Here’s an alternative method for self-verification. For everyone you know, and know to be real through Hangouts or whatever means, mark them, through a checkbox or some-such in their profile (this is hypothetical) as “I verify this person as real”.

This would enable cross-verification through peer-exchange, not through some unilateral demand by a corporation to verify yourself based on some unknown criteria.

To explain the idea further: Let’s say I go to Ryan’s profile page and verify him, and some of his friends do the same. Ryan comes to my profile page (assuming he believes me to be a real person) and does the same for me. This goes on throughout our networks, with those who believe their network associates to be real verifying those associates. This builds a trusted network, through a peer review process, instead of a mandated system of providing personal data.

Someone I know on Google+ had this argument, and I believe that he makes a good point, so we need to find a way to keep the spam-bots out of the network, or at least to a minimum.

Here are his thoughts on the subject:

And spam-bots would happily cross-verify each other. It’s a good way for me to trust that +Ryan Schultz can strongly identify people I don’t know. But it’s not what Google wants. 

I think verification is a good idea — it just needs to be optional. And universal — Anyone want to take the bet that you won’t need to be in the US to be a Real Person™ for the first while?

My reply is the following (edited for brevity, clarity, and to remove irrelevant content):
Perhaps a form of built-in captcha combined with context sensitive image recognition? Combine that with a cryptographically strong ID string which requires some time to generate, similarly to bitcoin…

The idea behind the bitcoin-like key-string generation is to waste spammer’s time and processing power, and to generate a truly strong ID for each system/person.’

I think that this is an interesting subject. I welcome opinions and ideas.