Why The Google+ Real-Name Debate Should Matter To You

Interesting article over at AllThingD by Liz Gannes about Google+ and its Real-Name debate. In all the excitement about Google+, she asks if we are not missing something very important about the real-name debate. Why is Google insisting so hard that we use our real name, going so far as to delete accounts that it believes contravene this stipulation? Why is it so important that Google knows who we are? Google+ insists we do not use a nickname and have multiple accounts, but use our real name (though they now permit nicknames, but not multiple accounts). In other words, they want each person to be identified with only one real identity.

Chances are you use Google to search the Web, Gmail to communicate, YouTube for entertainment, etc. Now, imagine each of these search for an item, a person, a celebrity, a street, a company, a term, a movie, every conversation you have on Gmail, every YouTube you watch, every book you buy, every music you download… they are all tagged with your real name (or that one identity that unequivocally points to you). There’s simply no hiding in Google’s brave new world.

Do I, do you, really want Google to know what YouTube video you watched yesterday, what songs you listened to, what sites you visited, which celebrity sets your heart aflutter? Do we really want Google to know that much about us? Forget Facebook. Compared to Google+, FB looks like a kid trying to bully us in the schoolyard.

Ms. Gannes makes some compelling arguments about the whole privacy issue which makes me think: how much privacy are we willing to surrender… and for what? Turkish delight? Will we, like poor Edmund of Narnia fame, be left staring very hard at an empty box afterward? Food for thought.

Read the article at: AllThingD.