Goodbye pseudonyms! Android app store reviews will now show your Google+ name and picture

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Google PlayIn Google’s relentless drive to encourage the world to give a damn about its Google+ social network, the software giant has decided to force users who want to leave reviews of Android apps to do so using their Google+ name and picture.

In short, there will be no more pseudonymous reviews on Google Play – from now on, any feedback you leave on Android apps will be accompanied by your name and photograph.

Google Play review notice. Click for larger version

From now on, reviews you write will be posted publicly using your Google+ name and picture.

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Your name on previous reviews will appear as "A Google User".

Note that Google hasn’t given you anyway of opting-out of using your Google+ name and picture.

Earlier this year, Google began encouraging YouTube users to also start using their Google+ name and profile picture on the video-sharing site. Google is not yet enforcing the use of real names on YouTube, but if they did it might help clean up the cesspool of commentary that is frequently found up there.

Google Plus real name rules

Google Plus’s real-name policy has been the subject of controversy in the past, as there are legitimate and understandable reasons why people sometimes want to be anonymous on the net.

Yes, even when leaving app reviews. For instance, you can understand why some folks may not want others to know what Android apps they have installed, or to have crazy-ass app developers know exactly who it was who slagged off their rubbish fart app.

Meanwhile, there are no such problems over in the rival iTunes app store for iPhone and iPad owners, who Apple allows to use a pseudonym when leaving reviews.

iTunes app store reviews, using pseudonyms

If you have an Android device, and these are issues that concern you, then the answer is simple – either stop leaving reviews of Android apps, or create a bogus Google+ account using a pseudonym and hope that Google doesn’t notice you’ve broken their rules.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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