Is that person in your circle really who they say they are? Google+ can now tell you.
Google+ is still not available for businesses, but the service is continuing to add new features that will be important for business users once the social network becomes available to the corporate world. In a blog post Monday, Google’s Wen-Ai Yu announced the release of verified IDs for high-profile users.
A Google+ verified ID badge attests that Google has checked the identification of the account holder and that, as far as Google knows, that person really is who they say they are. Similar verified accounts have been available for celebrities and businesses on Twitter for some time, and help to reduce uncertain, "wild west" atmosphere of social networks. On Google+, the verified badge appears as a checkmark within a circle to the right of the user's name. When you mouse over the checkmark, the badge expands to reveal the text "verified name."
"Many celebrities and public figures are joining Google+, and if you're like me, you want to be sure the person you're adding to a circle is really who they claim to be," said Yu in a < a href="https://plus.google.com/103618543375127073102/posts/ZiXUSJQ3fGA">video posted to her Google+ profile. "When you visit the profile of a celebrity or public figure, you'll see a verification badge next to their profile name. This will help you easily determine which profiles are owned by real, verified people."
At present, according to Yu, Google is only deploying the feature for high-profile celebrities and users who appear in a very large number of other users' circles. However, over time Google intends to offer the feature to other users. It's not clear yet what the qualifying criteria will be.
ID verification has obvious value for celebrities, but the feature will also prove indispensible to businesses once Google+ eventually rolls out to the corporate sector. With it, companies will be able to verify the accounts of executives and spokespeople, which will give organizations the confidence to use Google+ for important communications with the public, as many companies currently do via Twitter and Facebook.
At present, Google is quiet about how, exactly, a user can get his or her account verified. Presumably the company is contacting qualified users directly. By the time the service rolls out to Google Apps accounts and non-Google Apps businesses, the verification process will likely become fairly streamlined.
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