Google+, the social service you probably aren’t using, has lifted a restriction that may have been keeping you away. The social layer of Google once required you to use a real name to associate yourself with the service. Over time, they peeled back that rigid requirement, and are now doing away with it completely.
Via their own service, Google+ is letting the world know they will no longer require that users log-in with a real name. Instead, anyone interested can use whatever name they like. Noting it led to some “unnecessarily difficult experiences”, Google has reversed course.
It’s hard to mention this without pointing toward Google+ founder and former chief Vic Gundotra, who spearheaded the transparency policy. After an abrupt departure, it seems there will be some widespread changes, to which Google adds they “hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be”.
Google is possibly reacting to ongoing security concerns, wherein they believe users will use anonymity to protect themselves rather than hide. It could also be from YouTube backlash, where commenters were forced away from the platform for using pseudonyms. More than likely, they just want people to actually use Google+.
Google may be right about people shielding themselves from overarching privacy issues that have been springing up, but that will probably be dwarfed by hate-speak commenting and heinous trolling. In closing their announcement, Google offered a thank you to outspoken proponents of the real-name policy “for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.”
We’ll see how that turns out.