Google+ adds support for pseudonyms -- sort of

Google+ members will be able to add nicknames and maiden names to their profiles, and will be able to use pseudonyms in some cases

Google has relaxed somewhat its strict real-names policy on Google+, by letting existing members attach an alternate moniker to their profile name and by letting new members sign up with just a pseudonym, provided it is an "established" identity online or offline.

Google is stopping short, however, of letting people use a brand-new pseudonym as their Google+ member name, although this real-names policy could be further revised in the future, the company said on Monday.

Until now, Google has required that Google+ members use their real, common name to identify themselves on the social networking site, a policy criticized by some who argue that users should have the option to use a pseudonym that masks their real identity for security reasons, as in the case of political dissidents or victims of spousal abuse.

Google will roll out the new feature over the next week, so that current Google+ members will be able to add a pseudonym or a maiden name to their account. If they choose to enter an alternate name, it will be added to their common, real name that's already registered with the account.

In the case of people who haven't set up a Google+ account, now they will be able to choose just a pseudonym for a name, as long as they have used it previously online, such as in a blog or in a social media account in services like Twitter and Flickr and generated a "meaningful following," the company said in a blog post.

Google will also accept "unconventional" names if the person submits as evidence that it's an established identity with samples of it from print media, or copies of official documentation, like a driver's license.

Google is confident this will resolve issues with most of the people who have been unhappy with the real-names policy, who are already a very small minority of Google+ users, the company said.

"The vast majority of users sail through our signup process -- in fact, only about 0.1% submit name appeals," wrote Google+ Product Vice President Bradley Horowitz in a blog post on Monday.

About 60 percent of "name appeals" have been from people who want to append a nickname to their real name, while another 20 percent want to use a pseudonym or "unconventional" name, he wrote. The rest are errant appeals from businesses, which already have a special type of profile that they can set up for their brands.

"Today we're pleased to be launching features that will address and remedy the majority of these issues. To be clear -- our work here isn't done, but I'm really pleased to be shipping a milestone on our journey," he said.

Thus, Monday's announcement will not resolve the real-names controversy in its entirety, because it doesn't allow for creating an account that uses as its name a new pseudonym the person hasn't used before online, but it adds flexibility to the original policy.

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?