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Where Social Networks Meets Same-Sex Marriage (theatlantic.com)
37 points by sethbannon 1696 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite

I hear a lot of hoopla over big data, but this is a clear example of an application that demands a large set of discrete points of data, and makes use of it in a meaningful way.

This brings up something I hadn't yet thought of. Google+ is known to have done a more thorough job of purging Real Names from their system than facebook. As far as I know they don't support relationship statuses. If Google+ adds this feature, will they block gay people from saying they're married if they live in a state that doesn't allow gay marriages? After all, Gundotra invokes the term "real life", even when he's on the defensive: https://plus.google.com/+BradleyHorowitz/posts/SM5RjubbMmV

I wonder if they'd say that less than 0.1% of users wanted to say they're married when they legally aren't married. I don't think that would fly as well as the same argument they made with names.

How would they know? Do you really think Google is going to check to make sure that everyone is married (and married by what standard? Do they need a civil marriage or just a ceremony?)

Somehow, I doubt it would be an issue.

They have the location, gender, sophisticated rule systems (to which they could add marriage laws), and a manual review system. If it became important to them to have peoples' marriages in their systems they could probably put such a system together.

I think it would be like complying with China in filtering their results where they could argue that somehow working within the system is more helpful than working outside the system. They could say that it would just give people who couldn't get legally married more incentive to become politically involved.


Google could provide a marriage API that would allow companies, like insurers, to have their system check if people are married, to determine benefits. Building law checking into their system might not target people who are attempting fraud, but removing false entries of any kind could increase the reputation of the system.

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