YouTube has begun "encouraging" users with pop-up boxes asking those commenting on video uploads to do so using their real name, rather than their online handles. In addition to this, Google is offering the option to link accounts with Google+, a move many say is an attempt to reduce the degenerative comment spam many associate with the video upload service.

"Starting today we're giving you the ability to change how you appear on YouTube, with the option to use your Google+ profile on your YouTube channel. One Google-wide identity was something that proved popular with new YouTube users when we began offering it in March, so we are now extending it to existing users," said John Fisher, a software engineer for YouTube in a post on the official blog.

Google's video service has received its fair share of criticism for having some of the worst comments online, and the internet search giant has previously proven its distaste for members wishing to remain anonymous on its social networking site. It therefore comes as no real surprise that the internet firm's "secret weapon" is in fact as simple as making those reveal their names in a bid to make them think before commenting.

Users will notice the changes when they go to comment on an uploaded video, with a pop-up dialogue appearing, asking you to "start using your full name on YouTube." The window offers you a side-by-side view of how it looks currently, alongside how it would look if you adopted your real name.

While it is still possible to decline Google's request, you will be greeted by a second pop-up window asking if you are sure before proceeding to explain why you do not wish to use your name. Several options are available, including "my channel is for personal use, but I cannot use my real name," although there is no option to say you simply wish to remain anonymous.

"We realize that using your full name isn't for everyone. Maybe people know you by your YouTube username. Perhaps you don't want your name publicly associated with your channel. To continue using your YouTube username, just click "I don't want to use my full name" when you see the prompt," Fisher added.