Google has been making some serious waves with Google+ in the weeks since its launch. The first big controversy came with their warning to not create brand pages. This culminated in Mashable disregarding the advice, subsequently having the account suspended, and then switching the account to be Mashable founder Pete Cashmore’s personal account and reinstated. This caused some anger across the web, but Google is now dealing with another controversy.
Google+ requires users to use their actual full names. Google doesn’t want you using your handle, screen name, long-time web identity or anything else that is not your actual name — and they are serious. So serious in fact that they are suspending accounts that don’t appear to be adhering to the full name policy.
To many, this sounds like a great thing. It relieves a lot of the issues inherent to anonymity on the web. Now that is gleaning over the many merits of using something other than your actual name, including discussions about how using something other than your real name doesn’t exactly equate anonymity. Aside from the many issues that could be discussed, this is affecting people in big way.
A number of people have already had their accounts suspended, and this turns out to be a much bigger problem than just not being able to use Google+. If the affected users signed up for Google+ using long-standing Google accounts, they have also lost access to everything tied to those services: email, documents, calendars, photos, music, etc. This could be a loss on catastrophic terms for many people.
If you don’t want to use your real name in a social network context, Google+ is not for you. If you are using Google+ with a pseudonym at the moment, either change that to your real name or close your account if you value your Google data. On the brand tip, Google says brand page support is coming in the next few months.