Google has started adding small verification badges to certain Google+ accounts.

The badges initially appear as a small, gray, circular checkbox to the right of the account name, and then expand on mouseover to say “verified name.” Our Editor-in-Chief Danny Sullivan is among the first group of accounts to be verified like this, and here’s how the badge appears on his profile with the mouseover in place.


Google’s Wen-Ai Yu made the announcement Friday evening in a Google+ post and accompanying video. She explains that verification right now is focused on

  • public figures
  • celebrities
  • people who have been “added to a large number of circles”

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. I’m seeing the verified badge on accounts like Google’sVic Gundotra, who has about 119,000 followers, and well-known social media author Brian Solis, who has about 22,000 followers.

Google’s Avinash Kaushik doesn’t have the verification badge — he has about 8,800 followers — while another Google employee, Chris Schrier does, even though he has about 4,500 followers — half of what Kaushik has. And a user named Adrian Rodriguez is also verified, even though he claims to only have about 100 followers (as he says in the comments on Google’s announcement).

In other words, it’s probably a waste of time to try figuring out the minimum level for verification. It’s equally pointless to try figuring out Twitter’s standards for verified accounts. In fact, the whole social verification scene is quite a mess these days.