Google+ Sign-In: Is It Bad Or Good For You?

Ever since Google+ became required to comment on YouTube videos, there’s been a huge wave of backlash spreading across the Internet. The backlash, however, has slowly died down. Users are beginning to accept the fact that Google may not be rolling back the changes regardless of how much people hate them. But is it really as bad as you think?

Depending on who you ask, Google is either a saint company that’s revolutionizing the world towards prosperity and interconnection, or a demon company that’s led by a mixed abomination of Satan, Hitler, and the Illuminati all wrapped up in one. It’s even spawned some articles demanding that Google+ be added to everything, which many of you didn’t agree with.

Personally, I walk the middle of the road. Some have quit using Google completely, but not me. I think there are good and bad aspects to the spreading integration of Google+, so let’s try to look at it rationally, and from both sides.

Google+ Sign-In: The Good

google signin openid   Google+ Sign In: Is It Bad Or Good For You?

One account to rule them all. I remember when OpenID first debuted, everyone was gushing over the implications. What is OpenID? Long story short, OpenID lets you use a single account to log into any website that’s configured to allow OpenID users. These days, we have Facebook and Twitter logins to accomplish pretty much the same thing.

Google+ being integrated into multiple services is the next step in the evolution of online convenience. OpenID made it so that users didn’t have to juggle dozens of accounts for websites, forums, social media sites, etc. Google+ is expanding on that idea so users don’t need to juggle so many different web services. In a culture of fast technology and busy schedules, this is arguably a good thing. People love convenience.

But wait, how does Google+ Sign In differ from the previous Google OpenID Sign In that already existed? One new benefit is that it allows users to automatically install apps from the web on Android without having to visit the Play Store. For the most part, however, it’s only a benefit for Google+ users since it allows everything to be stored under the Google+ account, making it easy to share media on Google’s social network.

google signin accountability   Google+ Sign In: Is It Bad Or Good For You?

It makes people more accountable. One of the big myths about the Internet is that you can be anonymous. The truth is this: at this current time, there’s no real way to be anonymous online. Everything you do can be traced back to you — the only difference is how difficult it would be to execute the trace.

People are more likely to be vitriolic when they can hide behind anonymity. The fact that Google+ is connected to multiple services raises the stakes, which means people need to be more careful about what they say, otherwise, it may come back and bite them later.

For example, if being a jerk on YouTube can impact your social life on Google+, you’re are going to think twice before writing a caustic comment. I’ve personally noticed an improvement in YouTube comment quality since the integration — maybe people are nicer, maybe the trolls just left. Either would be a win in my book.

google signin improve   Google+ Sign In: Is It Bad Or Good For You?

Google can improve its services. The Internet realm is intensely cynical when it comes to anything related to Big Brother — and rightly so. However, in the end, Google is a business and they need users if they want to keep making a profit. This means Google needs to keep improving their offerings.

Integration of Google+ is one way that Google can collect user metrics, which allows them to study the pitfalls and bottlenecks in their products for fixing. Despite the ethical ambiguity that surrounds the company, no one can deny that Google has some of the best web products in the world.

Not only that, but their advancements have rippled out and improved the Internet as a whole. Other companies have learned from Google and consequently put out awesome products that we can enjoy. None of this would have been possible without reliable user metrics.

Google+ Sign-In: The Bad

google signin privacy   Google+ Sign In: Is It Bad Or Good For You?

Reduced sense of privacy. Remember, Internet anonymity is a myth. However, even in light of that truth, people enjoy and prefer the illusion of being anonymous. This illusion has mostly been dashed ever since the NSA spying revelations, which is probably why the uproar over Google+ integration is so furious.

Feelings are important. If I don’t feel safe or secure using a particular service, then I’ll stop using it. If I feel like Google is peering into every corner of my life and leaving me no space to breathe, I’ll stop using it. Even if true anonymity can’t be achieved, the smoke and mirrors of false privacy are still important for the user experience.

google signin products   Google+ Sign In: Is It Bad Or Good For You?

Not everyone wants to use everything. The forced integration of Google+ across multiple services is great for convenience, but only if you were already using them in the first place. For a lot of people, only one or two of the services are relevant, whether YouTube, Calendar, Drive, Groups, etc.

If you didn’t already have a Google+ account, you may not want to make one just to comment on YouTube. The same goes for any other Google product. Sometimes products should stay separated for the good of everyone involved. I certainly wouldn’t want my driver’s license to be the sole identifier for everything I own and do. It just wouldn’t make sense.

Plus, forced Google+ integration just reeks of a desperate attempt to get people to use a service that Google failed to market. Desperation does not reflect well on Google+, Google!

google signing eggs   Google+ Sign In: Is It Bad Or Good For You?

Google has too much power. “Diversify your portfolio” is one of the most important pieces of advice for playing the stock market. If you invest all of your money in solar technology and the entire market crashes, you lose all of it. If you instead split it up between solar technology, soft drink beverages, and toilet paper, you’d only lose a portion of your investments.

Well, what happens when everything is connected to Google+ and Google somehow goes under? What if the Google servers are disabled for a few weeks and none of their services are accessible? Or a more realistic scenario: what if you decide that you don’t want to support Google anymore and you want to move to other services?

Worst case, you lose everything.

In some way, this is an incentive for users to keep using Google even when they don’t want to support Google. It’s just too inconvenient to cut ties. And when all of your eggs are in Google’s basket, they have the power to bend you to their will. If you think about it, it’s almost like a mild form of blackmail. And the payment is a Google+ account.

What do you think about the forced integration of Google+ spreading to other products? How far does Google have to go before it breaks your camel’s back? Share with us in the comments!

Image Credit: Comic by Penny Arcade, Thumbs Up Via Shutterstock, Anonymity Via Shutterstock, Basket Eggs Via Shutterstock

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26 Comments -

2 votes

willc

I have my whole life in Google, from an Apps account to G+ to Picasa to Drive. I love all the tools. I am slightly bothered by all of this being tied to one company, but if it all disappeared on me, life would go on. NSA spying bothers me in a general sense, but that is an issue that is much bigger than just Google.

1 votes

Tom W

Before Google+ sign-in, there was Google sign in. Not much has changed between the two, except now I have to tell it not to post to Google+ every time I post a comment. Also, if this was all in aid of single sign-in, there would be the option to log into YouTube with Facebook and Twitter too.

Google+ doesn’t make people any more accountable. You can easily create a fake Google+ profile with a fake name, just like you could with YouTube.

Metrics are important, but they can collect metrics from Google accounts just as effectively as Google+ accounts.

This article makes a valiant effort to make the good side of the debate, but it comes out feeling like it’s scraping the barrel a bit.

0 votes

Joel L

A lot of the “good” points become stronger if you extrapolate into the future and assume that Google continues to integrate Google+ sign-in with its remaining services, but yes, the “good” side is far lighter than the “bad” side if you aren’t already a Google+ user.

0 votes

dave

theres a script for unticking that box on youtube, have a search for it and install it to greasmonkey/tampermonkey browser extension and youll be good to go.

0 votes

Tom W

Thanks Dave. Since writing that post I had found that script, though there are plenty of people without Greasemonkey / Tampermonkey installed, so I think the point remains valid. Something like that should default to off, with the option to turn it on. It’s one of the basic tenents of social media integration: don’t assume the user wants to post every action from your site. Facebook has recently removed support for “passive” actions, such as “Person A has read an article”, which I think comes under a similar category as posting a comment.

1 votes

Cid Sinclair

I was a hard core MS user early on. I switched over completely to Google about 10 years ago. One of main complaints was that MS products had become bloated and cumbersome and they seemed to keep making changes that benefited no one. Google has lately been showing the same type of behavior. They shut down Google Reader and iGoogle for no other reason than to push users to Google+. It didn’t work. I just found alternatives that give me the information flow I’ve grown acostomed to. I still use many of the Google products, but they have made me very leery of keeping all my eggs in one basket and have themselves shown me that there are decent alternatives to their products. What a boneheaded marketing move! It smacks of Microsoft circa 2000. All that said, the unified login really doesn’t bother me. I had been using my Twitter account much the same way anyway. I hate multiple logins…..

0 votes

Joel L

Good points! I wonder if there have been any companies as large as MS and Google that HAVEN’T shown this kind of behavior. Maybe Amazon? I really miss Google back when they were an up-and-comer.

0 votes

rusty

I’m in favour of a single online id but having Google in charge of it is like having the inmates in charge of the asylum! I have so much faith in Google that I closed my account a couple of years ago, an account that I had held for many years. I have managed to survive perfectly well without Google apart from the odd search which is the only Google service that is worth anything.
The tired old argument about having no privacy anyway so you might as well embrace Google is utterly fallacious. There is no way you can make your house completely burglar proof, so does that mean you don’t even bother locking your house?

0 votes

Harrson

Google totally lost it. I switched to alternatives such as Outlook. I will never use Google again unless they get rid of Google Plus.

1 votes

Colin

“OpenID lets you use a single account to log into any website that’s configured to allow OpenID users. These days, we have Facebook and Twitter logins to accomplish pretty much the same thing”.

Except OpenID didn’t want permissions to read my emails, my contact details, to send emails and make calls without my consent, to read all my friends personal details, etc, etc. Google and Facebook are going well beyond the grounds of reasonable.

Also, if someone writes hateful stuff online, I no longer respond in an attempt to either (a) show them how they are wrong, or(b) to give others something they can vote up, – thereby lowering the horrible commenters visibility.

Why don’t I coment anymore? As you wrote above, there is no anonimity (and Google+ isn’t renowned for security), so the freak I contest might just live close enough to turn up at my door someday. So the freaks win. How is that a Good Thing?

0 votes

Joel L

“How is that a Good Thing?”

That same fear (of lack of anonymity) could arguably be something that reduces the frequency of death threats and hostile behavior from the other side. Whether it actually works that way in practice? I don’t know. Your points are good, though, and I think a lot of people feel that way.

1 votes

RW Driskill

I don’t like Google+ log in. I don’t think every one of my friends needs to know when I post something on MakeUseOf, or any other web site. I will tell them if I think they should know. So I will create a “non” account that isn’t used for anything but web sites that demand Google+ and isn’t connected to any of my good accounts.

1 votes

Brandon R

I think Google should of provided users with the option of weather they wanted to use this feature or not as some users may have issues and some may not.

0 votes

Joel L

A choice would’ve been great, but I think Google is making it clear that they don’t really care about our choices anymore. :(

1 votes

Junil M

I like google plus, sometimes more than facebook for its intuitive features and style. But I totally agree that they should not force it on the Users but rather it market and gain trust from the Users. Eventually, if people like it, they will join it as i did after so long.

1 votes

Graham R

As someone who has everything I do pretty much wrapped up in Googles various services I don’t have an issue but agree that it is nice to be given the chance to opt in / out and have a choice. However all of this does not make them any worse than any other internet company. Facebook is continually changing things, with no notice whatsoever and they never ask you first. Flickr keeps changing (slowly) again, you rarely get asked. Services come and go, often with no warning. I guess thats just a fact of life these days. At least Google does usually give warning and try to explain what its going to do and why its doing it. If you disagree then you are free to leave! If I was paying decent money for all of this I would not be so happy – I’m not. In fact I actually make a little money from my online activity – only about £20 a month but I cant complain!

0 votes

Buffet

I DO NOT USE GOGGLE ANYTHING!!

1 votes

Nicky

Really dislike Google+ and I have stopped using it because of all their nonsense changes, they are just another example of don’t try to fix something if it isn’t broken in the first place. The only thing I still have is their browser and I am ditching it today and replacing it with Opera.

1 votes

John

I’m getting more and more uneasy with Google nowadays. They started off with lots of goodwill. But I’m now starting to think they are getting more and more evil. I can’t help but feel suspicious of this Google+ sign in thing.

I recommend that people read this book:
The Google Trap: How Internet Aggregators Enrich the 1%, Impoverish Creative People and Threaten to Decimate the Middle-Class
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HNTLKMS/

It got me thinking about Google.

0 votes

1

Your government tracks too, all traffic in every city. All structure such as FBI, FSS, CIA and more more. Can see all what you to do at real time, traffic mirrored to they servers. All social sites collaboration wit them, all redirectings saves to logs.

1 votes

Jake

I’d like to completely disable Google+ since I don’t use social media of any kind, and I resent being forced onto it. My question is: will disabling it also affect my Drive, Gmail, and Calendar? I can’t afford to lose the years of info I have stored there, and I’ve never seen a better email service than Gmail.

1 votes

Davey126

@Jake – you can disable Google+ with no impact to your existing content on Drive, Gmail and Calendar. Functionality (aside form G+ specific features) remains intact … at least for now.

0 votes

Jake

Davey126:

Thanks for this information. I’m going to take the plunge.

Jake

0 votes

dragonmouth

OpenID – Yes, Google+ – NO.
I do not use cloud services. I do not use social media. I resent being forced to sign up for a social network just so I can have one signon for multiple sites. My fingers will not fall off if I have to login to each site separately.

0 votes

h

Recently I was attacked by “popular” “hijacking for ransom”
virus. Locked me out of EVERYTHING.
I finally had to install a Mint Linux pack right over the top of the Win8.1 program.
But boy! Did I learn a lot while researching how to kill it.
My final summary:
It’s already too late for you to hide anything anywhere.
“They” already have us all pegged out.
All we can do is keep up with “attack security” to stop the filthy swines out there taking over your system and zombying it or worse.

Relax. Switch to Linux and you’ll be pretty safe for another couple of years. Try Uberstudent and Linux Mint.
Uberstudent auto installs a VirtualBox to contain nasties if you INSIST you still need Windows.

0 votes

Mark

I feel that most people here are massively misinformed.

The websites that use google + sign in **have the option** to post to their google + page. It’s their fault!! Not google’s!

Next, you don’t really need to supply your information to social media sites past your name, email, and birthdate. This is basic identification that websites and services use to have a sense of who is using their products.

Also, the google integration pushed something that NO OTHER SERVICES really accomplished until they did. I can syncronize my apps, calendars, email, notes, documents with my account on ANY DEVICE!

But I don’t use google drive. I use dropbox, which allows me to syncronize my files on any device as well. But with any cloud service, I have an online and offline backup. Better than before!

BUT HERE LIES THE PROBLEM: Yes it is incredibly convenient to use single log-ins. But: Lets say you are not as tech savy and you put your information into a fake website. Bingo, you can loose your sync’d information. But they still don’t know what websites you used your account in. And there are also additional security measuers like text message verification!

Yes, not many use google + at all, but the sign-in feature is a win for convenience and security, since google has a big team behind ensuring that their sign in’s go straight to their service.

Much more positives than negatives. But it does depend on the website. For example, I will never use it for banking or anything to do with money, and it shouldn’t.