Fred Wilson has a response today to Eric Schmidt’s declaration in Edinburgh that Google+ is an “identity service”. He asks and answers his own question.
“whom Google built this service for? You or them. And the answer to why you need to use your real name in the service is because they need you to.”
Of course Facebook is also an identity service. Facebook Connect is the means of distributing it. And of course Facebook too is built using real names because “they need you to”.
At this level FaceBook and Google have much in common, and both are vying for us to use them for online authentication. Facebook is far ahead of course.
Late yesterday I posted an opinion piece as a guest author on TechCrunch. It is about the uncertain future of web services as mobile devices proliferate globally. We will soon all have awesome identity machines in our pocket. They will be capable of being used to authenticate us (even using 2 step authentication). Any cloud-based 3rd party identity system will be unnecessary.
The future of identity is distributed, under user control, and owned and managed by the user from their device. It will be capable of supporting anonymity and real names and will be able to be trusted by sites requiring you to authenticate. The idea of any 3rd party dictating how you can present yourself online will no longer be applicable. Of course, it still has to be built…..
Having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Google and/or Facebook building an identity system that dictates how we present ourselves. Our choice is to use it or not…..We don’t have to.