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Google Handwrite

Here’a a nifty little trick, highlighted today in Time Techland – Google Handwrite. It allows you to use your Android or Apple device to scribble your search term instead of the keyboard. The article goes through a complete tutorial for you. It’s a quick set up.

I enabled this feature on both my phone and iPad. It’s a little tough to write on the phone, but the extra room on the iPad is kind of fun. The coolest part about this feature is that your handwriting is not limited to the search bar; you can write anywhere on the screen.

The author of the article, Doug Aamoth, debates the usefulness of it, which remains a valid point for me. I’m not sure that I would opt to always handwrite my search term over typing the letters, but the feature allows you to do either. The auto search feature is still active when you handwrite, so you can simply tap the term when it pulls the correct words you’re looking up.

It’s always fun to find new little features that may make life a little easier, or in this case, just a little more fun.

Here is a photo from the post.

Please CLICK HERE to learn how to set it up on your device.

There’s a problem with your Google+ profile

That was the lovely message I saw when I logged onto Google+ this morning.  Let me start by saying that I don’t actually visit my Google+ accounts everyday.  If the darn thing were integrated into my Hootsuite, then I would post a lot more often. Just as Google built Google+ as an afterthought, so is my interaction on the site. I have to actually remind myself to visit, post, red and interact.

So when I do login and see this notice, I grow a little less patient with the site.

There’s a problem with your Google+ profile

It appears that the name you entered does not comply with the Google+ Names Policy.

The Names Policy requires that you use the name that you are commonly referred to in real life in your profile. Nicknames, previous names, and so on, should be entered in the Other Names section of the profile. Profiles are limited to individuals; use Google+ Pages for businesses and other entities.

If you do not edit your name to comply with the Names Policy or appeal with additional information by March 21, 2012, your profile will be suspended: you will not be able to make full use of Google services that require an active profile, such as Google+, Buzz, Reader, and Picasa. This will not prevent you from using other Google services, like Gmail.

We understand that Google+ and its Names Policy may not be for everyone at this time. We’d be sad to see you go, but if you do choose to leave, make a copy of your Google+ data first. Then, click here to disable Google+.


Umm. Ok? So do you want me to verify my name, or do you want me to leave? You seem awfully eager for me to disable my account. Hmm. Well, I’ll go ahead and appeal the flagging of my name, as that is my name, it’s what everyone calls me and I simply refuse to add my middle name to the mix to make this fully legal.

When I clicked the appeal link, this message popped up:

Your profile is being reviewed

Thank you for submitting your profile for review. Your profile will be reviewed again to see if it complies with our Names Policy. Reviews are usually completed within a few days. In the meantime, you have full access to Google+ and all other Google services.

If the review is successful, this message will disappear and you can continue using Google+. Otherwise, you’ll be informed that the review was unsuccessful and provided with further instructions.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience.

We understand that Google+ and its Names Policy may not be for everyone at this time. We’d be sad to see you go, but if you do choose to leave, make a copy of your Google+ data first. Then, click here to disable Google+.

The only part of that message that is right on the money is this: We understand that Google+ and its Names Policy may not be for everyone at this time.  I’m certainly not digging it! And again, what’s with the encouragement to see me go?

I was a bit frustrated with these two messages, and posted publicly to Google+:

Hey Google+ – What’s up? My real name isn’t good enough for you? You may suspend my account? You state at the end of your explanation that “our Name Policy may not be for everyone at this time.” Also that I am welcome to leave Google+? I may take you up on your suggestion if you don’t find my real and commonly used name a fit for your policy. Absolutely ridiculous!!!!!

Apparently, others have had issues to and lent some empathy. Finally, a Google engineer chimed in:

Yonatan Zunger  –  Hrm, seems like a false positive to me. Will check. 

That makes me feel sooo much better! So, I thoughtfully crafted this response:

Shanna Bright  –  +Yonatan Zunger Since you are with Google, may I suggest that you warm up the communications to your users. This paragraph: 

We understand that Google+ and its Names Policy may not be for everyone at this time. We’d be sad to see you go, but if you do choose to leave, make a copy of your Google+ data first. Then, click here to disable Google+.

…comes across as a suggestion to leave. Telling users that you/they are not a good fit comes across as a suggestion to leave. I’m already finding it difficult to make time to update my Google+ as I do not have Hootsuite integration….so Google+ is an afterthought in my social networking activity. When I do log on and find that I’m not considered “real” or “acceptable” or that I don’t fit policy… or now that I’m a false positive… it makes me even less enthusiastic to participate. There is much friendlier language that could be used which would not alienate your current users. Example?

Hey Shanna Bright! Your name is so unique, our computers think it might not be real. Can you click here and help us verify your name for us. If this is your nickname, that’s cool, but we need to list your profile name as the name you are commonly referred to. You nickname can now be entered here…

Something along those lines….. See what I mean?


While I did not receive a response to my suggestion, I was delighted that my good name was finally cleared:

Yonatan Zunger  –  +Shanna Bright We cleared the bit and you should be OK now. I’m sorry about that message — you got the “we’re pretty sure you’re a spammer / spambot” message. We’re tracking down why these false positives happened in the first place now; this shouldn’t have happened.


To which I replied:

Shanna Bright  –  +Yonatan Zunger Thank you for looking into this and for clearing my name. I’m glad to be considered a human again and not a spambot. I hope my profile doesn’t trigger any false positives in the future. Please do consider submitting my suggestion for brand communication style changes. Thank you – SB


At the end of this experience with Google, I feel a bit beaten up. I don’t feel valued, I don’t feel human and it seems my suggestion for warming up their communications fell of deaf ears.  But really…what a missed opportunity to positively interact with your users and inject your brand identity and core values into the conversation.  Definitely does nothing to welcome me back to the site and rev up my interaction levels.

This is really something to consider though. Your brand identity needs to be stamped in every communication from your company or personal accounts.  This means your invoices, error messages, receipts, tweets, updates, posts… everything.  Because one little slip – like a stupid little false positive name issue – leaves an impression with your clients. They interpret these messages as part of your brand values.  In this case, Google leaves me with the “cold shoulder” impression. Not once was a “thank you,” “we appreciate you,” or even “good idea” remarked. Google+ missed the opportunity to make me a fan. Instead, the network will remain nothing but an afterthought.

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