Google+, the new social platform from Google, has now added support for verified names. The team over there is moving quickly to iterate the product and extend its reach throughout other areas of Google. That’s a good sign for fans of the platform.
Verified names are similar to verified accounts on Twitter (notice the difference in the language used). A small badge appears next to the user’s name on their profile. See the above video for an example of the hover-over behavior.
There has certainly been no shortage of debate over Google’s controversial real names policy. This quick move and the language used tells me they really want to drive that policy even further. Structured data, segmentation and verified identities are going to be very important for the future of both social networks and search engines. Google is going to need things done a certain way to maintain ownership in those areas.
I can relate to many of the concerns of that policy and know many of those affected. I haven’t commented much on the issue because it’s not how I do things. I’ve always put my real name out there (likely too much) as I’ve experimented with the various social networks over the years.
Now it’s now longer progressive to build an online identify around your real name or a pseudonym. A name on a Google search results page is going to be a big part of that online identity. Having a Google verified name might just be the ultimate ego SEO for some. I only see people turning to Google more and more to verify other people’s identity or intentions.