Google Plus and Gmail Now Opt-In for new Accounts

January 21, 2012

If you haven’t heard, Google announced yesterday that going forward when you create a Google Account, a Google Plus and Gmail account is automatically created.

You can delete these accounts, but they are enabled by default for new Google Accounts and most likely, the average user will probably never know the difference.

As you can tell from my previous posts, like my recent Google Instant/Social Rant, I am not a fan of many of Google’s changes to their search platform. Among my reasons for not liking social search is that it continues/extends the trend of promoting their Google Plus service artificially.

This most recent change of an opt in to Google Plus, IMHO, serves to further promote their Social Network by artificially inflating numbers. I am sure it will do a great deal to boost the 90+ Million Google Plus users they announced recently.

But hey, it is their service and you do not have to use it. It is their prerogative to set the rules, so they can market it however they want.

Google Plus Real Name Requirement and Creating a Semi-Anonymous Email

UPDATE 01/24/2012 Google Slightly relaxes real name requirements on Google Plus.

One concern, aside from the effect this has on Google Plus’s usages numbers, is what an automatic Google Plus account means in terms of Google’s requirement for a real name when creating a Google Plus Account.

In the past, Google has shutdown Google Plus accounts that were linked to a pseudonym or otherwise fake name. While, again, this is their service and they can decide the rules/requirements, there are many reasons why requiring a real name is not always a good thing, especially for a social network where people share thoughts and ideas.

From their TOS, providing “accurate information” is required for accounts.

In order to access certain [Google] Services, you may be required to provide information about yourself (such as identification or contact details) as part of the registration process for the Service, or as part of your continued use of the Services. You agree that any registration information you give to Google will always be accurate, correct and up to date.

It will be interesting to see how this affects their stance on pseudo-anonymous email accounts and if they will begin to disable them.

I prefer, aside from this blog, to be somewhat anonymous when it comes to my online social life and have never felt inclined to create an AOL, Friendster, Myspace, LinkedIn, Facebook, plus, or other social networking page.

I understand given my industry this is arguably counter-productive, but I simply do not like these sorts of social networks. As a result, being able to create an account that is not directly, aside from my IP Address or perhaps an email, tied to my actual Identity is important to me.

Cursory Disclaimer

At the end of the day, Google’s Business is information collection and they do offer some awesome services.

As the saying goes, if the service is free, you are not a customer, but the product. This is very true of all of Google’s services, like Chrome, Android, gMail, Analytics, Plus, and search.

While I am not happy with a lot of their changes and they have, at times, not lived up to their Don’t Be Evil motto, including doing some pretty bad things recently in Africa, they have done a lot of good too.

Their search results, when you remove the artificial plus results, are still very good, they offer a bunch of really neat services, and for an advertiser or website owner, their adwords/adsense/analytics program has a lot of things going for them.

So, point is, while I don’t like a lot of the moves they have been making and they are clearly are evil at times, I don’t only want to hate on Google either or ignore all the things they have done for me.

I hesitate to imagine where we, or even more personally myself, would be if they hadn’t started their search engine and done such a good job of running it for all these years. They have had a tremendous impact on the Internet as we know it.

Google Goes on Offensive With Marketing

When you look at some of the changes to Google recently, it seems they have decided to ramp up their marketing strategy, to throw the full weight of their various services behind marketing and promoting their company.

Android, Chrome, and Chrome-book are obvious examples, where, at least in the case of Android and Chromebook, the user is directly tied to a Google Account.

By opting-in new users to Plus automatically, as well as artificially promoting Google Plus within search results, they further cement their own social service. When you consider their decision to leave out other social networks, like Facebook or Twitter, this further adds to adding power to their social network.

They also promote Chrome over other browsers, like Internet Explorer, with my Firefox 9 showing a message that I should upgrade to “A faster way to browse the web”” today. Although, promoting Chrome over Firefox might be an accident, as from checking the Javascript, it looks like they are checking for Firefox version 3.5.

However, it would seem like they are certainly throwing the full power of their website and services behind their marketing.

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