Google+ is starting to roll out verification badges on select profiles so you can be sure the person you're adding to your circle is who they claim to be. Badges are only available to celebrities, public figures and people who have been added to a large number of circles, but the company is working on expanding the feature to the general population.
There was no mention of how qualified profiles were being selected and verified, nor was it revealed how many circles one needs to be included in to require verification.
Verification badges were introduced by Google+ team member Wen-Ai Yu in a video that demonstrates how the new feature works.
Google+ requires users to submit and display their real name on their profile, sparking debate about online anonymity when the service first launched. Others appreciate the proactive move which seems to give the site a more professional demeanor.
Facebook's marketing director Randi Zuckerberg falls into the latter category, suggesting that online anonymity has to go away. Zuckerberg believes that activites like cyberbullying and harassment would decline if people were held accountable for their online actions by linking real names to accounts.
Twitter popularized the account verification system which is used for the same purpose and is indicated by a blue badge with a check mark beside the user's name. Twitter initially offered a beta verification program but it has since closed down. The company still offers account verification to celebrities and public figures, although it's now unclear how to go about requesting a badge.