The Google+ honey trap

Google is quite unashamed about the true purpose of Google+, its social networking service and Facebook competitor.   Eric Schmidt has admitted that Google+ is an identity service, and the 'social network' bit is just bait.  Google has created the service so that it can collect data on its users and sell that information to advertisers. If you use Google+ you are its product, not its customer. Think of the service as an honey trap and it's your privacy that is being trapped.

Google has started insisting that people who are using obviously false names reveal their true identity. That's new for this kind of service. In the longer term I suspect they may wait until users have entered a lot of data and contacts and then force everybody to reveal their true names or stop using Google+. Read this article for some comments on Google's true name policy.

Google is the only company insisting on true names but they are not the only one selling their users private and public data. Facebook does the same, and so do many other 'free' online services.  You are theor product and advertisers are their customers.

I don't have a Facebook account and I do not plan to use Google+, but I do use other online services which I know are selling my data. For example, online RSS readers.

I am getting increasingly reluctant to use Google's products. Their policies on Google+ suggest there is a bit of a moral vacuum in the company. What will they do next?  Also, their habit of killing off services [several have been dumped recently] make me reluctant to put too much data or effort into a Google service unless I can easily get it out when things start to go wrong.

Google has come a long way since the days of 'do no evil'. The owners have discovered that being billionaires means that they do not have to give a f**k if the little people think you are evil.

On that issue I suspect they might be becoming overconfident. In the USA companies can protect themselves against the consequences of evil by buying a few politicians. In Europe [and remember that the EU has many more people and a bigger economy than the USA] they are lining themselves up for some major ass kicking.

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