July 14, 2011

Apple's Jonathan Ive Gains Fake Google+ Account

Note: After some fun, the account has been deleted. My skepticism throughout was valid.

Apple is well-known for its veil of silence when it comes to secrecy and a virtual vacuum of participation when it comes to social media and blogging, with the occasional exception like senior vice president of product marketing Phil Schiller's Twitter account. One of the more mysterious characters in Apple's core team (no pun intended) is Jonathan Ive, the senior vice president of industrial design, and the man given much of the credit for Apple's amazing hardware, from the iMac, iPod and iPhone to today's array of products. Ive looks to have broken through Apple's cone of silence in an interesting place - on Google+, the nascent social network launched from the search giant a few weeks ago, which was reported to have vaulted beyond 10 million users in its short lifespan. Of course, barring a "Verified" tag commonly seen with Twitter, but not yet present on Google+, there's always the chance this profile is a fake, but one can hope Ive is looking to share more, relieving Steve Jobs of his title as a one man social media powerhouse.

Is this Apple's Jonathan Ive on Google+? I want to believe, but am skeptical.

The veracity of Ive's Google+ account is questionable, unfortunately. His profile photo is the first result for his name on Google images. His listed schools are all discoverable via Wikipedia. His places lived matches only Cupertino, California, while even Wikipedia says he and his wife life in San Francisco, and he's been known to make the commute down South 280 to report to 1 Infinite Loop. This also misses his birthplace in England. So there's that. Also odd? The content of his posts. Aside from the first "Hello Google+" from Tuesday, Ive's supposed posts have speculated on the approval of Google+ on the iPhone and a slight tease as to the potential imminent release of Lion (Mac OS X 10.7), billed as the world's most advanced operating system. Try as I might to want to believe it's Ive talking, let's not forget his focus is on hardware, and not software, even if software is the soul... of Apple, and yet that's what's on his profile.

What gives the profile some veracity is the first response to his first post is from Jeff Huber, SVP of Commerce and Local at Google. But this could simply be a fast response by Jeff to Ive's following him. He allegedly follows 72 people on Google+, including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as a host of well-known and lesser-known Googlers. No Apple people in sight. So as much fun as it is to think Ive has surfaced, my gut is leaning toward no. If you're up for wanting to believe this account is real, you can find him here (for now). If it's found to be false, I'd bet Google zaps it shortly.

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