Google+ is the newest social network to hit the world-wide-web and it has been a long anticipated Google brainchild. According to BBC Google+ was able to reach 20 million users in 24 days before decided to delete accounts attached to pseudonyms.
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter were told to make room back in June when Google launched Google+ however no matter how big the ship, sailing on unchartered seas is bound to have some rough spots. Google+ is in for a battle as Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, does not want to see Google succeed. Information Week however says that Facebook has more than 750 million users, giving it a commanding lead that Zuckerberg can expect to keep for years despite the size of Google+ parent company Google.
Currently Google+ is in it’s beta testing phase, meaning Google is extending the social network out to a small group of users to see how they will interact with the interface. Vic Gundotra, Google SVP of Social, extended a public apology after Google+ had a minor spam storm on July 9, 2011.
“For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications,” he wrote in a Google+ post. “Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes. We didn’t expect to hit these high thresholds so quickly, but we should have.”-Vic Gundotra on Google+ spam storm
In the first month this can be expected, think of the Apple iPhone when it first emerged, Facebook and even Twitter. The bar of expectations regarding Google+ is high and Google’s most recent stunt is not winning fans over. For years individuals have chosen their identities online, creating another life if they wish. Kirrily Robert, a Google user, voiced her concern to PC Pro, claiming that Google has unclear policies and unfairly suspended her account “Skud”. Despite her blog followers backing, Google pulled the plug by sending her the same message 1,000’s of others received.
“Your profile is suspended. After reviewing your profile, we determined that the name you provided violates our Community Standards. If you believe this profile has been suspended in error, please provide us with additional information via this form, and we will review your profile again.”
Plans for Google+ to expand to business users could be the most promising, linking Gmail accounts and creating easy communication. However Google is banning pseudonyms from being used in order to keep businesses from using Google+ before it is ready for them. Google+ is not ready to take on businesses as they are just trying to work out the kinks amongst daily social users.
Facebook and LinkedIn require real names in order to secure an account, why Google+ is hearing such hardship is beyond my understanding. Google believes that when a user is forced to use their real name they are less likely to engage in hostile or unpleasant forum comments and avoid the spambot problem that Twitter and Myspace users struggle with.
A suggestion on the table to keep users happy and Google+ operating include taking into account the personal lives and stories behind why a pseudonym is necessary, however there may be more than meets the eye on this issue.
Think of advertising. Ad campaigns are most successful when they are targeted at specific users. If Google+ can get Google names and interests, than they will truly become one of the biggest online advertising/marketing frontiers out there. Think about the Super Bowl, the commercials are geared towards the people who are watching the game. Men and their families watch displays of why you should snack on Doritos, drink Pepsi, or buy insurance for your family with Geico. Super Bowl ad revenue is tremendous because there is a target audience. By forcing individuals to use their real names, Google+ is giving Google a chance to advertise based on the individual users.
Look at it like this. To The BQB I am Holly Robin. You can go on our staff page and see a little about myself, I choose to advertise my Twitter and Facebook as the same so people could find me if they wish. Some writers decide to take on pen names so as not to combine their two lives. Google+ wants you to have the same online face as you do when you are operating off of the computer and it will have its benefits if successful.
Google+ is allowing people to interact on a social level without sacrificing the people skills needed to have a face-to-face conversation. There are individuals I speak with via online exchange that would never approach me to my face if they saw me in the flesh. Personally for me that’s disturbing and I believe Google’s approach with Google+ is a step in the right direction. What do you have to hide?
However the downside is that there are some individuals who are uncomfortable with themselves until they stepped into the social skin of Facebook, blogging or other networking platforms like Google+. There are no judging eyes, whispering lips or smirking smiles online and this takes off the pressure for a lot of individuals. By doing away with the ability to create a pseudonym, Google+ denies individuals the ability to escape from their daily lives, forcing them to be the same person they feel is just not good enough.
It’s hard to say who is right. Both arguments pertaining to Google+ forcing users to use their real names are justified. For me it is not sad that Google and Google+ are trying to force them, it is sad that users feel they have to hide for reasons other than their personal safety. With a ton of potential Google continues the testing of Google+ amongst individual users and just like anything else, it’s social success can only be determined in time.