Google+ ends long-standing real names policy

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google, google plus, real names

Google has recently reversed its policy of requiring users of their Google+ social network to use their real names. A post on Google+ says that while the policy "helped create a community made up of real people", it also kept out others who may have wanted to use it without disclosing their identity.

At the time of Google+'s launch, Google required that a real name was used on your profile, and the company suspended any accounts it thought violated the policy. Eventually the company relaxed the policy slightly to give YouTube users the option of displaying their username on their Google+ profile, as well as allowing "established pseudonyms".

While other social networks such as Facebook are generally used in conjunction with real names, their policies on using them haven't been as strict as Google's. This lead to people raising privacy concerns over forcing people to use their true identity on Google+, not to mention that the policy itself was, at times, confusing.

The change in the real names policy comes after Google+ creator and vice president, Vic Gundotra, departed the company in April. It was expected that Gundotra's departure would lead to a series of changes as Google shifts to seeing Google+ as a platform rather than a product, and killing the real names policy is just the start.

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