tedster - 9:14 pm on Sep 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
At the risk of being called a Google fanboy, which I'm not, I want to add some balancing points:
1. You need to give very little information to Google to set up a Google Profile and Google+ account.
2. You can restrict or enlarge the information and external social sites involved to your specific needs and taste.
3. With Circles, group video Hangouts and Sparks, I'd say there is already lots of innovation - Google+ is not just a copy of anything. In fact, the way it's designed it could be used as a social media master account that helps organize information for anyone overwhelmed by a too diverse social presence.
So Google intends it to be only for real names? In a world already filled with "Like Farms" and "Followers for Sale", that makes plenty of sense to me.
I'm not using Google+ right now (too many things to do already) but I am watching it and I might use it if I see the value growing.
Anything new from Google attracts reflex flaming today, and that is not all that useful to me. In fact, that automatic flaming tends to bury any potential value in a flood of way-too-predicatble predictable noise. As a web worker who is always looking for new and useful avenues online, that gets very frustrating.