Google Plus Drops Real-Name Policy

Google Plus recently dropped its name policy, which required users to use their real names.

When Google Plus first started over three years ago, they had a lot of restrictions on names — well, one restriction: You had to use your real name. As the company put it, the real-name policy was enforced so it could create a community of “real people.”

“This helped create a community made up of real people,” Google Plus said in a post. “But it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names. “

And now after growing and establishing its community, Google Plus seems ready to let in those anonymous, mask-clad users.

“There are no more restrictions on what name you can use.”

Google Plus had previously loosened the restrictions for those who use pseudonyms online back in 2012, according to Slate. People could use “established pseudonyms” and nicknames as long as they could prove their actual identity and show they had enough followers who knew them as this other name. This change came about as online personalities, such as Vahid Online and Skud, could not sign up and can’t join under their own names because of the potential consequences of doing so.

Finally, Google Plus heard them..

“We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while,” Google Plus said. “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.”

Google, in general, has been making strides in listening to its customers and even going out of its way to be ahead of the pack. The search engine giant has been at the forefront for saving Net Neutrality. It released a less-than-flattering diversity report. And they recently hired hackers to prevent another Heartbleed-like bug.

The real-name policy too puts them ahead of competitors like Facebook, who hold tight onto the policy and believe it influences users to act appropriately. Though, according to a couple of recent studies, this might be opposite of the truth.

Disqus, an online commenting platform, performed one of these studies. It looked at about 500 million comments by 60 million users for an informal analysis. Users under a pseudonym were found to write better comments than those who used their real names. Anonymous users, those who use neither their real name nor a pseudonym, had the worst comments.