As promised last fall, Google says it will soon begin allowing pseudonyms and alternate names on Google+.
Google+ VP Bradley Horowitz announced the changes this afternoon, explaining two primary changes to the company’s name policy:
- Google will begin “updating its policies and procedures” related to established pseudonyms (like Madonna). Google may flag a profile with a pseudonym, but the user will have an opportunity to provide evidence confirming that it’s an established pseudonym. This may include press/media mentions of the pseudonym, official documents or even “proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following.”
- Google will begin supporting alternate names such as nicknames, maiden names and names written in another language. When this happens, Google will show the nickname on the user’s Google+ profile and, as Horowitz explains, “we’ll be displaying it more broadly as part of your name in other areas of Google+ as well.”
Users will be able to modify their names by using the “Edit Profile” tool in Google+, then clicking on “more options” next to the account name, as shown here in this Google image:
Google has updated its official name policy to reflect these changes. Horowitz emphasizes that these new features will be rolling out to users over the next few days.
The real names/pseudonyms issue was one of the first controversies to hit Google+ after its launch last summer. Google originally insisted that all users employ real names in their profiles. Last August, less than two months after launch, Horowitz admitted that Google was taking a lot of heat over the name policy and said the company planned to allow anonymity inside Google+. In October, Google’s Vic Gundotra announced plans to eventually allow pseudonyms.