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New Google Accounts Require Gmail and Google+ (googlesystem.blogspot.com)
127 points by lomegor on Jan 20, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 107 comments

I'm rather disturbed by these troubling trends that Google has taken. I'm not interested in G+ nor do I want to be involved in the battle between Google and Facebook for the greater number of users. I enjoy using some of their services but it's getting to the point where I'd rather pay for email and look for an alternative RSS solution.

At some point Google is going to be investigated for this. Like MS, they'll probably get away with this in the US because Google is US based and they let businesses get away with anything, but the EU will hammer them.

One element I find disturbing is that since our work email migrated to Google Apps and because G+ accounts are enabled by default when you happen to be logged in to the browser and visit G+, people I don't know or care about are adding me to their G+ circles. While I ignore these, it does concern me that if I click on the wrong button and add someone, suddenly I have established a relationship with, say, a client that can't be revoked easily.

I click on the wrong button and add someone, suddenly I have established a relationship with, say, a client that can't be revoked easily.

Even if you were forced to use Google+, un-circling someone doesn't generate a notification, so there's no reason to worry about creating a relationship you can't revoke.

But they can see that you are not following them, right? I can see everyone who has me in their circles (following). So therefore I can see who has removed me, even if no notification is given.

Yes, that's true. I suppose you could always just move them to a circle that you never share with. But I agree that, if this is really a problem, it's best not to have a Google+ account at all. (You've got to admit, though, this is a pretty contrived scenario. Someone that runs their own web server can also tell that you've never visited their site, for example.)

I thought it was possible to hide who you have in your circles. I know I can for a page, but haven't looked for my personal account.

You can hide whether the list of people who you are following shows up on your profile. You can't, AFAIK, hide the fact that you are following someone from the person themselves.

In other words, if you have person B in your circles, you can hide whether person C (or the general public) can find out that person B is in your circles. You can't prevent person B from knowing that they are in your circles (thought they won't know which circles they are in).

I'm pretty sure this is the model. I can confirm it if you'd like.

I'm not sure. I enabled G+ to manage our business page, which made my account visible. The couple of people who found it added my personal account from knowing my email. I circled them mistakenly (a slip of the mouse is all that's needed) and then uncircled them. They get a notification that I am, indeed, on G+ and am now ignoring them.

Knowing this beforehand I would have made a new email address to manage the account, and could freely allow circling. I guess I'll go find out now if I can change the owner of the page.

This isn't true if you're a paying customer (Google Apps for Business). G+ is an opt-in service.

Same with a free Google Apps account -- the domain administrator has to explicitly enable Google+ for your domain, along with a bunch of other dependent services like Picasa, and sees a bunch of warnings in the process. And then, every user has to opt-in. I just tried it yesterday.

If you look at it, Facebook is doing the same thing. Facebook has email & you need to set up a social network account.

Google is turning into a social company and so it needs their users to set up a social network profile.

You can easily choose another email service if you don't like it. This only applies to new users so there's really no lock-in since none of your data are at Google yet.

It is definitely troubling to think about this in the long run and how this entangles into search/email and privacy concerns...

And honestly I don't think the G+ users will want their Facebook friends to be on G+, same way that most users on Youtube have separate accounts from their Google/Gmail account. From the looks of this, G+ will just push away users from other Google services, and causing confusion.

Confusion? this is the first time Google has a clear and cohesive identity platform for all their services.

So you think G+ is an identity platform?

I've been seeing Google differently since G+. Google, the global CDN and distributed computer, is a platform now. G+ is the frontend they're building on top of Google to bring all their Google-based services together.

Obviously they're getting people to commit to their social identities on G+ so they can meet their stated goal of becoming an identity provider.

The war is on between Twitter, Facebook, and Google and it has nothing to do with the number of messages or advertisements that can be served. It's the number of end user identities that can be authenticated.

Are you disturbed my Microsoft completely dominating the desktop? 90% market share for a decade and a half. Microsoft essentially beat the US govt. Nothing significant happened. By the time restrictions were imposed, the competition was dead.

In Google's case, it's highly doubtful that they will ever dominate social. The barriers to entry for the online world are way too low.

>Are you disturbed my Microsoft completely dominating the desktop? 90% market share for a decade and a half.

Yes, I was but I don't blame MS for that. There were no competent alternatives during the mid 90s. Apple was on the verge of going out of business and Linux wasn't ready for the average user yet. I don't blame Google either for dominating search. They (MS & Google) are or were the best at what they do. The problem arises when companies leverage a monopoly to enter another business.

>In Google's case, it's highly doubtful that they will ever dominate social.

With this news it is far more likely that they will (when this is about the number of users) if a user's only intent is to create a YouTube or Gmail account and have to accept all three.

BeOS could have been an alternative in the middle to late 90's. If only Microsoft hadn't utterly kill it by threatening hardwave vendors who considered offering it with cancelling their OEM agreements.


IBM couldn't get out of their own way where OS/2 was concerned.

And lo and behold, Apple came along and completely out-innovated MS and is utterly kicking their ass on all fronts. No government intervention required.

You call Apple going from 5% market share to 10% kicking Microsoft's butt? Apple has done cool stuff but it really wasn't at the expense of Microsoft.

Maybe it was a bit of exaggeration, but I think maybe you don't realize how much things have changed. In the late 90's it was difficult to avoid using a Microsoft OS. First, the commercial operating systems available were mostly niche products with relatively little software available. What was available was not compatible with what most of the world was using.

Linux was gaining popularity, but it was difficult to install and use. It lacked the quality desktop apps that are available today. It lacked a coherent and usable desktop. I think it was around 1998 or '99 that I installed RedHat 5.2. It came with fvmw2 or something. It was hideous, and that was only after I spent hours trying to configure X in the first place. There was no free MS Office-compatible word processor. StarOffice came out around then, but it was commercial and pretty lousy. It was years later that there was decent office software that was compatible with the rest of the world. Netscape 4 was pretty much the only game in town for web browsing. Fonts looked like total crap. Oh, and that's if you could even get your modem to work in the first place. Winmodems were everywhere. I went out and bought an external 56k modem for like $75 and spent weeks getting it to work. I could go on, but I really don't like thinking about the bad old days.

Basically, you were stuck with Microsoft back then. They may have only lost %5 market share or some small number, but there are very good alternatives available. Market share hardly matters at this point for end users. Whether you choose MS, Mac or Linux you can expect wide support.

It's a very different landscape for end users, as well as Microsoft.

Looking at it from a non-MS fanboy perspective. Apple has repeatedly out-flanked MS, reinvented a couple of major industries and has hugely successful product lines beyond desktop PC software, so yes, Apple has been kicking MS's arse for quite a while now.

Yeah but they were talking about desktops there.

Yeah, and Windows sales dropped 6% last quarter.

How is it you figure that this warrants any sort of investigation exactly? I don't see any other issues with this neither: it applies for new signups, existing users aren't required to open G+ account or anything else.

It's funny how people keep getting "shocked and surprised" by obvious moves, what use is it having a profile or a cohesive identity system for all your services if you don't incorporate it into said services or even use it when users sign up?!

Eventually Google will rollover their existing users and force them to signup for Google Plus. They are already guilty of this strategy when they forced Gmail users to link their youtube accounts.

And because of the danger this poses to your other Google services (get kicked off of Google+, lose them too) that'll be the day I move my Google Docs back to my own systems (they are mostly there because that was the best solution immediately after my apartment was trashed by the Joplin, MO tornado and I'm trying to go Microsoft free) and delete my Google account, assuming that doesn't trash my Google Group subscriptions (which go to my own email address serviced by Fastmail anyway).

lets be clear though... we are talking about google's users, its product, not its payingclients, right? people who are using spmething for free dont have much to complain about from a legal standpoint...... thoug fair enough to ket google know when they have gone too far and migrate elsewhere. google needs users to deliver to its clients..........

I've been struggling with the tradeoffs in keeping Google as my email (among other things) provider. I own a few VPS's and have plenty of hardware that could serve as a private server. What has kept me from hosting my email up to this point is the fear of being inadvertently blacklisted by something like Spamhaus, downtime from Comcast (my ISP) making service intermittent, and generally having the email server management take over my life. In short, the same issues that affect many here by evidence of the recent chart of Y Combinator companies' hosting decisions (http://jpf.github.com/domain-profiler/ycombinator.html?2011).

I could host my own email on my VPS, but going through the trouble of that - it seems to make sense to just go ahead and host on a box I fully control.

To this point I admit I have had no issues with gmail or Google apps, both of which I use. But the landscape seems to be changing and I'm curious if anyone is considering migrating to their own hardware and what tools, etc. they are employing to make that process easily manageable as well as effective. I use email for sensitive business discussions, but the security required is tempered by the obvious fact that if the email doesn't get there, it's less than worthless.

I do have PGP setup, and I thought that this would be a good tradeoff while using a third party provider - but it is nearly impossible to keep partners and clients active in using it, if they use it at all.

The concept of the Freedombox (freedomboxfoundation.org) seems interesting, but academic at this point.

Anyone running their personal email servers care to comment on the overhead? Would a simple Postfix, Dovecot, Roundcube install with Spamassassin suffice? What are the pitfalls? Not worth the tradeoff of using Google Apps?

I'm thinking about keeping my websites on a VPS and using a MX record to point to a private, dedicated email server I keep in my house or other private property. Anyone running a similar setup?

So, if you want to relay mail out of your MX, it's going to be flaky from a DSL or cable line. The reason is because much of the email coming out of those IP ranges is virus-sent spam, many mail servers block those IP ranges. (ISPs are doing a pretty good job filtering port 25 these days. The only really annoying spam I get is from Sprint's mobile network. I would block those IP ranges, but I want to be able to relay mail from my Sprint mobile phone :)

I run a mail server on my Linode and have never had trouble sending mail. It's easy to see if you're on a blacklist and take corrective action, though I've never had to do this.

I recently switched from Postfix to Exim4 and like it a lot more. The spam checking is much better integrated and lets you reject messages at DATA time with full spam information, so real messages that are auto-rejected at least bounce with an informative message.

Finally, if you don't like delayed mail, get a backup MX. It's very easy to set up for your friends that run their own primary MX, and you can return the favor. (I buy a backup MX service, but run backup MX for people that have asked.)

Good idea on the backup MX.

I do have Exim4 setup on a Linode for outgoing status updates (mainly Fail2Ban), but have yet to use it in lieu of Gmail/Google Apps.

As mentioned previously I'm a bit nervous about leaving my mail on a third party box - though Linode has been nothing but a reliable service to date.

What's your reason for being worried? The government can get a search warrant for your house just as easily as they can get one for Linode's servers. The only difference is that when Lindoe's servers are seized, they eat the cost. (And you aren't awakened at 3am by dudes with guns. Not that this has happened to me :)

If you're worried for backup reasons, just sync with offlineimap. I do this to have a faster local cache (since I consider Linode more reliable than my desktop computer). (Even gmail is fine if you back it up.)

I'm far less worried about government intrusion than I am generally of corporate intrusion. The relationship, as it stands, consists of me willingly giving all my private communications to a third party I have no standing with. I'm questioning my own behavior in that equation much more than any scenario where a government entity serves and act on a warrant. I don't ever expect to be in that position, nor have I, but I have been in the position where my commercial and private correspondents has been violated by companies I am in competition with and employees who I no longer work with. Good luck with the lawsuit, the damage has been done in those situations.

Take a look at Google's privacy principles here:


I can't speak for Google, of course, but my own take is that privacy is taken very seriously internally. Perhaps more seriously than anything else, actually. Google is generally open with employees with respect to source code, financial data, and access controls, they are not that way with user data. I don't have access to it, and couldn't get access to it unless it's vital to the success of my project (and then, only for a limited time period).

I even have a sticker with the 5 privacy principles stuck to my monitor's base.

Don't confuse "internal secrecy" with "user privacy".

That user data is company property and its secrecy is what gives it value. Furthermore, if users caught wind of just how much of it exists that could jeopardize its source.

We tell users exactly how we use their data. We're even running an ad campaign on the NYC subway (and presumably elsewhere) about how we use user data in non-intuitive ways.

Here's the relevant section:


Thank you for responding. I notice that that page talks primarily about search terms (and in noncommittal terms about how much Google values privacy) and it doesn't seem to apply to the other parts of the expanding portal.

Just to pick one example, where does it say what you do with the data you collect on users when they click a link from YouTube. E.g., the page http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy has a link that displays on the page as

    Website: http://www.khanacademy.org
But when you click on it, it actually goes to

The information on users' link-clicking habits being skimmed from that little trick (and the many others like sourcing script from Google-controlled domains on most sites on the web), is it associated with the G+ identity? Or not? Where is this documented?

consider people who dont live in the us?

I know this is not an answer to your question, but the way I address these issues (especially since I have to do more system administration that I'd like to already) it to do business with laser focused companies. I.e. email from Fastmail (although they recently got bought by Opera, but so far besides some growing pains as they build out their base system this has not been a problem), rsync.net for backup (yeah, more expensive per GB than S3 but it does exactly what I want and that was "tornado tested" after the Joplin, Missouri May 22nd 2011 EF5 tornado) and Skype (except they were of course bought by Microsoft ... I and my friends are looking for alternatives since we know we'll need one sooner or later).

Companies that do only one thing well are often a better bet than companies that do many things at whatever level of quality (and while I don't advertise, I do perceive the quality of Google's search "product" dropping due to things like removing + from term modifiers).

I wouldn't worry about Google's software quality. We do a really good job on that front. Every machine that Google owns is capable of running Gmail, and failover is a planned use case. Data centers can fail, machine can fail, code can fail, and everything will still work for you. (The process is fully automated and regularly tested.) We have an entire job classification for people whose job it is to build automated testing infrastructure -- not write the tests, but write tools to make writing tests easier. We have people to write the tests, too, and of course every developer writes tests. Every code change, no matter how small, is reviewed by one other developer who knows the relevant code deeply. And all changes are tested internally before they ever go public.

So basically, it's pretty rare that you would lose your email. It's happened before, but everything was restored from tape. I run my own email server for fun, but I'd be lying if I said that I did it better than Google.

(Note: I was more referring to the fact that your various offerings are of varied level of quality, i.e. you don't have the laser like focus on remote storage like rsync.net, but your reply was entirely useful anyway.)

I don't worry about that level of quality and have e.g. used Google Docs for some very important things, I worry about the Product Manage level of quality. No in the trenches Google programmer up and decided to remove "+" as a search term (and were mulit-word double quoted phrases previously mandatory search terms?).

There's also the political problems that come with size and scope. Google is in the cross-hairs of many governments, and looking at history you can't say it's impossible that ugly things won't happen, e.g. a split that would put Gmail in a less capable smaller company.

Compounding that, to a degree uncommon in the industry, Google has made an all in bet on the Democratic Party and Blue State values. That strikes me as ... unwise in county that for many years has self-identified to Gallup as being 40% "Conservative", 40% "Independent" and 20% "Liberal".

To be fair, + wasn't really doing much anyway. I found out the other day that Google's segmentation algorithm is so good that you don't even need to put spaces in your search; searching for "givemealistofsearchengines" does!

Well, I was using it!

To be fair, I'm not a normal case, I started creating and querying full text retrieval systems for customers and myself in 1991 when I started my half-decade of document imaging work.

But I did use +, e.g. I'd do a query and get too many or the wrong results because one term wasn't being weighed well and then I'd add a + in front of it. Changing that to wrapping it in double quotes would be only an annoyance if the change wasn't entirely gratuitous (as I understand it) to the Google search function.

And, yeah, the segmentation algorithm is very good, although I haven't torture tested it ^_^.

(Side notes: LinkedIn is the only "social network" I'm likely to use in the foreseeable future, Facebook is anathema (they seem to have inverted your "don't be evil" motto) and Google+ is way too dangerous to use because being kicked off it kills the rest of your Google accounts.)

being kicked off it kills the rest of your Google accounts

Where did you saw that? According to Horowitz (one of their VPs), it doesn't:

    When an account is suspended for violating the Google+ common name 
    standards, access to Gmail or other products that don’t require a Google+
    profile are not removed,

This would seem to be a change in policy, and "violating the Google+ common name standards" (which I would not have intended to do or likely have accidentally done) is certainly not the only way to get kicked off of it.

The more Google intertwingles their services the more cascading policy "failures" can put you in a world of hurt. Hence my one company, one service policy. In the case of Google (ignoring membership in some Google Groups, but to a non-Google address) it's Google Docs. (I'm not counting the non-sticky ones like search and Maps.)

I run my own mail server for my personal mail at home off my DSL line. Most blacklists will block residential IP ranges, but it is easy to get around that. You can simply set up a smart relay to another SMTP server, probably your ISP's. When your mail server sends mail to the outside, world, it doesn't send directly to the recipient's mail server, it sends it to your ISP, and they relay it out.

Thank you. This seems like a fair tradeoff. In my case I imagine I'd just use my VPS as the relay, rather than my ISP. Just so I understand clearly, incoming mail will not be an issue and can be sent directly to your personal box, but relay the outgoing via your established ISP/VPS/etc?

Exactly. Mail to you goes to where ever your DNS MX record is pointing to (obviously in my case that is my home IP) and local delivery is configured how ever you choose to do local delivery. Sending is simply configured how ever smart relaying is configured on your MTA of choice. All mail sent from your MTA is sent directly to your smart relay and goes out to the world from there.

There is a trusted type of relationship between your MTA and the smart relay so the smart relay is not set up as an open relay. If your smart relay is an open relay, it may end up on blacklists as well, for different reasons than originating from a residential IP block.

I just checked to make sure, and creating new email addresses using google apps does not require creating a g+ account.

I've been happy with using google apps for my email server and have had no trouble staying in the free tier. It's clearly not for everyone, but it sounds like it will involve far fewer headaches for you than managing your own server.

True, but Google Apps tends to follow Gmail's lead, albeit at a delayed pace.

I agree that Google Apps is the best of the bunch, and much easier to manage than your own server - but the privacy concerns have just nagged at me for years. I keep getting back to the core issue: is giving this (or any) company the sum of all my written communications in exchange for ease of use worth it? It's something I'm still struggling with.

you don't feel covered by Google's terms of service?

It's somewhat troubling to me due to the `real name' requirement of Google+. Seems I can't create a semi-anonymous email at gmail anymore?

There are implications for business accounts too: if you need a real name you'll no longer be able to sign up in Adwords with something like admin@<company-domain> (and changing the company's Adwords to another person becomes a headache).

For Google Apps G+ is an opt-in service.

I can see why Google would want to clamp down on semi-anonymous gmail accounts. I'm sure many of us have used them for convenient purposes with no ill intent, myself included, but we all know that they are often used for spamming. Overall I'm OK with this as long as they don't remove the lesser-known feature of creating infinite aliases with a plus sign (myemail@gmail.com -> mymail+whatever@gmail.com). It doesn't work everywhere, and it doesn't solve all of the needs for using semi-anonymous emails, but it often solves a lot of them.

Still, I won't be surprised if demand starts rising for other free anonymous mail services. Google's UI presents a nice barrier to entry, though (of course, others exist but none are as popular right now).

Use punctuation, it works pretty much everywhere

mymail@gmail.com my.mail@gmail.com m.y.m.a.i.l@gmail.com

These all redirect to the same mailbox on gmail

Or get your own domain and enable catch-all. Then you can use whatever you want.

True, but its a lot harder to remember once you have a few variations.

> Seems I can't create a semi-anonymous email at gmail anymore?

Correct me if I misunderstood, but I believe you can just use the old gmail sign up url http://mail.google.com/mail/signup

As mentioned in the article, you can also still use the old google account sign up to url https://accounts.google.com/NewAccount .

> Seems I can't create a semi-anonymous email at gmail anymore?

Since using a non "real name" only disables the G+ part of the Google account, you are still able to create a semi anonymous gmail.

That could be one way for anyone concerned with the integration to get around this. Create a fake name, Google will disable the G+ profile and you can still use Gmail.

I wanted to raise a similar concern for YouTube accounts. If you have to provide your Real Name to post to YouTube, a lot of people will self-censor, and some important or valuable videos may never get posted.

"What do you have to hide?" http://www.zerohedge.com/about

There is no more a "real name" requirement for G+.

Please cite some evidence for this. I can't find any. The policies are still in place, and the last statement I can find from Google dates to October and says they'd be supporting pseudonyms in some vague form in a "future update".

I'd say that by doing this they will gain more users to G+ than they will not gain for Gmail or other services due to concerns about G+.

On the other hand, being able to sign up with an arbitrary email address has always lead to issues once/if you switch to Google Apps and intend to share local parts.

Google has no obligation to provide G+/GMail-less accounts and I'm sure there is a lot of technical and business reasons for coupling them. As it's their service, that's what we get.

That's true, but I just feel that's not the Google's way of doing things. I mean, they never forced you to use their other products in the past, so this comes as a surprise to me.

Of course, it's their company they can do whatever they want. That doesn't mean we can't judge them.

I remember AltaVista's decline into a "portal" -- to the point where it was hard to spot the search box on their home page, and the honest results in the "results" -- and Google's arrival on the scene with super-clean, relevant search. I feel like history is repeating itself _in a fashion_.

Who are the rising stars in general-purpose web search?

You have an obvious button on the top right to disable all personalized results on google. If you want to make this permanent, go in your search options and select "non-personalized result" as the default; you then get the same results as if you were not connected.

I don't like the trend were they are going, but you're comparing apples and oranges here.

I hadn't thought of it this way before, but it sure smacks of Lycos/Yahoo/Netscape portalization of Google to me.

"Who are the rising stars in general-purpose web search?"


DDG is far from solving the problem of generating useful results. It is mostly just wikipedia plus some chaff.

Does this mean you can't make throwaway email addresses anymore not linked to your real name since google doesn't allow alias on G+ you always be at risk of deletion?

The real name suspension only affects the G+ profile (not gmail).

They started allowing aliases on G+.

You've said this several times, but it's not true. Google hasn't changed their policy; and they still ban some users for violating it.

I am not a fan of this move. It makes me feel like I did when Microsoft starting including Internet Explorer in Windows, but instead of forced middleware bundling, we have forced service bundling.

You were bothered when an operating system started including an internet browser? That's rather silly, don't you think?

You have to understand that all those years ago, Microsoft occupied the position Google does now - if they did or announced anything at all, it was obviously sinister in the eyes of a lot of geeks.

A broken browser that intentionally broke the Internet.

It was the mid 90's, nobody gave a flip about standards (that includes the other competitors out at the time..), and there's really no good reason for an OS for an internet connected world not to include a web browser.

I predict Google and Facebook, successful as they are, will provide the greatest motivation for the growth of Diaspora. People in charge of so much centralized data will be unable to resist using it. They are in an arms race.

Diaspora is small now, but the motivation to use it will only keep growing.

To the average user, having all the data in one place is very useful. Imagine a world where you type your friend's name into Google, and you see the emails you've sent her, photos you've taken, relevant Google+ posts and shared links, and so on. Giving all your data to Google means you get to see it all on one search results page. That's pretty convenient.

(Google is also very very serious about protecting your data. Don't let Facebook's lax privacy let you think Google does the same thing. The only entity you have to fear is the government, and that's true of any internet service provider.)

"GCreep: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats (Updated)" http://gawker.com/5637234/

Not wholly sure what the outcome of the above was, but you could also fear google's employees if you were so inclined. Or anyone that had undue/inappropriate access to/sway with google's employees. They are only many thousands of humans after all.

"Not wholly sure what the outcome of the above was"

Did you actually read the complete article?

"We dismissed David Barksdale for breaking Google's strict internal privacy policies. We carefully control the number of employees who have access to our systems, and we regularly upgrade our security controls–for example, we are significantly increasing the amount of time we spend auditing our logs to ensure those controls are effective. That said, a limited number of people will always need to access these systems if we are to operate them properly–which is why we take any breach so seriously."

I can tell you that privacy is taken very seriously within the company and that access to PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is quite restricted and access to it is logged and monitored.

I read it some time ago. In the case above, it had to be brought to google's attention and so I would say the logging and monitoring is not invincible. Who polices your log access monitors? I understand that gmail is somewhat distributed and policing remote sites in poorer areas is problematic - especially if one were to consider how much easier it would be to persuade google employees in those areas, should gmail/g+ be offshored in the future.

Should have elaborated: I'm not sure if a civil/criminal proceeding arose out of the case above.

"In the case above, it had to be brought to google's attention and so I would say the logging and monitoring is not invincible."

The answer is right in the blurb that I posted: "...for example, we are significantly increasing the amount of time we spend auditing our logs to ensure those controls are effective..."

In other words, this incident pointed out a weakness in the system and it is being addressed. From personal experience I can tell you that it is - in fact - being addressed and more controls and monitoring have been rolled out and more are being rolled out. I don't feel comfortable going into details, but from the perspective of a working engineer I have both had conversations about this with senior VPs and have had to do work to comply with the new controls (and have more work planned in the upcoming quarter to be compatible with upcoming controls that are even stronger).

I have a problem with Diaspora that it doesn't add anything useful to the concept of social network. For an end user, it's basically Facebook/Google+, but worse; it doesn't really try to engage user.

When I register as a new user on Facebook or Google+, it is constantly trying to engage me, trying to somehow connect me with new people. If I log in to JoinDiaspora, I just stare at empty screen and my two inactive Diaspora friends, which is exactly what I saw 1 year ago when I tried it the first time. There are no user groups, no way to actually DO ANYTHING on the site.

The fact that the main joindiaspora hub it's still invite-based doesn't help things.

Edit: Oh, I just realized I can search for tags on joindiaspora. Only that it does take about 30 seconds for the results to really start showing; first, I see just empty screen.

I realize that making social network is hard, but diaspora to me still looks like very early alpha.


Diaspora is a non-starter. Have you ever even tried to explain it to a non-technical user? Their eyes glaze over with disinterest.

It's to complicated, and no clear benefits other than the rather abstract benefit of de-centralized control.

Bah. I've been happily using Google services with a non-Google email for years now, but when I created a gmail account for that ID, all my notifications from all google products (e.g. google calendar notifications, notifications from other Google products like Google Code) suddenly started going to the gmail mailbox instead of the address they'd been going to all along.

Fortunately I was able to delete the gmail account to reverse this, but it was relatively difficult to find the "turn off gmail" button. And if all new accounts get gmail, they may stop letting you turn off gmail at all.

Google is going to do whatever it takes to drive people from that competing advertising network known as Facebook.

Have you done a search for "Facebook" on Google recently? Notice the gigantic ad for Google+ on the right?


If that isn't anti-competitive, I don't know what is. If I had a competing service, I couldn't advertise for "facebook" on Google, but Google can stick a gigantic ad for their competing service there?

The "Delete profile and Google+ features" link in the Google "Account Overview" has also been removed, so it looks like you can no longer get rid of your Google+ account after the fact as outlined here:


Of course you can get rid of your Google+ account, just put a fake name on there.

I still see the link - it moved from the G+ setting to the Google Account settings.

I see the title "Delete profile and Google+ features" but no link to an actual action when I visit here:


My guess is it's going away for everyone, but I guess that's speculation.

Google is the new Yahoo! now.

Google's doing a great job of fooling the media with the G+ hype. I just hope they keep themselves in check internally and know that G+, as it stands, is a shit product with little adoption once you take away the forced adoption.

If they don't care about it and just want to pump up their signup numbers, heck just make every google.com visitor a G+ member automatically. Oh wait, they are beginning to do just that...

Old create-account link requires you already have a non-gmail email address. You can't create a gmail account from scratch without the new form (with G+).

Another desperate attempt to get more G+ users :)

I agree

Until now, creating a Google account was quite simple.

You don't usually see websites boasting that their processes used to be simpler.

It isn't "their" process, this is an unofficial news site that reports on Google, not Google themselves.

Wasn't there a big huge DOJ case a while back about a company using one monopoly to try and create another? I forget.

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