In an attempt to reign in online identities, Google Plus has started to roll out verified accounts.
The new feature aims to make users more comfortable including people in their friend groups, the company said. Critics of Google’s real name policy are saying that verification badges allow Google to check that people online are who they say they are.
Similar to Twitter’s old “verified” badgets, Google now shows a gray verification badge with a checkmark next to a member’s name on his or her profile, as a mark that the celebrity (or, more likely on Google+, tech blogger) is the real Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page or William Shatner and not an impersonator.
“For now, we’re focused on verifying public figures, celebrities and people who’ve been added to a large amount of circles,” said Google engineer Wen Ai-Yu on a video posted to her site profile. She added that the company is looking to expand the feature to more individuals in the future.
Google hasn’t released information about how the verification process happens — the company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Some verified Google+ users have said they don’t know how or why they got the nod.
“My account has been verified,” said prolific G+ poster and tech blogger Robert Scoble. “They didn't ask me if that was OK. They didn't ask me if I had any ID. I didn't know before they turned it on.”