INTERNET SEARCH FIRM Google will improve the way it lets people create profiles on its social networking service Google+ following criticism about its practices.
The firm was criticised for shutting down accounts last week, apparently at random. It explained the account closings with the excuse that it wanted a common name policy to prevent people from using nicknames.
We cannot think of a single reason why a large advertising machine would want people to expose as much personal detail as is possible on the internet, but presumably whatever Google had in mind is suddenly less important to it.
On his own Google+ account, Google+ VP Bradley Horowitz said, not unreasonably, that several of the apparent violations of the common name policy were "well intentioned" or a mistake.
"For these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing," he said. "So we're currently making a number of improvements to this process - specifically regarding how we notify these users that they're not in compliance with Google+ policies and how we communicate the remedies available to them."
The notification is important since last time many people, including William Shatner, found themselves removed from the social network without so much as a goodbye.
Google, which we imagine is used to reacting swiftly to criticism, has created a web page to explain its policies, which sounds like a very fun stage on the way to social networking, but it is sticking firmly to its real name policy.
This means that users who violate its presumably altruistic policy about real names will be sent a message asking them to change their online moniker. µ