Google does a 180 and allows fake names on Google+

anonymous box

Google is no stranger to upsetting people, and it certainly managed to do this back when Google+ launched three years ago. The social network that finds itself the butt of many jokes has long been criticized for forcing users to reveal their real names. But this policy is no more.

As well as reversing the real name requirement, Google has also apologized for the restrictions that have been in place over the past three years. The change of heart was announced, of course, in a Google+ post, and has been welcomed by the + community.

The post sees Google admitting that its policies were restrictive. "When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names". It is, however, interesting to note that the post has been made by an unnamed Google employee. The irony is saccharine-sweet.

But the big news is that the name restrictions have now been lifted. "Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use".

The post concludes by apologizing for the change in policy taking so long to come. "We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be".

And just so you know that complaints you may level at Google do not go unheeded, the company thanks users for "expressing your opinions so passionately".

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