Google+ Relaxes Real Name Policy, Still Prefers 'Frank Ricard' Over 'Frank the Tank'

Paul Lilly

Not everyone is keen on using their real name for a Google+ account. It's a deal killer for some, and even though Google's social playground is now home to more than 90 million users, it's willing to compromise with users by adding support for alternate names, so you can be called The Round Mound of Rebound instead of Charles Barkley, if that's what you really want.

Google's VP of product, Bradley Horowitz, announced the ongoing policy change in a Google+ post. As he explains it, "the vast majority of users sail through our signup process -- in fact, only about 0.1 percent submit name appeals." Of those that do, most fall into one of three categories:

  1. About 60 percent of these users want to add nicknames
  2. Around 20 percent of appeals are businesses inadvertently trying to set up their page as a Profile
  3. The remaining 20 percent want to use a pseudonym or another unconventional name

Google will roll out support for alternate names over the next week, which will allow you to tag your account with nicknames, maiden names, or names in another script. Your alternate name will show up on your Google+ profile and in hovercards that appear over your name. So, you can use a pseudonym/nickname, but it won't replace your real name or hide your identity.

If you want to add a nickname, click on Edit Profile, select your name, and click on More Options. Google gives you control over how your nickname appears, but once you make the name change, you can't make another for three months.

More details on Google+'s Names Policy can be found here .

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