One Fewer Google I|O 2012 Attendee

They just launched the Google I|O 2012 conference site, and it is immediately apparent that I will not be attending, most likely, as they require Google+ to sign up.

There is no obvious reason why this would be technically necessary. It is hard to imagine that it is impossible to create a conference registration site without Google+, considering that there are countless other conference registration sites that have managed to pull off the trick. Heck, there were even conference registration sites before Google+ existed.

Instead, I have to assume that they are mandating Google+ just because they can.

Some people have wondered why I have not simply joined Google+. After all, you might think that somebody deeply involved with Android must love all things Google and therefore would have jumped at the chance to join Google+. And, at one time, that probably would have been true.

Partly, I am not involved in Google+ because I do not need yet more communication channels. I already spend countless hours supporting Android developers, and I manage to do all that simply with a Twitter account, a StackOverflow account, and an email account (which, admittedly, at the moment is Gmail, pending finding a suitable replacement). I am not a member of Facebook, nor LinkedIn, nor any of the scads of other social networks out there, either.

Partly, I am generally concerned about privacy and look upon all social networks with a degree of skepticism.

Mostly, though, I am not involved in Google+ because Google blew what goodwill it had with me with repeated screwups with related services, and I just cannot trust them anymore.

I used to use Google Reader for keeping up with RSS feeds and such. However, Google Reader kept somehow leaking my information. I don’t know what, and I don’t know how, considering I had done everything I could to tell Reader not to publish stuff. Yet, I would find people commenting about what I was reading in Reader, despite my best efforts. Hence, I dumped Reader.

When Google Buzz debuted, I immediately tried to turn it off, for all the above reasons. This too proved problematic, as every so often, I would get some indication that perhaps I had somehow gotten a Buzz profile (or whatever they called it), again despite my best efforts.

This all is on top of the screwup with Google Apps for Business that I blogged about last summer.

In theory, I could set up a pseudonymous Google Account and try to add Google+ to it. However, they also require Google Wallet, which while technically not as preposterous, would make setting up the pseudonymous account that much more challenging. And it is insulting that I would need to go to all that length for the right to hand over $900 to attend a conference.

And, of course, I might go through all that hassle and still not be able to attend, if last year’s registration fiasco is any indication. The only reason I got to attend last year was because they offered pre-registration for some people who had attended previous years’ conferences, and preliminary indications are they are not doing the same thing this year.

I will continue to mull this over during the next two weeks, to see if I can figure out a low-friction, high-privacy means of signing up for Google I|O 2012. I am not hopeful, and I am even less hopeful that Android development in general will remain “free as in speech”, if Google expands upon its Google+ mandates.