In the early days, Google+ caught a lot of flak for being harsh on people who didn’t want to use their real names. By being harsh, I mean locking their accounts without providing any explanation and then requiring users to jump through all sorts of hoops in order to prove that their name was actually their name. You know, the same way YouTube handles copyright infringement claims.
Well now, Sergey Brin and Vic Gundotra (Google Co-founder, and Senior Vice President of Social Business, respectively) have let the news drop that Google+ will be allowing “other forms of identity,” at a Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. What’s more, they’re also going to be rolling out branding pages for businesses, something that was up in the air ever since Nike and Coca-Cola got booted from the service back in the early days.
The cherry on top? This has been the plan all along, or so they say now. Bradley Horowitz, VP of Google+ Product Management, took pains to explain that there was a reason to lock down pseudonyms in the early days, a reason never mentioned until now. The reason, apparently, was that the Google+ development team needs some time to get other, more important things in place, before allowing users to use fake names, things like policy on minors. A reason for why that reason wasn’t made clear earlier is missing.
It seems that Google+ trying to ease up is part of a general trend, something acknowledged by Horowitz. In the beginning, there was a lot of concern that Google+ users and developers might go nuts and do something Google didn’t want or wasn’t prepared for. They may have been holding the reigns a little tightly, but one can understand the hesitation. Unlike Facebook, Google+ didn’t have a gradual period of increasing use during which to tune. The intial Google+ launch is beginning to look less and less like the start of the actual service, which seems to be happening, slowly, right now. It’s easy to write off (or have written off) Google+ already, but where Google+ is in a couple of months is probably infinitely more important than where it was a couple of months ago.
- Google’s initial reaction to pseudonyms was…over the top
- The huge Google+ traffic boost when it opened to all users
- and the Google+ traffic drop shortly thereafter