You can use a fake name on Google+ now

Google+ has dropped the requirement for users to go by their real names. Above, Vivek “Vic” Gundotra, then senior vice president of engineering for Google, speaks in San Francisco in 2013. He has since left the company.
(Laura A. Oda / Bay Area News Group)

Google’s social network Google+ loosened up a little bit Tuesday, announcing that it would no longer require users to go by their real names.

“There are no more restrictions on what name you can use,” Google+ said in a post. “We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while.”

The social network, which launched in 2011, used to flag names it found implausible and require the user to provide evidence. It began allowing pseudonyms and nicknames in January 2012. More recently, it began allowing YouTube user names.

Responding to a commenter’s concern that the latest loosening of restrictions would encourage trolling, Google+ Chief Architect Yonatan Zunger said: “One of the reasons this is safe to launch is that our troll-smashing department has gotten very good at their jobs.”


Zunger also said there was still a limit on how often a user can change his or her name, but it is now once every 90 days rather than three times every two years. Users cannot change their custom URLs at this time, he said.

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