We can check your plugins and stuff

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pseudo-name aftermath

Well Google+ is going after all the profiles with a pseudo name or nick name at least they say so. My own Google+ profile was suspended for some time due to this. I did change the name as I do like Google+, but still think it is a shortsighted policy and does not really mean anything in the grand schemes of things. It is too damn easy to create a fake email id and sign up with a nick or Pseudo name. Both side for and against the Real vs fake name have valid arguments and are partially correct.

Too many people have signed up with nick names or pseudo name to begin with. Google will never be able to remove all the profiles with pseudo name or nick name. It is a lost cause and people will find ways and means to bypass this. In the days that followed Google has made several changes to the policies. It is a good thing they do listen to feedback. After I had mailed them that link to previous blog entry. We have seen few changes on Google+.

  • Google+ changed the way the profile block notice is served. Now if you profile is suspended as soon as you login you get the prompt. No more mysterious errors to post and wondering what the foo is happening ...  

You can still press the 'Esc' key and ignore the message. You will still be able to check you updated in your Streams. but you will not be able to post anything or +1 any post/thread. Picasa and Buzz will be disabled as long the Google+ profile is suspended.

  • Google is now clearly saying it my way or the highway. The notice gives you links to take/remove all you data and delete the Google+ profile. YES that is right they are saying make the changes to comply to the name policy or buzz off. 
  • It is a good thing in the event you decide that enough is enough. In the event you are unable to comply with the  names policy, you can still take all your content with you, even after your profile is suspended. 
  • Now Google+ has a 4 day grace policy. As per the announcement by Saurabh Sharma, a product manager on the Google+ team. "Starting today, if we find that your profile name does not adhere to our policy, we’ll give you a 4 day grace period to fix your profile name before we take further action. During this period, you can continue to use Google+ as usual. We're hoping that most affected users will be able to quickly fix their profile name while continuing to enjoy all that Google+ has to offer." 
  • Google+ has also issues a video to highlight these points. 

There is a lot of hot discussion going on this topic. If you are on Goggle+ do check them and voice your opinion.


If you're an EU Google Account holder, you can write a complaint to your local Google offices, then if they fail to reply and take corrective action, take them to your EU nation's information commission. You can find their offices here - http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/corporate/company/address.html so start the letter writing.

Just checking over this, but it does look like "Google Profiles" breaches european privacy law, specifically "The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003"'s section 18 on directories of subscribers. Basically, anyone running a communications service in the EU who publishes a public directory, has to allow subscribers an opt-out from this directory or allow them to be entirely selective as to what if any information is published about them.

Update: As Google operate Gmail and Gtalk services to EU subscribers, they are covered by this legislation. It does look airtight, Google are required by EU law to allow the subscribe full control over what is and is not made public on their profile. And they may even require google to make their profile entirely private.

After cross checking users have found out after contacting the Data Commissioner's office, and have been instructed they  do appear to have a legitimate grounds for complaint against Google, as does any other EU account holder, and they should write a written complaint to their offices at.

Data Protection Officer
Google London
Google UK Ltd
Belgrave House
76 Buckingham Palace Road
London SW1W 9TQ
United Kingdom

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ridonklus I say!!!!!!!!!!!

Woke up this morning and logged into my Google+ plus account was checking out the updates from my various circles and enjoying my morning coffee. Noticed that the order of my circles were not at what I had set them at. Did not make a big deal of it... more coffee and surfing at Google+ ... As many of the regular readers of the blog will know that I am a big fan of KDE and digiKam photo management software. That from time to time I keep posting bits about both and beta test/file bug reports for them.

Along the same line I was testing and reporting an update for digiKam 2.0.0 ... it kept giving me an error "post could not be saved" as we know Google+ is still a public beta I thought it may be a temporary snag. Logged into my Facebook account and checked few updates ... the works ... now tried to post the update again on Google+ same error. Hmm what is going on ... well more checking of cool stuff at Google+ ....

Just happen to click on My Home link and BAM there it is !!!!! Oh the horror it seems my profile is suspended!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW wait a minute for what I say. I don't post Porn, nudity or hate speech in my circles. On the contrary have always helped fellow Google users with there problems. Have even help resolve and mitigate a nasty JavaScript worm that was spreading at Orkut in the past. Yes I am an early adopter of Google's Orkut Social network, have successfully manage and run huge community's at Orkut. My account is a verified one, have won several badges including "Uses most of orkut's features".

All the hoopla seems to be over the usage of "Monts Here". Well if it helps since day one I have had the same name on arch rival social network Facebook. All my friends know and call me 'Monts'. I am a amateur photographer and watermark/label my photographs with "Monts Here". I have the same name/id on Google's another social network photo sharing site Panoramio (http://www.panoramio.com/user/5700136) This was indeed much before the launch of Google+. On another popular photo sharing site Flickr I go by the ID 'Monts 4 ya' and that is indeed an old account. I have even posted photos back in 2006-2007.

"Please remember that we are currently limiting profiles to individuals and will be launching a profile for businesses and other entities later this year." Is what G+ says. I clearly state that I am a passionate armature photographer. It is not my profession, I do not make money from it. Nor do I sell any photography related product or services. I am a computer tech by profession and very clearly stated that on my G+ profile as well as my blog over here. however I do not sell any computer product, service or even support of any type on these social networks. The Google+ profile just like my Facebook profile is a personal one.

Well as a popular joke goes in India .. does all this has the hand of a foreign conspirator power ;) :p :p  or have I irked someone so much they are reporting that my profile is a fake one ??? hmm well could be or then maybe not... thought it does feel flattering to think so ;)
Google+ has been suspending the accounts with commercial id's and pseudo names... so for now at least I will rule the above conspiracy theories out. Do I think it is a bad thing ... well not really. It is a good thing and will keep things clean, good for security. Thankfully Google is not a one way street and they do listen to user feed back. All other Google services are working like gmail, blogger etc .... If those were blocked too that would have really made me mad indeed. 

So I here you saying 'Monts... so what is the ranting all about...' Well for once I would like to leverage the power of social networking for personal ends. I would request you to share the link to this post in your circles and friends on Google+. I have already filled the form to remove the ban. I have good faith in Google, but it never hurts if you have a few friends lobbying for you cause. Please post and re post on Google+ Thanks
Feedback from the whole episode :
  • If and when a Google+ account is suspended for now you do not have any auto feed back. A mail would have been very polite. Thank you Google.
  •  If you are active on a social network, normally you fill out 'about me' once and hardly update/edit the details every other day. No I am not self obsessed and do not check the about Me page everyday.
  • By default one goes to the Stream page on Google+. The suspension note should be displayed there. UI/coder at Google+ should look into this. Accessibility tip :) 
  • Kudos to Google of having the common sense of not disabling/suspending all other Google services linked to the account. As was reported before, that would have enraged me.
It is good that there is a link that lets you appeal against  the ban. But then "Reviews are usually completed within a few days." Bummer. Need for speed faster and better please few hours not days ... :D  Now hoping that the account will be back to normal very soon. :D Thanks all.