Google is finally relenting on its absurd insistence that Google+ users use their real names. Relenting and apologizing.
The original intention behind the policy of real names was meant to cut down on trolling. After all, people are less likely to act like complete jerks if their online comments can lead back to them in real life. The policy, which started in 2011, was met with a lot of backlash from users. Many cited privacy concerns, as well as blasted Google for overstepping its bounds.
In 2012 Google relaxed the real name policy (the weensiest bit). It allowed users to use nicknames, but still made the real name available.
Here’s the full announcement post on Google’s Google+ page:
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.
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.
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. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.