Google just dropped their real name policy. So, starting now, this means that there are no restrictions on names you can use when signing up for services such as Google Plus and YouTube. As you might recall, Google+ had revised their real name policy back in 2012, saying that only .1 percent of users have submitted name appeals, and the majority (60%) of these users want to simply add nicknames. But now, they’ve changed all that. You can use any name you want.
Here’s part of the post and statement from Google that was just made regarding real names:
…Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use.
We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while. 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.
But that doesn’t change my personal recommendation: use your real name. People will ultimately trust you more as a result. I realize that there are extenuating circumstances that don’t allow certain people to use their real name online, like they want to participate online: but they don’t want certain people to know about them. I get that. Trust me, I totally get that, and that’s fine. In that case, why not adopt a “stage name” that is made up, doesn’t identify you, and maybe uses some other name. No one will really know, but if people have a sense that you’re a real person, then they will trust you more and tend to correspond with you more often on social media sites.
Google’s previous policy (still on their support page) recommended:
When you create or change your Google+ profile name, please keep these in mind:
— First and last name recommended: You need to add both a first and last name to your Google+ profile. Tip: You can use an initial for one of the names on your profile, but not both. For example, “Larry P.” but not “L.P.”–
Limited number of name changes: After you’ve created or edited your name, you may need to wait up to three months to change it again. It will depend on how recently you created your profile, and when you last changed your name.
— Nicknames optional: You can include a nickname along with your first and last name. For example, John “Moose” Davis or John Davis (Moose).
— No impersonation: Pretending to be someone else could cause your profile to be suspended.
They now have opened up the policy, and now have no restrictions at all, even on Google Plus, as to what names you can use.