INTERNET GIANT Google has stopped insisting that people use their real names on its social networking service Google+.
Google+ has been around for almost four years, but launched with restrictions. Most obvious of these was the real name policy that required people, rather obviously, to use their real names. That did not please everyone, since it is unlikely to appeal to people who want to remain relatively anonymous on an online social network.
Things are changing now, though, and have been for some time, according to a post from Google to Google+
"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," Google said.
"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."
Google acknowledged that this is something that people have requested for some time. It didn't say so, but the relaxation of naming rules could also lead to something of a spike in user numbers, though of course, it might not.
"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," Google added.
"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. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is." µ