Saturday, March 8, 2014

Google+ names policy discriminates against Native Americans

I find it absurd that Google+ doesn't recognize certain names. The latest outrage was when they rejected Elaine Yellow Horse. It was only after BuzzFeed contacted Google that they decided that, gee whiz, that is a real name! Who would have thought it.

So I thought I might let Google know a few things about Anthroponymy. Given Google has a whole division who work out if you've given a real name or not, you would hope they would be well-versed on what can constitute a name. It appears not, even in their own country they don't recognize the name of the original native people who inhabited the land.

 Here are a few things that Google+ administrators might like to brush up on when it comes to names of people around the world:

  • You don't have to have two names. You can be named with just one name - a mononym. This is quite common all over the world.
  • There are those who prefer to be named after their children - this is called teknonymy. As an example, I knew a Lebanese man whose first son was named George. We knew him as Abu George, literally "father of George".
  • People can have names that are... unusual. Let's give you a few:

    Jellyfish McSaveloy
    Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence
    Apple Blythe Alison Martin
    Baby Hospital
    Yahoo Serious

  • There are a number of people whose names may be mistaken for rudeness:

    Argelico Fucks
    Dick Assman
    Lucious Pusey (changed to Lucious Seymour)
    Rusty Kuntz

    So let's see - Google will be banning all the Fucks, Assman, Pusey and Kuntz of the world, even though these are their legal names.
Google, pick up your act. It's getting really old. Frankly, the fact that Elaine Yellow Horse appealed your policy three times and it was only once the media got involved that you did the right thing shows that your staff are either incompetent, or racist. I hope for incompetence. Either is bad, but racism is much worse than incompetence.



  2. It took a lot of effort to get them to accept my name as well (as it is unusual). The entire experience was super frustrating. In the end I had to send them photocopies of my driver's license.

    Honestly I would have said forget the whole thing, I don't even need a Google+ account except for the fact that the company I work for uses Google Apps and Hangouts.

  3. and don't get me started with Little Bobby Tables

  4. Cream of Sum Yung GuyMarch 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    Well said.

  5. Thank you for speaking out about this. This is one of the things that Google has instated that drives me up the wall. Unless there is some nefarious purpose involved with NSA intelligence gathering or something similar, I really cannot understand why they’ve even done this real name policy (and implemented it so poorly) because it’s not even in their own self interest. It’s one thing when a corporation does something evil to make more money, but what this does it turn off people from commenting and representing their true interests across Google’s entire suite of properties. Here’s the thing, Google never needed to institute a real name policy - they just had to ensure that people logged in with the same account. Knowing that somebody is really interested in soda or kayaking or whatever is the only thing that advertisers really care about.

    The real name policy was Google's Trillion Dollar mistake. The executive who forced this policy through should be fired. They were just too obsessed with cloning Facebook a few years ago when the hype about their coming IPO was at a fever pitch. Now I think Facebook is way too entrenched - it’s too ingrained in the popular culture, in the media, with big brands, and the size of the advertising ecosystem at BuyFacebookFansReviews and besides all of the network effects there’s just very little chance of Google+ catching up now. Despite Facebook not having a great reputation today, it still seems on very solid ground at least for the next few years. Google really blew their chances. They were the one company that could have gone up and offered something different and had the marketing muscle to go toe to toe with them.