One of Google’s more unpopular policies has been its insistence that G+ users sign-up with their real names. After much pressure, Google relented a little and allowed ‘established’ pseudonyms, but as real names were still required for signup and could be easily established even when posting under the pseudonym, these hardly kept users happy, and led to the ridiculous situation were a transgender woman was outed in January this year.
Perhaps as a result of this incident in particular, Google yesterday reversed its policy, announcing in an official blog post that,
‘Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use… 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.’
Of course, many users have simply lied about their real names (often outrageously), but it is good that Google is taking a step in the right direction, and the move may be useful for those who use their Google+ accounts for professional reasons, and who cannot afford to run afoul of Google’s Terms of Service.