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Google+ To Allow User Nicknames

In a surprising move, Google has changed their policy—Google+ users will now be allowed to sign up for Google+ using nicknames and other pseudonyms.

This past summer, Google took some flak for denying users who used fake names or nicknames on Google+.

Members of the tech community, who see Google+ as a viable alternative to Facebook, criticized Google for not allowing the use of pseudonyms and nicknames on the social networking site.

Many argued that some people are better known on the internet by their assumed names, similar to an actor’s stage name.

They also noted that people who used social media as part of social movements, such as recent movements in Iran and Egypt, need to be able to conceal their identity for safety reasons.

“Today we’re pleased to be launching features that will address and remedy the majority  of these issues,” Bradley Horowitz, a vice president for product development at Google wrote Tuesday.

Starting this week, users will be able to add a nickname alongside their real name. For example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be an acceptable name to register on Google+.

Google+ users will also be able to change their actual name to an assumed one. For example, Madonna.

Google will still have ultimate control over the nicknames and pseudonyms used. If Google flags a name as inappropriate, users will be able to appeal and provide documentation.

Acceptable forms of proof can range a driver’s license to appearances in media to proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following, such as a blog or Twitter account.

Only a tiny percentage of Google+ users have issues with the names they submit—only about 0.1% submit name appeals. Of those, about 60 % simple want to add a nickname and 20% are businesses who tried to set up an account as an individual.