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I think most of the damage from the "real names" policy came from the their sudden and draconian enforcement of it at exactly the wrong time. Just when the service was starting to build momentum, they initiated an effort to find and punish anyone who'd previously signed up with anything that didn't look like a "real name", in many cases locking them out of their entire Google account.

And then shortly after that, having learned nothing, they started hunting down and banning accounts that appeared to be for businesses, since their "Google+ for business" offering wasn't ready yet. By the time it was, nobody wanted to put their business on Google+ anymore.

Finally, after it was already dead (but they didn't seem to know it), they subverted the rest of their business to try to drive users to it - mandatory Google+ account integration, killing any product that tended to compete with it, etc.

Google+ is the demarcation between the old Google that consistently did amazing things and the new Google that, well, mostly doesn't.

One of the worst things to come from this Google+ thing was the removal of the "+" for searching on Google itself. You used to be able to use " +go +lang " and get results that were guaranteed to have those two terms on the page. Now you have to use double quotes and other tricks. sigh

On the plus side, Google at least tells you when it omits words and offers to put them back in now. Not that it does much good. Something about Google the search engine changed and now it's impossible to get good results for anything but the most obvious queries. I tried looking up why every commercial pot pie says to let it sit for 5 minutes.

I looked this up years ago and got blog posts explaining it. All I get now is page after page of recipes for homemade pot pies. You'd think after a while some logic would spin up to say "I bet this isn't what they're looking for! Let's try something else." It used to do that.

I remember when Youtube comments were tanks and stickmen.

Maybe the + doesn't mean what we thought it meant.

Google + Evil

I’d prefer we reserve evil for things that actually hurt people out of malice, not poor product design. Otherwise that term becomes useless.

While talking about the designs of villains is a bit out of scope of the original topic, I find the best bad guys are those who are evil not out of some concept of general malice but instead pursuing some perhaps even agreeable goal with poor implementation and disregard for the harms caused.

While not as bad as some companies (Pinterest), it does seem they're headed in a direction where wrong-think will get your videos pulled, your entire channel demonetized or worse. Kind of evil.

This is in reference to the fact that the motto of Google used to be: Don't Be Evil.

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