Is G+ actively blocking suspended users from viewing public sites?

This whole Google+ saga keeps getting weirder and weirder. 3 weeks ago, somebody at Google made a mistake and suspended my account because they thought the name I was using was different than the name I go by on a day to day basis. Despite helping them out and showing proof of my identity, my “appeal” was denied and I lost access to several of my favorite Google services.

That was pretty lame, but now it appears that Google is actively blocking suspended users like myself from being able to view the site at all… even totally public photo albums, profiles, or posts! So if in the past I wanted to go to this public post by John Hardy, I would have seen this:

What you see when you look at a public Google+ profile

I now see this:

What I see when I look at a public Google+ profile

When my friend Xeni shares a public post, this is what I see:

What I see when I visit a public G+ page

Or if Natalie Villalobos shared an update on a new Google+ name policy, it shows up like this:

What I see when I visit a public G+ page

Note, this problem only persists as long as I’m signed into Google services (like Gmail), so I have to log out of my still functioning Google services in order to access any information shared on G+. It’s possible they forgot to add the “close” button on these pop ups, or maybe there is a bug, but I’ve learned that fixing mistakes like this is not something Google is good at.

When this whole identity thing started 3 weeks ago I thought “No big deal, they just made a error. I’m sure they’ll fix it.”, but after weeks of seeking help from Google Support via email or their web forums, I still haven’t gotten any help. As Google Profiles, the center piece of this whole Google blunder, gets integrated more and more into Google’s model, I’m worried about what other services I’ll be blocked from in the future.

  • http://empoprise-bi.blogspot.com/ John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises)

    When will competitors see the opportunity in marketing to the people that Google doesn’t want? Or are the competitors, such as Facebook, tacitly in agreement that they want to limit their markets to so-called “real people”?

  • Guest

    I recommend that you grow up a bit and just change your name. Even if you are already using your real name, switch it to a nickname instead, then try to switch it back or something. If it is important for you to use G+ just give in and comply, if you are that upset, stop using the service. Nobody will miss a winer.

  • Cstar1

    Are they doing it? Yes. I see the same suspension notice whenever I try to view a G+ link that someone tweets. 

  • Spartacus

    “…just give in and comply…” I guess your “real” name is not Spartacus.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/bunnyhero bunnyhero

    looks like they haven’t fixed the typo in that popup window (it should read “We understand that Google+ and its Names Policy”, not “it’s Names Policy”) :P

    i wonder if it’d be worth creating a chrome extension (or greasemonkey userscript) to dismiss the warning window.

  • http://tablesaw.dreamwidth.org/ Tablesaw

    I’ve been experiencing this too. The work-around is to click “Edit your name,” which will redirect to your profile in edit mode and bring up a second window. Hit “Cancel” to not change your name, then “Done Editing,” then go back through the history to the previous page you were looking for.
    As long as you stay in the same window/tab, it won’t come back, but if you try to open a link into a new window/tab, it’ll come back again.

    Of course, now my problem is that Google Talk is resetting my chat icon every day to something I may have possibly used nine years ago, and with a profile suspended and under appeal, there’s no way I can change it. Another Google Service tainted . . .

  • Melissa Hall

    It is a well established principle of contract law that in a contract that is entered in to without negotiating that the contact is strictly constructed against the drafting party. While google is enforcing this as if they have the right to draft, construe, and enforce all on their own but I strongly suspect a court would see the issue differently

  • Guest

    Yeah, but if enough *whiners* leave the service, you end up having no-one left to talk to. It loses critical mass and plummets rapidly.

    I’m already seeing this happen – my circle activity has dropped hugely. Now that Google’s done a great job at alienating most of the people I’m interested in following, I’m wondering if it’s managed to implode before it comes out of beta.

  • Moribund Cadaver

    I can confirm at least 3 more users who are experiencing similar:

    In their cases their names were challenged under the new 4 day grace period and they voluntarily selected the option to leave G+. They deleted their Google profiles entirely.

    However, Google has clearly kept hidden records of their master Google account’s history on G+ – when they attempt to browse public Google+ posts while logged in, they are challenged with a pop-up that prevents them from browsing the site. Clicking on “edit your name” now brings them to the Google+ sign up page.

    It seems the Goog doesn’t much care for the experience of what they assume will be an outlier of users who don’t bend over and obey Google’s commands – I mean “suggestions”.

  • http://docpop.org/ doc

    Thanks for letting me know. I was wondering if this was happening to all suspended users.

  • Udo Sero

    This is profoundly idiotic.

  • http://profiles.google.com/vjperera Vishaan Perera

    Your experience is not representative of all challenged accounts. I had a joint G+ account with my wife with the joint email address we share. This account was suspended under the names policy because both of our names were used as the profile name… of course this violated the names policy. We decided to delete this G+ profile under this account and can currently view public posts of other profiles in G+ while logged into that account. 

  • http://docpop.org DocPop

    That’s interesting. I’ve thought about deleting my Google Profile account, but it’s too vague on what all happens when doing so. I’m worried that deleting my account will have permanent repercussions on the google services that I still have access to.

  • http://rainydaysuperstar.us Rainyday Superstar

    Same here and not only for G+ but I’m blocked from ALL Google services in similar ways. A number of different warnings but pages are grayed out or return a 404
    The only thing I have is chat and gmail and the ability to accept Latitude shares.
    If I want to look at any public posts tho, I have to log out of my email
    I changed my name to Rainy O’Leary many days ago in hopes of being able to retrieve what might be left of my account but it looks like they decided that isn’t common enough for them.
    But apparently LoL sec and gobblecock perfectly acceptable
    I altered the spellings because  my intention is not to get other people suspended for any reason, I’m only pointing out the blatant inconsistancies in regard to enforcing this ridiculous, unfair and unreasonable policy

  • http://profiles.google.com/vjperera Vishaan Perera

    I can only give you my experience. My wife and I deleted our Google+ profile and our entire account is pre-G+. That means we still have a google profile and all google services like picasa. We pay for extra storage so we were definitely concerned. My guess is there are bugs restoring services for suspended g+ accounts. 

    It does seem strange that a service is asking a non-member (assuming you’ve deleted your account) to change a feature on your non-existent account. I would say give it a couple of days.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dgerard David Gerard

    It suggests that G+’s tendrils are being extended into *everything*, in a manner that produces unpredictable bugs.

    I don’t think the phenomenon DocPop is observing is due to deliberate malice – it’s obviously stupidity. But that’s worse, because you can convince someone not to behave maliciously, but you can’t convince a stupid person smart. As such, I expect the popcorn potential of G+ to continue.

  • Ellen Brenner

    LOL! The anonymous Guest complains about someone not wanting to change their name. Can you spell I-R-O-N-Y?

  • Anonymous

    Yikes. Thankfully I haven’t had the issue as of yet but it seriously irks me that they are so draconian about it. It was all looking so good at first but now I’m kind of on the fence with staying active on it. Sticking to Twitter and my blog that no one goes to.

    This is just straight dumb. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/VeXHarbinger Alex Pearlstein

    Just view g+ posts in another browser.  Not the best fix I’ll admit but, it will instantly solve your issue of having to relog into gmail.   It sucks that you have to do it and, you’re a performer so you should be able to list yourself using yer nom de plume.

  • Anonymous

    Yep I’m on my second suspension and am now getting this (although when initially suspended this had clearly not gone live, so I was left guessing I was suspended because everything I tried to do returned an error). This is only one of the examples that show you are better off not accepting the G+ invite because if they don’t like the look of you or you decide to delete your account then you end up with a degraded service (it also seems to impact functionality in Reader, Picasa and Buzz – this is different from being locked out of all Google services, which happened to me with my first suspension, as that was a bug they have since fixed, this is all deliberate). Rainyday Superstar has been cataloguing it all on her blog:

    http://rainydaysuperstar.us/

  • Moribund Cadaver

    Just heard from a couple more individuals who say after voluntarily deleting their profile before suspension kicked in, they are now no longer able to upload images to their previously existing Picasa accounts using the firmware level capabilities of their Android phones.

  • http://maco.myopenid.com/ maco

    Dreamwidth is marketing straight to people who’re upset about the Names policy. Free invite code is “gplus”

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  • Goran Miskovic

    or open new tab in anonymous mode…

  • http://rainydaysuperstar.us Rainyday Superstar

    What is a “winer” ? 

  • http://rainydaysuperstar.us Rainyday Superstar

    I emailed Google and informed them that I had changed my name to a different fake name
    One that I dont go by because I only just made it up
    A name that no one knows me as
    A name I possess no ID or have links to on any other sites
    Just a made up name 
    And they approved it
    Are they retarded?
    Or just stupid?
    This goes against every one of the so-called reasons they gave for wanting me to change my name in the first place

  • Dougthecurmudgeon

    https://joindiaspora.com/ Is one alternative and they don’t care what you call yourself.