Aug 30, 2011

Google+ is a goddam Trojan horse

Google+ may look like an social network service and act like an social network service, but it's not. It's bait.

Stilgherrian — Technology writer and broadcaster


Technology writer and broadcaster

Google hasn't actually lied, but it hasn't exactly been honest either. Its new social network service (SNS) Google+ may look like an SNS and act like an SNS, but it's not. It's bait. This is why Google is so stubbornly fighting the #nymwars over its controversial "real names" policy. You know, the one where the message is essentially screw you, Google doesn't care what you want to call yourself. Google doesn't care whether linking your real name -- what some people call your "wallet name" because it's on all the plastic in your wallet -- to your online comments might get you sacked from your job, outed as the only gay in the socially conservative village or your door kicked in by the police. It really, really doesn't care. It has a bigger objective in mind. It's building an identity service. Sweet Jesus! Google+ is a goddam Trojan horse! And this comes straight from the horse's mouth, to jumble metaphors. Google chair Eric Schmidt said it himself during an interview in Edinburgh with Andy Carvin from US National Public Radio. Carvin's post -- on Google+ if you'll excuse the irony -- paraphrases Schmidt's comments on real names:

"He replied by saying that G+ was build [sic] 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."

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25 thoughts on “Google+ is a goddam Trojan horse

  1. joanjett

    I don’t do Facebook but would have embraced it were I still an expat. However I’m interested in the alternative social media springing up which don’t require your private details or browsing history to be stored on someone’s servers somewhere, like Diaspora. I’ve registered on the website to be notified when the beta version is available. I’ve also installed Ghostery into my browser which blocks data mining cookies (most of the time) but still lists all the cookies imbedded in the site. I’m also looking at installing Convergence into my browser to avoid man in the middle attacks. What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Oscar Jones

    Google , by insisting upon ‘wallet names’ may well be aiding fraud. False identities are now so easy to create, especially in Asia where it is a boom industry.

  3. joanjett

    This page for example has about 12 data mining cookies installed

  4. Tomboy

    How come Crikey is hosted on a server in New York?

  5. botswana bob

    GOOGLE could be worse than government![Errr, better make that just as bad]
    Wasn’t the GOOGLE motto Don’t Do Evil?
    Seen one multinational, seen ’em all.

  6. Peter Ormonde

    I have stopped using both Facebook and Google – at least for anything that involves my having an account and providing identifiers. Strongly suggest people do the same… Google is becoming a wolf in sheep’s clothing in my view and we will all end up being fleeced.

  7. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Good is bad at people – appallingly so. There’s few places to complain about the services on the site, and there’s no guarantee one will get a reply.

    This strategy made a little bit of sense sense when all they were providing was a search engine. They didn’t want to be bothered by every SEO huckster’s complaint about their low page ranking. But it’s absolute pants when one is trying to get a social network happening, especially when one is trying to pass arbitrary and inconsistent rules for naming.

  8. (the other) BernardK

    I decided as soon as I saw the real name stuff that I didn’t want to play there. And thanks Stil, this has kinda re-vindicated that decision.

    As an aside , I wish people would get the “don’t do evil” quote correct. It was to the effect of

    ” to make money, you don’t need to do anything evil”

    And yes, I do like your conclusion as well.

  9. overview

    “An identity service is the holy grail. It’s building an identity service.”

    Dead right you are. Soon, there will be a major at all costs push for people to have immediate identification apparatus. Probably instigated by some false flag operation as the pretext.

    Cards and passports of any description can’t do it because of the easy potential for being either duplicated or stolen. So that brings us to something far more personal and personally unique, like something embedded in our bodies that can’t be removed.

    Recently at a night club in the Iberian peninsular, I ran out of Euro’s and the staff offered me a small micro chip easily implanted under my skin, in order to access my accounts. There were no ATM’s in close proximity. Google microchips at Spanish Night Clubs, should be interesting.

    They said it was harmless, pain free and extremely efficient. This micro chip was powered by a tiny lithium battery which was some how rechargable. I declined the offer.

    Later, I did some research on lithium battery micro chips and discovered that if lithium leaks into the human body it can cause lesions and sores that take ages to heal or don’t heal at all.

    Now, I am the most irreligious person you will ever come across, but I found this quite coincidental.

    “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” Revelation 16:2

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