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Google revises Google+ naming policy

After banning many Google+ accounts over the weekend that they assumed weren't using real names, Google offers an explanation and some work arounds. The latest and fastest growing social media network has a strict policy to use their first and last name for those who sign up. This has created an identity problem for many users who are often known by nicknames, maiden names or internet handles they've used for years to post on various forums or blogs. It's also a headache for those whose real names often contain commonly offensive words. Those that have tried to manipulate the First and Last name fields in the sign-up process to accommodate those alternate identities have found their Google+ account suspended.

Google's VP of Google+, Bradley Horowitz, announced that the policy is currently under review. In the meantime, Google will be giving offending Google+ accounts a warning first, before suspending. If the account is suspended, it only applies to Google+ and not all Google products (i.e. Gmail, Google Docs, etc.) These new rules only apply to people who have made the mistake of trying to use nicknames when signing up for the service. Those who are using the naming process to spam or abuse the service will be treated more harshly.

Horowitz goes on to present some ways users can use nicknames so that others may find their Google+ account. You can add nicknames to the "Other names" section of your Google+ profile. To do this, click on the Profile icon at the top of your Google+ page. Then click the blue Edit Profile button to the right of your name. Scroll to the bottom to find the "Other names" section. Right below that you will see the option to allow your Google profile to be visible via search. Be sure to enable that so others can find you via the nickname you are entering.

The bigger question is if Google's stance on using you real name for Google+ is necessary. Google claims that insisting on real names makes it easier for others to find you and stops people from registering with offensive names or names meant to harass others. On the other hand, your real name may not be how you are primarily known so registering with it defeats the purpose for those users.

Source: Zdnet