Maybe G+'s next requirement will be that profile pictures have to be actual pictures of you!
When G+ first came out I was thrilled that finally perhaps there was a real competitor to Facebook, which I hate, but I use because...everyone else does (well not really everyone else - my own husband refuses to sign up for it). I *thought* Google+ was a social network. I think that's what they wanted me to think.
I know I must have been living under a rock to have missed this (I am a wife and mother you know, and have other things to do like pack for a trip to our Adirondack cabin or repair the dishwasher while our cat supervises instead of worrying what Google is up to), but a month or so ago, I discovered that if you do not use your real, full name in your G+ profile, your account can be suspended. You then have a short time frame to prove that the name you provided is your real name, or else fill in your real name. Upon further investigation, I discovered that G+ is not really a social network but an "identity service". You can read about that in this Forbes article: Google's Eric Schmidt Says Plus is an "Identity Service" Not a Social Network.
And I thought Facebook was bad!
My problem is this: I do not want to put my last name on my Google profile because I don't want it showing up associated with my blog. Or anywhere else, for that matter, unless *I* choose to make my full name "public". (For the sake of my own privacy I'd like to at least make a stalker WORK to figure out who I am!) But if you have a G+ account you are required to use your full name, and you have no option to show any other name but your full name across any service where your profile is displayed. (Actually, it looks like from a recent news article (linked below) that you may be able to display a nickname - BUT IT WILL STILL LINK TO YOUR REAL NAME.)
From the Forbes article, Eric Schmidt is quoted as saying, "Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it..."
Okey dokey, then!
I'm not the only one upset about this - while I was living under a rock there was such a firestorm over the "Real Names" policy when G+ came out, that there is a Wikipedia entry on it! Read about it here: Nymwars
Fast forward to last week, about six months after the Nymwars fiasco, Google finally decided maybe they need to revise their real name policy - you can read about that here: Huffington Post "Google+ Real Names Policy Gets Revised". However, there is nothing at all in the latest "revision" that changes the fact that in 99% of cases your real name will still be public.
I decided I don't need Google+ (G+) enough to compromise my privacy, nor do I have a need to be a part of an "Identity Service", so I "downgraded" from Google+. If you'd like to "downgrade" from Google+, here's how: Downgrade From Google+.
The bigwigs at Google are making the same mistakes the CEO at Netflix did - their heads are so fat from their success they start thinking they can make/sell the products THEY want, the way THEY want. They forget that in order to succeed, you have to make/sell products YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT, the way YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT THEM.
Count me as a former Google+ customer.