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Google+ spamming people every 2 weeks to put up a profile photo (levels.io)
155 points by pieterhg on July 22, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 132 comments

It is even more irritating with Youtube. If I am logged in to any Google account it pesters me to select my Real name every time I watch a video. And every time I end up opening the video in another browser.

I 100% feel you on this! I have actually just closed out my tabs in frustration and did not watch any videos. The thing that really pissed me off was the wording, they intentionally make it really ambiguous so that you can screw up. Eeverytime i choose an option, i am just hoping that it is not to use my real name, i find that really sleazy. My youtube viewing has also decreased by about 80% because the new home page is too cluttered and the recommendations are just so off, if you make the mistake to watch a 60sec video of something silly, be prepared to get a whole lot of recommendations for that crap. This is actually the main reason why in the last two months my viewing has dropped so much, it doesn't even seem like they take into account my saved lists, favorites or watch later.

Bonus complaint: Lately I have been feeling that google just doesn't care or they have too much going on to pay attention to detail. I have been really disappointed with their social products as well as services since google checkout. I downloaded the google now app a while ago and was shocked at how it killed my battery and never used it again, yesterday I decided to test it out, a few hours later I wanted to use instagram but my power was at 3%, I smiled and just disabled the app. This disregard for winning at both the first & second moment of truth is what is killing google's ability to diversify their revenue from just search.

everytime i choose an option, i am just hoping that it is not to use my real name, i find that really sleazy.

This. So much this.

I have not yet received any email asking me to upload a photo of myself, but the constant pestering while watching Youtube, and with shady, ambiguous options happens everyday now.

The sad thing is nothing beats YT for video right now.

The last time I logged in to Youtube, it told me my channel was unnecessary as it was empty, and that I could delete it without impacting my level of service. What they didn't say was, this also deletes your playlists. And you can't create new playlists without creating a new channel, which must be created with a Google+ account.

I'm about done with Google, just starting to move my stuff off it now.

One reason why I'm at Vimeo.

I've actually kind of fell into the habit of using two browsers. One that I keep logged in to my Google account and one that I never log in with. If I want to do something "Googley" that I want tracked, like watch YouTube videos in my subscriptions or check my G+ page, I use the Google account browser (Firefox). If I'm just browsing my various forums and random links and videos and whatever I don't want associated with my Google persona, I use the non-Google account browser (Opera).

It ends up working pretty well, though I guess it is more hassle than it needs to be.

Or you can use the same browser with multifox. Ctr-alt-M, and you're anonymous / a different person. Very iseful for web development. Chrome has a built in equivalent.

I do like having the different UIs to remind me of what "user" I'm acting as. Thanks for the tip, though. I might find that handy if I need more than two "user"s.

I take it a step further I use vmware to run a different instance of windows and go through a proxy. Paranoid? yes! but let Google track that particular me and not the real me.

Twitter is far worse. I didn't use it except for maybe two or three times a year when I want to check something someone has said and (has I have at least 5 times!) tweet someone. When I login briefly I then have several weeks of crappy emails and badgering from twitter. It is incessant. X just retweeted a message from Y! I have hit all the don't-email-me-ever buttons, but every damn time they do it. I just accept it now as don't login ever.

Twitter respect their own rules but justify sending more e-mails by frequently changing the rules.

If you opt-out of every e-mail type, they just add more e-mail types and automatically opt you in - check the settings again.

I find this behaviour somehow more dishonest than the others.

They have pretty comprehensive notifications settings here: https://twitter.com/settings/notifications (you have to be logged in, obviously).

Just untick everything. Super simple (unlike, say, Facebook).

I signed up for a second Facebook account because of pressure at work to "like" our company page but I didn't want my main profile linked with where I work. I liked the page and never signed back in. I get constant emails from Facebook "Do you know these [5] people?". They're all people I know in real life and am friends with on my main profile (which is kind of creepy, my second profile has no friends), of course I'm not going to friend them again.

If Facebook is smart enough to know that my second account is from the same person as my first account, how are they not smart enough to know I'm not going to friend my friends twice?

For this reason I have my Google account sequestered into its own browser (Safari). I never log in from my main browser (Firefox). I do the same with Facebook, which I only visit from Chrome.

The best part about that horrible dialog is that I have to lie to it to make it go away. I'm okay with using my real name but I am NOT going to make a G+ profile to be allowed to use youtube.

Especially in the chance it starts publishing anything about my youtube usage.

As I recently discovered, having a youtube account is synonymous with having a youtube 'channel'. And if you use the 'favorites' feature of the youtube mobile apps while logged in (thinking, perhaps innocently: "how convenient to save this video I was emailed until later, when I have a larger screen available.") you may be interested to know those favorites are displayed on your publicly-accessible channel page by default.

if you make the (non-obvious) correct responses to that dialog, it will go away for a few weeks.

What about making it sod off for good. If I wanted to use my real name to watch cat videos and subscribe to gaming feeds it's likely I would have bloody well done so in the first place.

In part I assume at some point google wants to start putting this on my google profile automatically. Olive watched "Kitty Corliss, grinding the crack" for the 87th time today. See what has them so hooked[linku]

I'm actually using my real name on Youtube, but written like "JohnDoe" instead of "John Doe"... Youtube still buggers me about my "real name", and I always deny just because it's such a stupid idea and all the arguments for it suck, so I'd rather be annoyed than give in. Stay strong :P

The video that auto plays on that second channel (I don't know if it will change in the future) 'Stalking Cat' is awesome. Really funny.

Google seems to have started on a mission to annoy the fuck out of me the past 6 months or so. For instance through the neverending popups and dialogs that enthusiastically tell me about some feature and require a response from me to ask them to please fuck off.

Not to talk about the amazingly stupid animations on Google+ that makes it impossible to scroll fast on an iPhone 4. I was making an effort to use Google+ more ... and then Google gives me that shit.

Look Googlers, I know that you suffered under the reign of the Cupcake Princess and were unable to release anything cool because dealing with her was more painful than watching an entire episode of Sex and the City. I know that. But that doesn't mean you have to go out of your fucking way to add frivolous, pointless, wankery to your UIs.

If you want to do something productive: fix the Gmail UI.

OK, I'm not usually like this -- perhaps this time is just because I didn't know who the "cupcake princess" is and had to Google it out of curiosity, and trust me, I think Google is the epitome of the power hungry, sinister, duplicitous corporation, that makes the robber barons look like no more than slightly annoyed kindergarten teachers -- but I think you're being sexist.

Anyway, I found this: "Mayer, a long-time Google executive dubbed the “cupcake princess” after she constructed detailed spreadsheets weighing up the benefits of various cupcake recipes". Now, compiling cupcake spreadsheets, is, uhhh, frivolous maybe? But I wouldn't be surprised to learn that male executives at software companies do the same for beer; or bikes; or Star Wars. I don't think they get such nicknames.

Anyway, there's an unpleasant bro scent to your comment. If we care about our freedom and independent agency, the Google corporation must be broken up, and sooner rather than later. But even the largest heap of banal evil in the known universe can be dealt with without unnecessary bigotry.

There was someone who was (is?) running a spreadsheet in which they attempted to "drink it all" - that is, try every possible drink in the microkitchens. Then they rated them.

I'd say "guess the gender", but given the company, you probably already know the answer.

The remark was not intended to be sexist. It was intended to reflect that I don't think Mayer was particularly easy to work with, that her elitist values were contrary to much of the Google culture.

(That being said: I think she is good CEO material. In fact, when she took over Yahoo! I bought stock in the company).

If you really can't imagine that it wasn't a sexist remark then I'm sorry for you: it must be hard to be so easily offended.

What does intention matter? No one is trying to tell you you're a bad person, just that you inadvertently said something destructive.

And please don't bring the concept of "offense" into this. No one is offended. I'm disappointed that you're hurting other people, and I'd like you to stop. But I'm not "offended". Taking offense to things is a waste of time.

> If you really can't imagine that it wasn't a sexist remark then I'm sorry for you: it must be hard to be so easily offended.

You're right. It must be that time of the month...

Nonpology, followed by linking to a video of a straight, white, male comedian telling people why being offended at something is stupid?

Please, go back to reddit.

I take it you were offended?

>> [..] but I think you're being sexist.

Things have really been getting out of hand here, lately it seems almost anything that even has the faintest trace of 'usually being associated with female gender' is interpreted as being sexist. Some people have been taking the good Samaritan attitude a little too far I think, are we supposed to restrict everything we say to gender-neutral language or what?

It is not a good samaritan attitude. It's simply pointing out when someone is being, probably subconsciously, sexist. I showed the original comment to my girlfriend, who said, "what's new about that? I get this kind of attitude from men every day".

If you call Donald Rumsfeld, "Rumsfeld", but Condoleezza Rice, "Condoleezza", or President Obama, "Obama", but Hillary Clinton "Hillary", then there's something going on. Sexism is so entrenched that we often don't even feel that we're being sexist; that doesn't mean that we're not (just like Google, that set out with the best of intentions and even explicitly adopted a motto of 'don't be evil' -- which is fascinating, and brilliant, on so many levels, BTW -- and yet unintentionally became the most privacy invading, soul-killing consumerist company in the history of mankind). So, the easiest litmus test in this case is to ask yourself, "would I have said the same thing (as often) about a man?" If the answer is no, then there's at least some soul-searching to do.

Donald is a common first name. Rice is a not so uncommon last name. I might seriously think of Jerry Rice first if you say "Rice" and I'm not a huge sports fan.

Aren't Michele Bachmann and Nancy Pelosi referenced by their last name as much as Donald Rumsfeld is?

I am just using anecdotes and select data after all so I don't think I'm definitely right or you're definitely wrong.

In Hillary Clinton's case, her supporters also call her Hillary, for the very sensible reason that someone else with the same last name is very famous and important in the same general sphere of endeavor.

Like President "Franklin", Senators "Ted" and "Bobby" and President "George W." (who was, that's true, on rare occasions nicknamed Dubya) you mean?

Hah. I was so sure you were exaggerating these claims. But in these examples I automatically complete the person's last name in my mind yet for Hillary Clinton, I don't.

Which Franklin? There are two. The one you are probably thinking about is usually referred to as "Roosevelt" or "FDR".

Yet men can be called with 'male nicknames' and nobody calls it sexist.

Usually men's nicknames have positive connotations.

You think the word 'princess' only has 'the faintest trace of usually being associated with female gender'?

I don't get what's so weird about making a spreadsheet as part of the recipe refining process. I've made lots of recipe spreadsheets. Honestly, I don't know how you'd track the large number of variations required to make a great recipe without a spreadsheet.

I understand where you are coming from but we really need to focus on the bigger picture. Let us all just get back to hating Google for being the most evil company that has ever existed and live in peace.

I hereby dub you, "Beer Prince". ;p edit: "Scotch Prince". There, fixed.

I'm more of a scotch guy, really :)

It was not sexist.

It is absolutely sexist. It is meant to marginalize Mayer because she was analytical about recipes, despite the fact that we're all often analytical about a lot of ridiculous things. Ridiculous claims that it just coincidentally referred to her as a "princess" about "cupcakes" innocently shouldn't pass the smell test of anyone smart enough to navigate to HN.

Really the whole comment you replied to is just bellicose noise, and it's unfortunate that HN would be a place where that would sit as a top comment. Though I suppose in some way it's a selectivity bias because everyone with a grudge about Google+ (predominately people who don't use it, as an aside, but who seem to feel really passionate about not using it, though I suppose the same happens among many non-Facebookers) is highly likely to look at this submission.

> It is meant to marginalize Mayer because she was > analytical about recipes, despite the fact that we're > all often analytical about a lot of ridiculous things.

I love how you tell me why I called her Cupcake Princess.

> Cupcake Princess

Veering dangerously close to sexist behavior there—make an extra effort to think about what you're saying when you talk about women in our field. Regardless of what you think of her, it's demeaning to reduce her from a CEO on par with any male in the industry to a "Cupcake Princess"—LOL, they aren't qualified to lead!

Seriously, though, don't be a douchebag, there are more than enough in our industry without this shit leaking onto HN.

You imply that we can't speak ill of Marissa Mayer because she is a woman. I've had the misfortune of finding myself in several meetings with her to experience first hand that she wasn't a very good VP. Or a very nice person. Or even embodying Google values.

On the other hand, I do believe in her as a CEO. I think she is precisely the kind of CEO material Yahoo! needs. I don't think she is VP material. The day Marissa Mayer took over as CEO I sold my Amazon stock and bought Yahoo! stock. And I don't even like her.

Now, you, on the other hand, reduce Marissa Mayer to a gender. Someone weak that needs to be protected and treated with care in comment fields.

Precisely who is the sexist here?

>You imply that we can't speak ill of Marissa Mayer because she is a woman.

No, you can speak all the ill of Marissa Mayer you want. Effectively saying, "She's a woman," as a way to speak ill of her is bogus, though.

>Now, you, on the other hand, reduce Marissa Mayer to a gender. Someone weak that needs to be protected and treated with care in comment fields.

Nobody is being "protected," least of all Marissa Mayer. Women who aren't in the industry because of pervasive sexism obviously can't speak for themselves to combat that sexism, so other people have to do it.

No, having to double check that whatever I call her is gender-neutral to not offend overly sensitive people who look really hard for sexism, is bogus. And sexist. It fosters the impression that any female professional is a damsel in distress dependent on acts of chivalry from people who go to china and call the people there "asian-american" because they have grown up in a culture where more and more words are dangerous, frightening and forbidden.

To be quite honest, I really do not give a damn about your mental hangups and I am truly sorry if I have ever given the impression that I do. But it does bother me when people have the cheek to tell me what I meant when I said something. I know what I meant and when I say that it wasn't meant in a sexist way, then only an idiot would persist in trying to tell me what I meant.

Thanks for taking the time to stand up for yourself. I probably wouldn't have called Mayer a cupcake princess in my comment, but people are taking it a bit too seriously. The comment was mainly about frivolous Google UI changes, which have also been irritating me recently (and I imagine since you brought it up, many others). Why can't we keep talking about that rather than point fingers and try to out-PC each other?

> Why can't we keep talking about that rather than point fingers and try to out-PC each other?

Because ultimately I care more about sexism than a social network UI, and people in this field care shockingly little about it compared to most fields.

I'm not trying to tell you what you meant, but what you said, because they were different. Best of luck.

> Nobody is being "protected," least of all Marissa Mayer. Women who aren't in the industry because of pervasive sexism obviously can't speak for themselves to combat that sexism, so other people have to do it.

Presumably Marissa has better things to do—being the CEO of Yahoo and all—than wandering around the internet defending her reputation. I'm confident she needs no protection, I'm trying to protect HN from becoming as misogynistic as the rest of the industry is.

>On the other hand, I do believe in her as a CEO. I think she is precisely the kind of CEO material Yahoo! needs. I don't think she is VP material.

Why, BTW?

> fix the Gmail UI.

They just tried recently.

I'd like to stop using GMail, but there aren't worthy competitors (free, large, mostly reliable). My ISP (which is a major one) sucks at mail compared to Google.

If you fast-forward the evolution of the GMail interface it is like watching a drab green Jeep being turned into a chromed Jeepney. Complete with three tiers of honking-subsystems, 18kW worth of blinkenlights and a whole dash full of Virgin Mary bobble heads.

But mind you: the rims on the thing have a carefully selected hue of blue that was found among 39 others to be the one hue that gave the best ct rate on ads, so it isn't like the process was random or anything.

I have a very simple test for product usability: it must not confuse the hell out of my parents. Gmail makes my parents shot profanities at the computer. Test failed.

(Okay, there I probably managed to offend at least one ethnic group, one religion and I said something that is almost certainly ageist. Feel free to be offended while I shall busy myself not giving a fuck)


I waited 2 hours for an email yesterday only to find it hidden in a new "Promotions" tab instead of my inbox, which meant it didn't get pushed to my phone for some reason.

Man, waiting on Steam Guard to send me an email with a confirmation code got pretty hairy during some of the recent sales. When there's 15 minutes left to say 75% on a game I really want and the confirmation email gets sent to Promotions and therefore never seen... thanks Gmail.

I immediately turned that feature off the other day when they added it.

Google -- I can organize my own email, thank you very much.

Spam made me give up running my own mail server and start using Gmail.

Gmail is slowly making me give up email altogether.

I am not saying that email perfect and doesn't need innovation, but there should be greater sensitivity towards complexity and friction on Google's part. It is bad enough already that various functions are spread semi-randomly around in different buttons, drop-downs and links so you have to click around to get things done. There's really no need to try to get too clever about things.

I'd like more predictable behavior ("where did that email I looked at just 5 minutes ago end up?") and I would really like a better filtering system. They should have a look at the scoring system in Gnus and then think long and hard about how you build a sensible UI atop that kind of expressive power.

If you click the + on the right and uncheck everything it goes back to the old inbox.

Which really only becomes necessary after something has happened to make you need to switch back, at which point it's too late.

The better solution is for developers to not release updates that forcibly change your already-configured settings.

For the iOS gmail app you can choose to be notified for all new mail or "primary" only. I'm not sure about using a built-in client like the Mail app though.

> I'd like to stop using GMail, but there aren't worthy competitors

I wrote this a few days ago...it spent some time on the front page here at HN: http://www.maxmasnick.com/2013/07/19/fastmail/

FastMail isn't free, which is a plus in my book (clear business model not involving ads). It is comparable or better than Gmail in all the other ways that matter to me. See my post for more details.

Not sure what Marissa Mayer has to do with this. But please don't blame an entire company for the decisions of a single person: Vic Gundotra.

There's plenty of engineers at Google who feel incredibly frustrated every time one of these decisions is made and remember the good ol' times when Google used to put the user first.

The remark pointed to the impression that when Mayer left the floodgates opened and lots of UX changes happened.

She had been holding things back -- for good and bad. It was very hard to get new things done while she was the gatekeeper for UX. There were a lot of things that didn't work too well when it came to the process of developing the user experience. A big part of which, as far as I could tell, was Mayer's inability to conduct UI reviews in a meaningful manner. I was present at a few of them. It was like attending a meeting being presided over by the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Sadly you wouldn't find many people willing to speak up about it, because that could potentially be Very Bad For Your Career within Google. So people would just tolerate her childish, spoilt behavior.

The good thing was that very little frivolous nonsense was shipped. The bad thing was very few positive changes were made as well.

So when Mayer was "reallocated" (and eventually resigned) there was all this pent up frustration and pressure to get work done on UX. And I think the pendulum swung a bit too far in the other direction because of it.

In the beginning most of the changes that came out were incredibly positive. For instance I think the overall look of Gmail and the move to a flatter overall design was a good thing.

But eventually things started to go a bit pear-shaped. For instance I have no idea what made the Google+ people think that the mad scrolling animations was a good idea. I can't imagine how it enhances the experience, and if you are on a smart phone, it is a really slow way of flicking through your feed. Slow is not a Google value. Google products should never be slow.

In Google+ I wish they would have focused on usability rather than embellishments. For instance: why the hell is it so awkward to start a hangout on Google+? Why is the UI for this so fucked that it takes people a dozen uses to learn how to do it without mousing around for ages? Seriously, if I were the PM for that product I'd nail down fixing that problem as the top OKR for the next two quarters and focus on getting just that done. Hangouts is the single most useful feature Google+ offers, and the key thing that differentiates it from Facebook; yet the user experience for getting a hangout going between a group of people is fiddly.

love how ranting like this is top comment but if this were Dropbox/Airbnb you'd get hellbanned

Maybe because to most of us Dropbox and Airbnb isn't even close to being as annoying as Google?

(som of us where enthusiastic google fanboys earlier.)

I'm still a Google fanboy. Most of what they do is better than what the competition does. But there seems to have been a pendulum-effect with regard to UX that I do not particularly care for.

Haha, I find the ads annoying as well. Sometimes I just want to go read my email and it's a full page ad for some Google product like Wave or Google features I don't want.

I've never seen this in almost a decade of using Gmail.

Product people will think "once every 2 weeks is fine, since we really want to get profile pictures for everyone". Dev guy implements it. Customer complaints. Product people review it, and exponential backoff emailing is implemented.

I dropped Google+ for this exact reason. I refuse to support a platform that I didn't use when the parent company shuts down the platforms I do. My next phone will likely be Firefox os. I've started using duck duck go. Funny how this obvious information gathering and shameless promotion of what they're clearly no good at has ccompletely soured me to their brand.

I wonder if this trend will increase. Moving from Chrome to Firefox and Google to DuckDuckGo for me was first about a bad taste left by a brand. That led me to alternatives that are more user focused and actually listening to users. I think Google kind of lost its way. I doubt if a majority of users though even care or value the issues which cause some of us to jump ship. The identity service of G+ was the first straw for me. I'm sure others are accumulating their own straws. I guess it shows that any company can jump in and fill a niche offered by bigger players. DDG is getting well deserved publicity. It's also nice to see Mozilla in the news again. I'm quite happy making the product switches I have and will put up with any perceived reduction of features for products that are improving and really listening to their users.

Do you want to use your real name for YouTube:

- Yes

- Remind me in a week

How about: don't bug me ever?

This is probably one of my largest complaints about a google product at the moment. It feels like they're trying to trick me in to doing it with that invasive pop-up I get every week.

I don't even use YouTube for uploading or commenting, but I also don't want my real name and a photo of me on that site in any form. There's always the small chance they'll do something stupid like roll an update that makes my "previously viewed videos" available to my "social connections" by default without notifying me.

IIRC YouTube has presented me with 3 completely different iterations of that dialog, all trying to bamboozle me in to G+ing it up.

The latest one was in fact blatantly wrong because the two answer choices began with "Yes, do ..." and "No, do ...", which didn't make sense because the question was posed in the opposite way.

"No, I don't want to not link my Google+ account to YouTube"

god, how I hate what YouTube has become.

It really used to be so nice until Google got their grubby hands on it. Nowadays I can barely get through a single video without massive stalling issues, or 30 second ads for a 10 second video. It's ridiculous.

The massive stalling issues are probably a result of your ISP. I know that Comcast massively throttles YT video downloads after the first thirty seconds or so of the video have been downloaded. (I've verified this by directly downloading a particular video file at home, and at a Uni across the continent. The download at the Uni downloaded at maximum speed until the rather long video was downloaded.)

[download, download, download!]

My favourite wording of this dialog was "Change your hard to remember username to your real name!"

Actually laughed at that one.

And they keep telling me to update my cover photo (not via email though), but the new cover photos are so big that most of the users need to scroll down to see my name. A horrible user experience.

Do you actually use G+? Because when you go to someone's profile it starts scrolled down on the picture so you're at the profile pic/name/basic info. You can then scroll up to see the rest of the cover photo if you want.

Edit: This is on Chrome, so if it doesn't work like that on other browsers it's most likely a bug.

Yes it's scrolled down when you visit a profile that is not your own. It just goes to show the picture shouldn't be that big in the first place it's just wasted bandwidth...

from all the stuff that Google+ loads without you even having to click anything, you're worrying about 40k of "wasted bandwidth" for a profile image?

just re-visited my google+ profile to see what the cover photo stuff was all about, and yeah, it's big. the bigger issue is, that scrolling on the profile page feels sluggish and jumpy (on my mac book air 2013 - latest stable chrome browser). google seems to have some serious issue on that one.

Why do you think Google has bad so much trouble delivering a product that is enjoyable to use in Google+? I understand the market saturation from Facebook, but something about Google+ is off. It should be a much better user experience.

You can't beat an entrenched incumbent with a +1 product (lol). You need a +100 product.

It'd also be really nice if, every time I logged in, I wasn't prompted to tell them if there is "someone special in my life." Really? Is relationship status that critical?

For targeting advertisements? Absolutely.

I know that those notifications are annoying, especially when they get mixed up with important e-mail and send you scrambling for your phone, however...

How 'bout you just set a profile photo? It doesn't need to be your face, doesn't even need to be photo. Actually, a distinct avatar would probably work better than a photo.

But put something there. It's tiresome to try to follow a conversation without an easy way to distinguish participants.

So fire up GIMP, put your initials over your favourite shade of pink and upload it to Twitter/Google+/GitHub/Gravatar/whatever. Or pick a picture from Flickr with a permissive license.

Don't punish others with a generic icon.


"favourite shade of pink"

Completely unnecessary ad hominem here.

Haha. HN is truly the home of dubious calls of "ad hominem".

(Really. Use HNSærch to take a look)

Haha, you mean I used "ad hominem" in the wrong way?

I'd be more concerned about the clear attempt to discredit you by implying that you'd configure your phone to buzz when an email comes in.

What's wrong with pink...?

I uploaded a white square.

I took the default profile picture and uploaded it.

Social networks suck like that - FB still sends me spammy e-mails about invitations and "people from ... you might know" even though I've turned off all mail notifications.

It's a good indication that you are serving their purpose and not the other way round, though.

Signed up for FB with a fake account to do a client job. No friends or anything. Every couple of days, they send an email with random people I might know. Never heard of any of them. Got sick of it, so I signed in to cancel the notifications I'd missed. They sent me a "welcome back" notification because I'd signed in. Deleted the account.

I'm in a similar situation - 0 friends because I just follow some NGOs and use the API to provide FB login for some pages. I get notifications almost every day and the "unsubscribe" link leads to a page that lets me opt out of the notification type: "Updates about your friends since you logged in", while my notification settings show that I get no Email notifications at all.

So that's the price I pay for allowing FB login on some of our pages.

Every social network opts you in to a long list of email subscriptions. You have to uncheck a bunch of boxes in the settings if you don't want them.

G+: https://www.google.com/settings/plus

Twitter: https://twitter.com/settings/notifications

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=notifications§ion=thro...

Update: It looks like Facebook switched from a long list of checkboxes to an all-or-nothing system.

check out my social network, pplrep.com, and unlike other networks, it's not egocentric. Email verification not required and we never email users, unless they request their password if they've forgotten it. Also not in bed with the NSA.

Fun begins when someone signs up on Facebook using a gmail id 'firstlast@gmail.com' and your gmail is 'first.last@gmail.com'.

Facebook doesn't stop sending notifications, and Gmail is blind to the dot ... :-) It's like two beautiful girls talking to each other and not listening to any body who is around trying to interrupt their loud gossip.

What if you upload a blank image? Will they recognize it's not a person and keep bugging you anyway? :)

Here's the default profile icon: https://ssl.gstatic.com/s2/profiles/images/silhouette28.png You can change "28" to any size you want. Just download that, then upload it as your profile image :)

Only even numbers though. Interesting.

I did just that as Google kept replacing my youtube profile image with a random snapshot from a video I once uploaded. A blank white .png did the job.

I wrote for a music ezine sometimes, and once I interviewed a artist and asked him to say hello to our readers on camera. Since the ezine had no YouTube channel back then, and we were in a hurry, I uploaded the video to my own channel.

YouTube must have thought that, since it was a short (~20sec) video with a person's face depicted prominently, the person had to be me and updated my profile image with a snapshot of this video that actually looked like an intentional profile image. Maybe it was just random, maybe they actually tried to select a fitting image.

Geez, this is a little invasive. Must be an additional "marketing feature" to coerce you to upload a profile picture. Who'd have known a userpic is so highly valued in the social data market.

Nope. I have a monochrome image. I don't receive any notification.

I use a picture of a painted, corrugated metal wall that a coder/photoblogger posted (as one of several offerings for mobile phone wallpaper). I've never gotten a notice like that.

I did this on LinkedIn, because they have a rating system for being able to set up a business account (and so they basically require an image). It works on Google+ as well.

...and youtube is annoying the fuck out of me, asking me to change account to real name. If you don't they try to trick you with a follow-up question. My username is my real name. Amazing that the tech powerhouse can't write a simple script that sees my username matches my real name. Google, cut the BS and spend your time making search better. Not my fault youtube comments are out of control and add NO value to your platform.

Add this to the same list as the 'Install Google Chrome' message the appears every time I have to go to google.com.

I was in another country recently and Google decided that because I've used laptop on an airport that two of my accounts must have been hacked.

I have Thunderbird running on another computer and Claws tried to download my mail while on airport.

So thanks Google, I guess I will have to stop using those accounts, because I don't like sharing my phone number ;(

We see a lot of these posts on HN complaining about companies particularly Google asking you to do some things (register, upload photos, add your name, etc.)

Have we actually asked ourselves what value are we giving to these companies in return to using their service?

The article complains that they don't want to upload a profile picture because it is a business account.

Why wouldn't you upload your company's logo as the profile picture?

The reason behind not wanting to upload a photo is irrelevant to the main conversation.

Google used to be awesome. Ever since they went public, they've slowly but surely started sliding down the path to sucking.

They're probably too strong in search to be dislodged right now, and will probably remain so in the short-to-medium term, but some of their non-core services are ripe for disruption by startups.

I wanted to review something using Google and they prompted me to make a Google + account with my real name etc. I think reviews can be more useful when there is not the pressure to be overly optimistic about everything, calling everything "great" for the sake of seeming like a cheery kind of person

You mentioned leaving facebook. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

People are already using you, Google. What do you gain by being obnoxious about it?

Somebody please create a good Gmail alternative and save us from this shit.

Which makes them no different than their competitors

which is exactly the problem

One email every two weeks counts as spam now? Alrighty then.

RIP in Peace Google.

To be honest... just upload any image and move on. If you need help I can provide detailed instructions about using a "file upload" system.

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