Give Google an A+ for Honesty--It's not a social network, it's an ID service

By Evelyn Castillo-Bach
I have had my suspicions for some time that Google's Eric Schmidt is an honest man on a mission. While I go after Facebook and Zuckerberg full blast for having no ethical standards, Google earns my respect. That may surprise some since my brand is ... No Ads. Only People ... Share Privately, Control Everything.

Google is the mother ship of data collection, and it does it very well. It should come as no surprise that Google+ takes data collection to the next level -- knowing all there is to know about you, including your real identity.

But there is a movement in the works to push Google into allowing users to post anonymously, or more accurately using pseudonyms. Those who favor anonymity often say that requiring users to use their real names can expose many to persecution, especially in countries where free speech and public protest is not tolerated. But, Google won't be moved. It is hunting down people with fake IDs and removing them from the service.

During a recent Q&A session in Edinburgh, in response to a question by Andy Carvin, an NPR reporter, Schmidt declared that Google+ is not a social network. It's an "identity service." In an era where corporate leaders spin and double speak around the obvious and try to eat our brains with twisted realities to avoid taking responsibility, it is delightfully refreshing to hear the truth served straight up. This is worthy of respect.

What is surprising is the insistence, by some, for Google to deviate from it's brand. This insistence betrays a stunning ignorance about Google's business model. It's in the business of selling ads. That means knowing exactly who you are and knowing everything else there is to know about you -- so ads can accurately be target at you. Those are the facts. it's not breaking news.

Schmidt's response to the question has created a palaver of stunned disbelief among some writers who witnessed the verbal declaration. But, I'm surprised they're surprised. What did they think Google was all about? Everyone knows Google tracks everything. That's what they do best. Of course Google will insist on your real name.

Respect Google for remaining true to its core identity. It was never about privacy and anonymity. It's about targeting. Google+ is also about targeting. It helps you target the people you want to target, while it targets you and them.

Organizing people into circles makes targeting more efficient and precise. A secondary benefit of the circles is the ability to share some things with some people and not others. This level of targeting offers some more discretion, there is no doubt about it. But privacy is not the business Google is in. It was never their business.

Schmidt is loyal to his brand and for this an A+ is well earned. As he put it so well himself, " G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it."

Google’s Eric Schmidt Says Plus Is An ‘Identity Service’ Not A Social Network

Andy Carvin


Evelyn Castillo-Bach is the founder of
UmeNow is a private social network. No ads. No data mining. No tracking.
We are a private alternative to Facebook and Google.

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