This news has upset a lot of people and pleased a lot of others for various reasons. An important thing to keep in mind is that Google already has all this information. They’re not giving it to anyone outside the company.
This doesn’t mean there’s no cause for concern. They’ll be using the data in different ways, and it remains to be seen if all of those ways will be welcome. I am looking forward to the change, due out on March 1st, but I also expect to see some impressive fallout from it.
Here’s a video Google included in their writeup covering the changes and what to expect.
Notable services that will not be part of the data sharing include Google Books and the Chrome browser.
The other big news out of Google is a change in their handling of the pseudonym issue on Google+. As you may recall, many people were upset with Google’s policy of ‘common names only,’ with reasons ranging from vanity or branding to actual safety concerns.
Google’s taking steps to help with this issue by rolling out the first in a series of changes in pseudonym handling. According to Google VP of Product Bradley Horowitz,
The vast majority of users sail through our signup process — in fact, only about 0.1% submit name appeals.
When we analyze the set of all name appeals on Google+, we find that they generally fall into three major categories:
– The majority (60%) of these users want to simply add nicknames.
– About 20% of appeals are actually businesses (who are inadvertently trying to set up their business as a Profile, rather than using Google+ Pages which were intended for this purpose.)
– And the remaining 20% would either prefer to use a pseudonym or another unconventional name.
It’s important to note that as of their current implementation of pseudonyms, you can’t show the pseudonym instead of your common name. It can be shown with your common name, but can’t replace it entirely. It’s not clear whether that will become an option in the future.
Not all profiles have pseudonyms activated yet. To see if yours does and set one if you want one, edit your profile and click on your name to edit it. Showing more options will reveal the pseudonym options, if you have them. If you don’t, hang tight for a few days while they continue to roll the feature out.