Google's identity problem

So I finally got my invitation from Google to establish a custom URL for my Google profile. Unfortunately, because "many people have the same name," they want me to add letters and/or numbers to what they pre-selected for me, +LarryAnderson.

This is exactly the problem I thought I would have, and it's idiotic. There's no reason that URLs based on common names shouldn't be first-come, first-served. Also, it's stupid that we can't choose an alternate URL--for me, perhaps +LawrenceAnderson or +LawrenceEAnderson, or even my old Twitter handle, +larand. Twitter, Plurk,,, and even bloody Facebook let me choose the username/URL of my preference, but Google is being difficult about it.

If you were a participant in Google's earlier, ill-fated experiment in social media, Google Buzz, perhaps you remember the kerfuffle over the way they handled it, matching your URL to your Gmail address. Then, when Google+ emerged, they insisted on people using real names only, which caused an additional uproar, forcing them to relent eventually.

Apparently, they have learned nothing.