Google not only does evil but proves its stupidity over Google+ names

While I certainly empathise with Stil’s incandescence over this, there’s a simple set of assumptions from a customer/user experience basis all the “Stil is an idiot” clown pack here aren’t getting.

It simply doesn’t matter whether he/you/I pay for a service or not, if it’s offered up out there in the wild on a basis that it includes a wide user base and geography, it should meet or exceed the expectations of the user in its flexibility and capability.

It’s completely reasonable to expect, for example, that name fields should not only not ask for First Name and Last Name (rather it should be Given Name and Family Name to allow for cultural and language variants), but that they should also allow for mononyms (a single name, common in certain cultures) and pseudonyms (which many of us use online).

For example, I’m widely known as “trib”. It’s etymology is largely lost in the mists of time, but it’s used by my family, friends, colleagues and at least one Senator. Should I choose, why shouldn’t I be permitted to use it, so long as it can be tied, in a private exchange between a service provider and me, to a verifiable identity?

Google’s blind insistence in the case of Google+ that names not only be in a standard English form, thus failing legally mononymous folk like Stil, but that they also not be pseudonymous treads a line that fails to protect any number of people who conduct their perfectly legitimate online lives behind an alter-identity, for a wide-ranging set of reasons that have more than adequately been discussed, at length, elsewhere (may I take the liberty of pointing folk at danah boyd’s post on the matter). Beyond that, it fails any number of reasonable user experience expectations that, as an application, Google+ be flexible enough to deal with its not insignificant user base, no matter how their name is formed.

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