Computer Apps and Features

Do You Know How Google Detects Fake Names?

Google-against-anonymity

Social networking anonymity will remain a long-standing debate. Some people argue that hiding their real identity is an impetus to their creativity and gives them freedom to express their view without revealing their real identity.

We see valuable contributions from anonymous and they have made it clear, many times over, that they would not contribute otherwise.

However, cyber bullying, character assassination etc that is a form of e-torment is done by these anonymous.  For example, on Facebook pages, you must have seen random people with fake names leaving derogatory comments and proving to be a bane.

The former Facebook marketing director (and sister of founder Mark), Randi Zuckerberg expressed her views regarding anonymity in following manner:

“I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”

You may have noticed that Google has made changes in it sign-up process where you have to provide a real name while signing up for any of its services.

If you try to sign-up with a different name that doesn’t looks like a real name, Google will come to know about it and will not let you use any of its services.

Bradley Horowitz also (Vice President of Product Management of Google+) made it clear long ago in one of his posts on G+ . He quoted that –many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing.”

Don’t you want to know that how Google does so and how predicts that you are not using a real name? If yes then this post is for you.

To solve the conundrum we conducted a search and I would like to admit that we were lucky enough to stumble upon one of the patents filed by Google within a few hours.

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This patent application was published in month of Nov’13 and it describes how Google makes sure that a user must enter his real name while signing up for any of its services. Below is a short and crisp description of the patent.

How Google’s New sign-up Process Detects Fake Names

According to the patent application the algorithm that Google is using can detect fake names of different languages. It does an analysis of the entered name and generates a confidence score and only then declares a name as a real name.

The algorithm works in a following manner.

When a user enters his name in online registration form, his name gets dissembled into different parts. After parsing the name, it detects the language used in the name first, like whether the name entered by the user is Chinese, Indian or an American name.

After that, the name entered by the user will be compared with a database having a blacklist of non-real names of that particular language.

If the name entered by the user will match with a blacklisted name. Then, his sign-up process will get terminated.

If the name will not match with the blacklist, the system compares the entered name of the user with a white list of real names.

After verifying that the name is present in white list, Google allows the user to go ahead for the sign-up process.

Apart from that the algorithm also makes use of external databases like Government databases (a driver license or identification card database) or other external databases to confirm a real name of a user.

This is how Google makes sure that an online user should use a real name while signing up for any of its services. This surely prevents users from using non-real names. However, they can still create fake accounts by using real names.

 

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11 thoughts on “Do You Know How Google Detects Fake Names?

  1. The initiative by google is good. A huge majority of the people will support the idea that anonymity on the internet should go away.
    But an equally large chunk of people will prefer to be unknown. Like Mr Brown would be a very common name. Or maybe Mr smith, Mr anderson or Mr anil kumar. How will google take care of that.

    Like

    • HI Amsang,
      Great question. Yes you are right these sort of names are real. Google can’t stop someone from using it I believe.
      In future, they can use other methods like uploading a scanned copy of your ID-card or DL for authentication or name verifications. FB asks you to upload your ID card or similar document for verification when they find something suspicious or in case your account is under threat.

      You may have noticed that while registering for any of the Google’s services you have to verify your phone number. In future it can happen that Google may ask your phone service provider to provide them the basic details like name of the customer and his photograph. This can be another method.

      Like

    • Yes this prevents the social network anonymity. However, Google has already dropped the restrictions that it used to impose earlier on users to use their real name while filing up the registration form.

      Like

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