Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Forcing Google+ for Google Play Store feedback is a stupid idea

Google+ wants you, even if you don't want Google+

Tried to rate an app or leave a comment on an Android app in the Google Play Store lately? Then you must have seen the popup telling you that Play Store feedback now requires a Google+ account, and that your real name and your picture will be posted right next to your comment.

Don't want a Google+ account? Too bad, but that means you can no longer leave any feedback on any app on the Google Play Store.

You may be tempted to create a fake Google+ account for Play Store feedback, but Google won't have it. If the Googlebot detects a fantasy name, it threatens to kill your account.

Honesty requires anonymity

Want to give your honest opinion about apps like Sexy Hot Live Wallpaper, RememberYourPills, Angry Birds, GayDateDroid, or the self-help app of Alcoholics Anonymous? Still want to do so if your real name is forcibly stuck to it, out in the open for anyone to read? And your picture too?

Psychologists and market researchers know that honest opinions require anonymity. That's why surveys always tell you in clear big letters that your name or any personal info will NOT be linked to your feedback. There's a reason why you can vote for a new government without telling anyone who you voted for.

What if you have a job in the US Army and you'd like to share your honest opinion about one of the many Wikileaks apps?

By requiring a Google+ account to leave Play Store feedback Google is asking for a flood of fake Google+ accounts. By posting the names and pictures of minors next to their Angry Birds ratings Google will break the laws of many countries. And by removing anonymity, the Play Store ratings will be even more unreliable than they already are. If your Play Store comments can be linked back to your name by anyone on the planet, many people will no longer voice dissenting views off the beaten track. Instead, they'll give socially acceptable, politically correct, middle of the road opinions. Or they keep their mouths and keyboards shut and you won't see their opinions at all.

What was Google thinking? Were they thinking at all? Google should do the right thing and drop their Google+ requirement. Linking your Google+ account to your Play Store ratings should be optional, not mandatory. Isn't the whole idea about Android that the choice is yours, not theirs?

Really, Google, there are better ways to increase your Google+ user base to try pass Facebook. There's no need to abuse Android for that. If Google doesn't pull the Google+ requirement from the Play Store then Anonymous should have a party on the servers of Google+.

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