvin is paraphrasing. Does the video/audio still matter?

What does real content mean, anyway? Is that anything like real names +archer rehcra ?
 
+Mike Elgan So, has this whole debate made you seriously reconsider whether or not you should actually be a member of G+? All the indications from Google's top brass say that they're completely tone deaf to the issue, and that if you don't like it you can take a hike.

I think that's precisely what needs to happen, and the first people to go should be those with lots of followers and lots of influence. Honestly, people like you have the power to drive this change and your vote to simply not use the service while it is so clearly broken would send quite a signal.
 
+Eddie K Seems like it's deliberately written to do just that. Much in the style of whipping up mass hysteria
 
+Kent Rigel got it right. It didn't take email spammers that long to begin using fake but plausible names to help get around spam filters. And nothing that I've seen on G+ so far can prevent them from creating a "Bill Smith" or "Mary Johnson" account as often as necessary (once G+ is open to the general public) to pollute comment threads with advertisements for cheap viagra and fat-burning air freshener.
 
Completely agree, reading his response sounded to me like "we don't care". He did undone lot of good faith in this network with this comment.
Honestly with this policy G+ will be an "incomplete" interests network.
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