Google Plus Ends 'Real Name' Policy After Three Years

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Google ended a long and unpopular policy Tuesday requiring a real name to register a Google+ account. In a blog post, the company explained the reason for the change. The original real-names-only policy "helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names." Smaller changes to the rule have been made over time, allowing "pages" to have any name, and letting YouTube users migrate their usernames there onto Google+. Meanwhile, users complained that it wasn't clear what names were allowed, why some were disallowed, and so on.

"Our original names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users," the blog post reads. "For this we apologize." Whether this will help bolster the struggling social network's numbers, or whether it's too little, too late, is anybody's guess.

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— Devin Coldewey, NBC News