Google started adding small verification badges on certain Google+ accounts. The badges initially appear as a small, gray, circular checkbox to the right of the account name, and when mouseover it reveals "verified name."
Google's Wen-Ai Yu made the announcemet on Friday, August 19 evening in a Google Plus post with an video (embedded below). In the post, she explains that verification right now is focused on
- public figures
- people who have been "added to a large number of circles"
Per Yu's Google Plus post:
We're starting to roll out verification badges on profiles so you can be sure the person you're adding to a circle is who they claim to be. Check out the video below (or my profile) to see what these verification badges look like.
For now, we're focused on verifying public figures, celebrities, and people who have been added to a large number of Circles, but we're working on expanding this to more folks.
Thanks again for sending in your feedback!
There's no definition of "large number of circles" and, on a quick check, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to verification, either. For example the verified badge is visible on Google's Vic Gundotra, who has about 119,000 followers, where as Avinash Kaushik who has about 8,800 followers -- doesn't have the verification badge -- while another Googler Chris Schrier does have "verified status" with 4,500 followers -- half of what Kaushik has.
Yu later in her Google Plus post promise that they're planning to expand the verification program, as you can see in the video announcement below:
Many celebrities and public figures are joining Google+, and if you're like me, you want to be sure the person you're adding to a circle is really who they claim to be.
Today, I'm happy to announce that we're starting to roll out verification badges on profiles.
When you visit the profile of a celebrity or public figure, you'll see a verification badge next to their profile name. This will help you easily determine which profiles are owned by real, verified people.
Here's an example: In my profile on the top right, you'll see a grey checkmark next to my name. When you mouse over it, you'll see that this is a "verified name".
You might be wondering how to verify your own name on Google+. For now, we're focused on verifying public figures, celebrities, and people who have been added to a large number of Circles...but keep in mind that this is just the beginning. We're working on expanding this to include more people in the future, so hang tight!
We hope this improvement helps you feel more comfortable adding people to your circles. Thanks for listening, I'll see you on Google+!