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Last night, +Robert Scoble shared some information based on his conversation with +Vic Gundotra. That post ( went a long way toward clearing the air, and we want to thank many of you for your feedback and support. I wanted to also more directly address some of what we’re learning and how we’re reacting to the feedback. Note that this isn’t a comprehensive “last word” on the topic that touches on every issue. On the contrary, it’s just some transparency and insight into a dialog that I expect will continue for a long time.

(It’s worth noting that in general we’ve only been discussing upcoming changes to Google+ as they are being released. In this case, we felt it would be helpful to signal to concerned parties “what’s coming.” This immediately raises the question of “When?!” And the answer is as soon as possible. We’ve already improved our process, and the changes below should arrive in a matter of weeks.)

We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing. So we’re currently making a number of improvements to this process - specifically regarding how we notify these users that they’re not in compliance with Google+ policies and how we communicate the remedies available to them.

These include:

- Giving these users a warning and a chance to correct their name in advance of any suspension. (Of course whenever we review a profile, if we determine that the account is violating other policies like spam or abuse we’ll suspend the account immediately.)
- At time of this notice, a clear indication of how the user can edit their name to conform to our community standards (
- Better expectation setting as to next steps and timeframes for users that are engaged in this process.

Second, we’re looking at ways to improve the signup process to reduce the likelihood that users get themselves into a state that will later result in review.

Third, we’ve noticed that some people are using their profile name to show-off nicknames, maiden names and personal descriptions. While the profile name doesn’t accommodate this, we want to support your friends finding you by these alternate names and give you a prominent way of displaying this info in Google+. Here are two features in particular that facilitate this kind of self-expression:

- If you add nicknames, maiden names, etc. to the "Other names" portion of your G+ profile, those with permission to view those fields can search for you using that term. For example: some of my colleagues call me "elatable," a pseudonym I’ve used on many services, so I've added it to my list of other names.

- The "Employment," “Occupation” and “Education” fields in your profile can appear in your hovercard all across Google+ -- to those with permission to view them. This also helps other users find and identify you.

These and many more changes are coming. We’re flattered and appreciative of your support and interest. I assure you, teams of passionate individuals are pouring their talents and care into making this a great experience for you. Thank you again.

Finally, I wanted to debunk a few myths I’ve seen circulating.

MYTH: Google doesn’t care about ____. (businesses, teenagers, organizations, pseudonymous usage, disadvantaged populations, etc.)

We aspire to having great solutions for these (and many more) use cases. While this may appear as easy as the stroke of a policy pen (“Just let the businesses in!”), we think we can do better. We’re designing features for different use cases that we think will make a better product experience both for them and for everyone else. Please don’t misconstrue the product as it exists today (< 4 weeks since entering Field Trial) as the “end state.” We’re flattered that there’s so much passion and interest... and will continue to improve the product and innovate in ways that will hopefully surprise and delight.

MYTH: Not abiding by the Google+ common name policy can lead to wholesale suspension of one’s entire Google account.

When an account is suspended for violating the Google+ common name standards, access to Gmail or other products that don’t require a Google+ profile are not removed. Please help get the word out: if your Google+ Profile is suspended for not using a common name, you won't be able to use Google services that require a Google+ Profile, but you'll still be able to use Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Blogger, and so on. (Of course there are other Google-wide policies (e.g. egregious spamming, illegal activity, etc) that do apply to all Google products, and violations of these policies could in fact lead to a Google-wide suspension.)

We'll keep working to get better, and we appreciate the feedback-- and the passion --that Google+ has generated.

(Edited at 9:07pm PST on 7/25 to remove a reference to a screenshot I never had time to take, fix capitalization, and change "begs the question" to "raises the question" per comment below - bjh)
I talked with Google VP <span><span>+</span><a href=""…</span>
Marcus Wolschon's profile photoTekonke TM's profile photoAirhead Xargon's profile photoJoe Mcperson's profile photo
Aqeel Khan
+Bradley Horowitz Sorry but you're going to loose out people if the naming and suspension issue is not resolved ... Simple as that ...
Very cool that other names can be linked for search.
People in the internet forums are discussing this right now, hope you fix it soon!
Keep up the great work. Fake names have no place on this service.
Nice. Thanks for taking the time to write that +Bradley Horowitz . Posts like this from people in the know - as opposed to people guessing what's going on, will set g+ apart. It is still a work in progress with growing pains and people forget that sometimes. kudos to you and your crew.
The #1 key selling point that may just have Google+ become a dominant social network is Google's willingness to listen and work with the people.
No "feature" in the world can compete with that.
CJ Martin
That's wonderful, thank you. However, that would still require a real name to show in our profiles and allow other users to see that real name. Any way we can let our preferred name show up and G+ only see our real name?
It's an interesting predicament. Think about it: We users demand from Google utter transparency with regards to almost everything they do with this FREE platform that they provide for us; on the other hand, we users for some reason wish to play anonymity games when Google asks us -- for our end of the bargain -- to also be transparent and above board. This is almost a debate for an ethicist. Someone needs to construct a Platonic style dialogue, say between +Vic Gundotra and +Robert Scoble . Any philosophy majors out there??!??!?
I'd say it's a good thing G+ is still in limited beta right now. If G+ were already in full release, I don't know if it could survive the uproar.

But you still need to make sure that "common names" includes not just legal names but names people are known by on the Internet in place of their legal names. Because some people are simply not known by their legal names, so the legal name would therefore not be their "common name" in their case.

Just a little feedback. :)
Please don't turn Google plus into MySpace where people used pseudonyms. Google is doing the right thing by requiring people to use their real names
+Bradley Horowitz Mentioning the "Nickname" in the "Other Names" field still doesn't fix that e.g. people don't want to be found by their relatives, co-workers etc for a cause, stalking or alike, and therefore do not want to enter their family name, or at least not having it publicly visible.
+Bradley Horowitz Obrigada pelos esclarecimentos. Tenho a certeza que a equipe está buscando a melhor solução que resolva essas questões da melhor forma.
Meirav M.
The ability to add nicknames/maiden names etc is of no use to people who actually need to keep their identity secret for their own or their family's safety.
Thank you, in hopes of China special network situation relax policy, because we want to go over the network to blockade on G +, the majority of people is difficult to use real name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope everybody to help me + 1
I agree with +James Polley . Many people use pseudonyms and this can be for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is privacy and security. It's one thing for the consumer to require that Google, a public corporation, be transparent. It is quite another for them to require that my children list their full legal names.
Brad.....Kudus for the transparency and thoughtfulness to write this post. I hope the majority of folks that have had the privilege to be here in the first 4 weeks of G+'s existence realize that one, we are fortunate to be allowed in so early, two , this is big time work in progress, and three, you are going to do your best to listen, synthesize, iterate and improve. Just keep on keeping us in the loop. Much appreciated.
So we're basically discussing name-calling kindergarten style? Shouldn't Big G accept that if it wants users, they must treat the as adults until proven guilty so to speak?
I do appreciate the clarity, but wonder what constitutes a "real name" however, since Google's own people introduced +T- Pain today?
+Axel Kratel You're making a mistake if you think MySpace's problem was that it allowed pseudonyms.
john paul
Thanks for the update - but I think it's important to recognize how much damage has been done by not talking to users before suspending their accounts from the beginning. It's good that this has been corrected, but I think there are a lot of people who deserve apologies.

It's disheartening that so much of the discussion has taken place on a non-Googler's posts - where has Vic been this time? Posting about his new favorite music.
my experence was cold and full of no informtion feedback
Axel the idea that this policy will keep bad actors off this platform is absurd. It is not Google's job to maximize anyone's experience here, they provided us the tools to do that our selves. We need to take ownership of our space here, and let them focus on the logistics behind it.
I must be dumb as a rock. I read that entire thing and all I got out of it was common name used in daily life. What if every day you're in forums with a handle and working using your real name? I would assume that means I could use either.
This transparency is what I've always enjoyed about Google. Thank you for being open Google and for listening to your early adopters 
I appreciate the efforts you are making in communicating with us and with the changes you are putting in place. I would like you to consider the rest of the issues and address them as well. While I fully understand both the contract between user and service, and the idea of field trials, I believe that Google has been in business long enough and has so many examples around it of successful and non-successful social networks that the current discussion is almost redundant. I am deeply attached to this service already and would like to continue here, but the obstacles still remain to my feeling comfortable. While I am happy there are so many people who have the privilege of being able to use their "real" (whatever that term means) name online without any fear of repercussion, there are many many MANY who do not for a long list of very legitimate reasons. May we see something to address those concerns?
Frankly, I like that there is one social network (Google+), that prevents anonymous nonsense 24/7.
john paul
+Axel Kratel that's an appallingly narrow-minded position to take. There are plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons for someone to need, not just want, to use pseudonym. Count yourself, your friends and your family lucky that none seem to have come to mind - there are many less fortunate for whom pseudonyms are not a gimmick, but a matter of personal safety.
So, here's where I think Google is making a mistake with this whole mess. I think requiring real names is important, but I also recognize that some people will never join this service if they need to provide their real name in public because of security, privacy, fear of being stalked, etc.

My suggestion would be to make real names mandatory, but allow the option to display "fake" names to the public. Use circles as an advantage.

I think Google is making a serious mistake here. Facebook may say they don't allow real names, but I can point to hundreds of people who don't use their real name on there.

Please rethink this policy. I understand transparency is important, and I am ok with it, but for the sake of bringing users in who don't want to lose all their data if they use a fake name please rethink this. Something has to be done to allow people to use something other than their real name in public if they have a real concern about privacy (stalking, etc).
I suspect the comment limit on this post will be reached soon, so here's something I just posted (I apologize for the copy/paste in other words):

"Lady Gaga", "50 Cent", or some "Doc Popular" or another, are personal "brand names" not common names. By allowing some of these brand names on + instead of suspending their accounts, Google is adding to the confusion, everyone with a pseudonym is Lady Gaga now (in addition to being Mark Twain, and having started a couple of revolutions in the Arab World). Google should just force celebrities using aliases, to wait for business "pages" or use their real names like everyone else does. I know it's getting really really really tiresome, but have a look in the discussion here if you want [edit: it's a link to a post by Veronica Belmont]
Thank you, +Bradley Horowitz, for trying to explain what is being done now and what you hope to improve. I'll be honest - I find some of the answers... lacking... (Having a pseudo as part of our name is sometimes the best way for people to identify us while talking to us, for example, not just to find us.) But I'm hopeful that this debate will spur improvements to the process, the policy, and the technology.
Guys it's simple if you don't like the policy then you have 2 choices, try to change googles mind through constructive dialog, or stop using the service. If they feel this is the best way to run a social site, then guess what it is a site they created for people who can abide by the user terms. Granted maybe they were a bit hasty at the start, but they have gotten better. 
Am I the only one who sort of likes having a place where he doesn't have to have discussions with "Cpt. Peniz" and his like? I understand that some people don't want to be out in the open with their real names for good reasons, but there has to be a way to make this work for everyone.
john paul
+Michael McIntyre for people who need to use pseudonyms, "users for some reason wish to play anonymity games" is as offensive as it is ignorant.
I had a Profile long before G+. And (as I've documented) have been using some form of "Bernard (ben) Tremblay" for years before there was google. Or WWW for that matter. My point: practice (new) should be in-formed by practice (tradtitional).
Being bumped because of parens ... that's not just a glitch. Not when I see a google staffer with quotation marks around his middle name. (Are quotes ok? Then why was I informed of that instead of being told to remove that middle name? )

Adding to the confusion, the very nicely worded text in the Public Policy Blog which says, IIRC, "what friends and family call you in daily life".

More: perhaps if we had some sense of your actual operational requirements we could have worked with you ... instead of needing to lay siege to your citadel.

with (slightly tattered) respect

p.s. added this to list on my (newly renamed /*G*/)
"a dialog that I expect will continue for a long time"

I fear that G+ doesn't have that much time on this one. Contrary to Zuck and FB, Google cannot allow the world to place them on a different side of "don't be evil"... Google built their community, brand and almost all their products based on that "moto".

Google needs to remember that there's no way back on human perceptions at this level. Act quick Google, pleaseeeeee.
How about an option to display a chosen "Other" name with your real name shown in brackets next to it? For example Dyonas (Paul Reed).
thanks for the update. and clarification. Just wanted to point out that whilst there is a vocal group (be it a minority or a majority, know one knows), I for one prefer G+ to remain as real names, or what we have now at any rate, much cleaner,clearer and more professional. Let sparklepony23 and Ninja Warrior stay on Twitter, for all I care.
I see three pieces in this very promising post: (1) some quick and easy fixes are being done, um, quickly; (2) Google is trying to make whole folks who've been harmed, and that will take a bit longer in all likelihood; and (3) figuring out and putting in place a finished and sophisticated nym policy will take a while longer. Let's trust Google's good faith in all of this. And let's keep the (civil but energetic) pressure on (as if we could call it off!).
Paul - "Real" names ... sounds fine and simple, in isolation from that stuff we call humanity.
+john paul -- well If you absolutely need to use pseudonyms, then petition, perhaps, for special dispensation. I mean, jeesh........are you like a Pope or something?!??! But these people getting in a snit is a little ridiculous. It's this royal sense of entitlement that is really getting annoying in our society, in my opinion, and is an attribute that, as it becomes more pervasive, is really going to screw up our culture, morality and all. But if you want to sit there and anonymously imply that people are ignorant -- cuddled in the confines of you nomme de guerre -- then go right ahead!
+Bill Noble I truly hope that is the correct interpretation here. People that don't want to be bothered with internet users who have always used handles already have Facebook which requires real names. I'm sure Zuck is watching all this and eager to take them back.
+Alfredo Abambres Just for the sake of an argument, let's assume it is not fixed or not fixed fast. What happens? People who feel they can't be here with their real name leave. However, people who don't like dealing with faked names, however good the reasons for those names, will prefer Google+ to other services. This social network gets a reputation for being "real" and "free of fakes". In which scenario do you think Google+ will end up with more users?
It's good to hear from people who work on it rather than a spokesperson. Sounds promising! Unrelated but relevant due to the amount of comments here.. I'm not a fan of scrolling down from the first post on the Android app. Make it function like the web view when you tap notifications please.
I really think there are a lot more people out there who wish to use anonymity as a cloak so they can be fast and loose on the internet, as opposed to those who genuinely need a pseudonym. There's a line there, and Google will, it seems, need to investigate how they interpret this line.
+Bernard ben Tremblay both Facebook and Linkedin seem to manage OK. There's this assumption that Google+ should belong to the part of the internet that offers sanctuary from 'real life', non-internet interactions, along with Twitter, discussion fora, Second Life,etc.

It doesn't have to be. Yes that means that it won't be an ideal place to plot the downfall of your corrupt government, or hide from stalkers/abusers, but not every site on the Internet has to be.
+Bradley Horowitz Please pay attention to the fact that, though accountability is being touted as a reason for this, most, if not all, of the trolling is being done by people using their real names. And please explain, in detail, what good it does someone to be able to conceal their sex if they are required to use their full name.

Lastly, while this is certainly Google's product that we are being allowed to use, it is still MY information and MY profile, and I would like to be able to control exactly how people find ME...and this includes by what name.
Personally, I'd just like to know wether I'm dealing with a person or a brand or pseudonym. Deception is the problem, not anonymity.
+Tejas Richard I have no idea without checking whether you are male or female,just from your name. Same for anyone called Sam, Jo, Robin, Alex or Chris.
It's good to see that a Monday morning makes a whole difference to the whole issue and it's closer to an equitable solution. The "Other Names" field always looked to be where this could be solved and I remember saying so two days ago on one of Robert Scoble's threads about it. It would always be a way to handle the pet names people wanted to use, and allow Google to still have the real names section covered. Perhaps being able to toggle the real name with the pet/pen name might be a way of further fine-tuning, but otherwise this is making it a lot better already.
Also, all of you people touting how nice it is to interact with "real people," what makes you even a tiny bit sure that this is at all the case? I could have a new google email addy in 5 minutes and a profile registered under the name of John Smith in another 5. THERE IS NO VERIFICATION OF ANYTHING!
+Bradley Horowitz Some questions that I still have:

1) Why did Google make this change in such a quiet manner? To my understanding, this is a requirement for Google Profiles, not just for Google+, that if you use a service that requires a Google Profile, you have to now have a real name. It wasn't this way before Google+. The change happened only afterward and wasn't, as best I can tell, publicized.

2) Why has Google killed the verification system that was in place before Google+ launched, and when will that return. It offered an easy way for anyone to quickly verify that they had a real account in different ways.

3) What are the best ways for people to prove their "common name" status. Unless +50 Cent has a government ID with that name, it's pretty clear that Google made the sensible decision to let him use his stage name, which he's commonly known by, here rather than a legal name. But if you're not as well known as him, asking for things like government IDs to prove your "common name" -- which you do allow -- seems difficult.

Thanks for the clarify on account suspensions. Still, people do seem to be reporting that after a suspension, they can't get into all or some of Google services. Seems like that's worth checking on further.
+Scot Stevenson in this limited scenario (without further variables) and for a short-term perspective the "real" one will have more users.


1) Hotmail and Yahoo have more users than GMail, but who's winning?
2) Who builds the extensions and plugins the early adopters use and love? Where do you think they'll go next if Google looses its coolness and openness?
3) How do you know my real name is "Alfredo Abambres" and I'm not fake? How do you intend to solve this? Is it necessary to solve it? This is the real question.

extra) the real issue of not solving this quickly (and well) will be a media backslash - but on this issue you should know better than me what may be the consequences (if any), you're a Journalist, Blogger.
This is a lot of words that say nothing. People don't want the real name requirement. Period. Any amount of dancing around the issue is pointless.
+Michael McIntyre A Pope? Wow - funny and original. Some people's reasons for using a pseudonym are better than others, but failing to recognize this is ignorant. Recognizing it but trivializing it is offensive. I didn't imply that your comment fell into either category - I straight out called you on it. A respectful and informed consideration of the issues is what's needed, viz. your later comment at 2.23.

+Scot Stevenson If the goal is simply to accrue numbers, you have a point. Given Chee Chew's efforts to make hangouts accessible to people with hearing difficulties, to name but one example, Google seems determined to be as inclusive as possible; finding more constructive solutions than excluding everyone with a legitimate need for a pseudonym seems like a better approach.
+Paul Brocklehurst Google is not "every site on the Internet" is THE site and THE beacon from which everyone else sets its standards. Are you sure Google wants to loose that?
I am sympathetic to those who want pseudonyms to display publicly. Seems only reasonable. But I remain baffled by the argument I keep coming across that says, "Yeah, as if it's more like real life for people to be known by their real names. *snort*" What world are these people in? I don't know a soul in real life who is called "Awesome Sauce" or anything. Sure, there are such people (at least in the tech/entertainment world), but how weighty an argument is that really? Makes you sound like your only "real life" interactions take place in forums. 
+Bradley Horowitz Make it open, and you win. Build in restrictions that don't make sense or are just to your advantage and not equally to the users' advantage, somebody else will build a more open system where a user can better control their privacy. That's the Law of the Internet.
+Tejas Richard the names I gave were intentionally unisex. Of course that won't apply to all names. As for your point about fake 'real' names, e.g. calling myself Brock Paulson for example, I'd be quite happy with users using realistic names. This is of course subjective, to a degree. But I don't want people claiming "All 12 of my Twitter followers know me as DarthArthur11, so thats what I should be on Google+".

+Alfredo Abambres at this stage it is unclear which policy will give Google+ the most success. It is certainly not definite that anonymity/pseudoanonymity is the most popular way to go, or the most successful, just because some people campaigning (vigorously) for it. That's why I felt it important to state I prefer it the way it is now.
I don't understand this personal safety thing that keeps cropping up? The only part of your entire profile that is required to be public is your Real name. you picture and every other bit of information can be kept private. There is NOTHING at all that anyone seeing your real name on your profile can do? Let's look at an example. Witness Protection - I can sign up to Google+ using my real name, I can use the service as normal. I can setup my profile so that the personaly identifiable stuff can only be seen by friends and family (viewable only by the friends and family circles) - if you don't post anything publicly there is nothing for anyone who you haven't added to a circle to see. Hell you can even remove the ability to see who you have in your circles. Unless you add someone to your circles - they can see squat on your profile. So I don't understand why everyone is so obsessed with "safety". One could also argue though - if you are in witness protection or you wish to be anonymous for other reasons - being "on" the internet is the absolutely last thing you should be doing anyway.
+Kai Dracon, yep fair enough. There is a scale, and I'm using extreme examples. Conversely I'm not sure that everyone arguing so vociferously is doing so out of fear of being stalked/tracked/oppressed by their government.
I love all the people who are complaining about this issue. First question. Did you read the ToS before creating your account or did you just click agree without reading it. The ToS are the ToS. If you don't like it, go to Facebook and be all the fake names you want. Second Question. Why do you expect there to be rules but get pissed off and up in arms when Google applies those rules and it effects you. Every social media network, Twitter and Facebook included, has ToS. Google+ is just the first one to enforce them. Frankly, if people are going to close there accounts or not sign up because they have to use their real name, just do it already and shut up. Whine, whine, whine. Grow the hell up. My 2 year old acts more mature than you cry babies. If you don't want your personal information out there in the real world, maybe you shouldn't be using social media in the first place. Food for thought to every screaming, it's MY name, it's MY profile. Oh yeah? Well, it's GOOGLE's domain and GOOGLE's website. You can make the rules at your house and let Google make the rules at their house. Follow the rules or get out and let those of us who aren't whining over using our real names enjoy Google+ without the need to hand you a tissue while you cry because you can't use Zorg the Conqueror as your "real name."
+Steve Douglas Have you considered the possibility that, for some people, it IS their only significant social interaction? Regardless of how you feel about this possibility, it is a real one.
Thanks +Bradley Horowitz you and your Team have done a excellent job so far. Keep listening and people will will continue to love the product you've built.
+Michael Grosheim This is a BETA product. We are here to give our input on this product, and any issues with it we find. Obviously, some people find this topic to be an issue. Yet, you tell us that we should not give our feedback to google about this? In that case, what is the point of beta testing in the first place?
I think there's giving feedback, and there's "I'm not standing for this! Stupid Google, oppressing our freedom of expression (no really, I've seen this said) . I'm going to QUIT!!!!1!!"
[Comment that gets lost because it is amongst dozens of comments to a popular poster.]
[Comment that gets lost because it has nothing to do with what you were thinking concerning the issue, and so is irrelevant to you even if it is far more pertinent and accurate than what you were thinking.]
john paul
+Andrew Jones-McGuire If I know your friends, and can see their circles, I can see you. The only way to prevent this is only to have contact with people that know your history and your reasons for wanting to be kept anonymous. Even then, even people with the best hearts and intentions can make a mistake. Read M Monica's frankly courageous account of her history and try to put yourself in her shoes; would you rather have the security of a pseudonym or take your chances? I think your comment that "being 'on' the internet is absolutely the last thing you should be doing anyway" is dead wrong - aside from being a resource for help and support, why should people lose out on a part of, what is for everyone else, everyday life because of what was done to them?
I think the issue people have is they want some anonymity on the internet, right down to hiding their real name from some circles. Not being able to hide who you are means people just can't participate in that environment.

The anger Google is seeing is more because of Google's heavy-handed policies - your account just drops one day with no warning and no clear options to prevent it beforehand or recover it afterward. That's not how a normal negotiation works between 2 people.
Here's an option; if Google requires real names for say legal reasons, then at least give them the option of using their pseudonym publicly, but where only Google and the individual can see their real name.
+Bradley Horowitz It would also be very helpful if Google+ were more clear on the fact that this is a Field Trial... like having the phrase "Field Trial" in any other place than the welcome page.
+Tejas Richard I'm not saying don't give feedback. But there is a little button at the bottom right of your screen for that. I'm talking about the people bitching non-stop in posts about how unfair it is and how Google needs to change it or they are canceling their account. Not for nothing, a week later, they still have their account and are still bitching about it. If you have valuable input for Google, that is one thing and should be shared. But when someone goes on and on and on about how Google+ won't let them use BabyBlue4U as their real name, day after day after day, post after post after post, that isn't positive feedback. That's called whining and bitching. Stop making threats. If someone says they are going to close their account, do it. Stop with the empty threats. Otherwise, use the feedback form, speak your peace and move on.

There are staving children in this world. Homeless people who die in the streets every day. Women who are beaten to death by their husbands. Murders, rape, suffering. There are more important things in this world than whether or not someone can use a fake name on Google+. Are people's lives really that pathetic and childish that the use of their World of Warcraft name is more important than homelessness, hunger, disease and death? It's social media. Be social, be real or go home.
In my opinion, people who need pseudonyms shouldn't use a service that requires real/common names.

Using Google+ is not a right nor a necessity. I don't undestand this all "I want to use a service rejecting just the rules that I don't like.".
Steve Page
I AM getting angry at people who say please don't allow pseudonyms..why? Because your life is simple and perfect and no one is persecuting you? Well well done you!!! Didn't you just luck out in life!!! That is NOT the case for everyone, be compassionate, be understanding, STOP being so selfish for two minutes of your life!
+Michael Grosheim You also have a block button. Use it instead of trying to change what name I can use.

And your last comment loses all credibility in light of the fact that we are still FIELD TESTING a product! 99% of the crap that goes on here is of less importance than the things you mentioned. Should we also stop posting funny gifs because someone is starving? I am not trying to downplay humanitarian efforts here, but you are using faulty logic to try to prove a point.
Personally, I see this whole "safety and security" argument as something of a Red Herring. Someone who fears for their life or fears being found is hardly going to join a social network, post 100 pictures of themselves, invite all their friends to connect and discuss their personal lives online. Do you really think that after all that, using a fake name is going to keep your stalker from finding you?

I am sure Google is going to come to a reasonable solution to all this. In the meantime, threatening to jump ship should and probably will fall on deaf ears. I can see that most on the commenters have not participated in a Beta Test before. Try being cool, reasonable and detailed in the statement of the reasons for being dissatisfied with the software. It will get a much better reception than the whine and threat.
Minor, but significant point for the sake of English: "This immediately begs the question of “When?". You mean, it raises the question. Begging the question is a logical fallacy..
Oddly no answer over the concerns raised about compliance with EU Privacy laws?
john paul
+Enrico Altavilla That's why people are trying to persuade Google not to be a service that requires real names, or to find a creative solution. Note that the 'verification' procedure requires government-issued ID, so common names are a very gray area, to say the least :D

If you think Google+ ought to exclude victims of abuse, people living under oppressive regimes or anyone else with a legitimate need to use a pseudonym, well, that's a whole different thing...
Sounds like a reasonable policy.
+Paul Brocklehurst - Quite right. LinkedIn and FB seem to work fine. I had my account suspended in neither of them. Only here. What was your point? "Real names" is a simple notion so long as you don't think it through.

p.s. in my correspondence with Profile Support Team (which was light and conversational, if sometimes less than helpful) my EMail address is accompanied by "Bernard (ben) Tremblay", a valid and entirely appropriate convention.
If they wanted me to use quotes instead of parens they could have / should have said so, instead of "Remove (ben)".
I would have made that change ... and gladly. /me points to Brian "Fitz" Fitzpatrick w/o mention.
For those that don't like to click links, here is the first paragraph of the blog posting David linked to above:

"The freedom to be who you want to be…
Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 5:08 PM ET
Posted by Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering

Peter Steiner’s iconic “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” cartoon may have been drawn in jest--but his point was deadly serious, as recent events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown. In reality, as the web has developed--with users anywhere able to post a blog, share photos with friends and family or “broadcast” events they witness online--the issue of identity has become increasingly important.

So, we’ve been thinking about the different ways people choose to identify themselves (or not) when they’re using Google- in particular how identification can be helpful or even necessary for certain services, while optional or unnecessary for others. Attribution can be very important, but pseudonyms and anonymity are also an established part of many cultures - for good reason."
John Paul etc al - sorry this just doesn't cut it - the VERY FIRST thing someone in M Monica's situation should / would do would be to legally change their name - that puts a big first distance between them and the situation. If that was not enough of a deterrent then a restraining order would be the next step. I am not in the fortunate position to have never experienced hardship in my life as someone further up is wittering on about. I was abused as a child, I was almost killed, I was moved through 5 different foster families - I know my real mother is looking for me and I know one day she will turn up on my doorstep - that's something I have to deal with - my name has been changed she may know it, she may not - simply replying on "hiding" however is NOT a good idea - if the only way you deal with your problems is by hiding - you can be 100% sure than your problems will eventually find you - please people put yourself in that situation temporarily won't you? If you are petrified enough that someone will find you that you feel you need to sign up to a social network with a fake name don't you think hat every minute of every day you are going to be scared that something you wrote online might just lead to someone finding you? Don't you think that every minute of everyday you are going to scared that someone you spoke to online might not be quite as trustworthy as you thought they were? I HAVE BEEN THERE - I DO SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE. But I realised a long time ago - if I hide away - they have ruined my life (and I am only 29) - what right does my real mum have to take the rest of my life away from me? I have mild autism, I have hypochondria, I suffer debilitating panic attacks, it will be over my cold dead body that I let her take away my identity too! Besides which my identity now is a hyphenated surname which I am proud to show off because of my civil partnership to the man I love. Yes I am gay - I have to put up with some small minded people over that too. In short - if you sign up to be on social networks you need to take the rough with the smooth - and as I say the very first someone concerned about their identity for historical reasons should of done would be to change their name. I did - via adoption.
+David Violino I've been using that type of scenario for a few days now. If you have your name legally changed or have a legally registered alias, then that is your LEGAL alias, not a FAKE name. If you want to use a pen name or pseudonym on Google+ or any network for that matter, go down to your local court house and file to use that fictitious name as your own. You don't have to legally change your name, just legally register the alias. It's what musicians, actors, etc... do when they use their stage name instead of their real name. And, once you do that, you can get a TPIN and use that as your real name on bank accounts, credit cards, and your mortgage. But, until the day you have legally registered your alias, it is nothing more than a fake name. If you change your name to Zorg the Conqueror (which the courts will allow you to do) and Google shuts down your account, all you have to do is fax them the legal proof that it is your legally recognized name and they will reinstate your account. These are some very simple steps and some very simple rules. If someone doesn't take the time to legally register their alias, and take themselves seriously, then they don't have a right to complain.

And for anyone who wants to comment after this comment and say that you should be allowed to use whatever name you want and shouldn't have to register it, that is just more proof that the laws and rules apply to everyone else but not you. Google has created a rule and is enforcing it as they are allowed to by law. If you really want to use that fake name of yours, go down and register it as your legal alias and then stick it to Google.
Join the sit-in for Pseudonyms. Change your profile name to that of someone like Vic Gundotra, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, or Bradley Horowitz.
I personally have no desire to use a pseudonym, but many of my friends do, and with each one that leaves, this service becomes less useful. I've been giving it the benefit of the doubt because it's early on, but this isn't encouraging. From a technical standpoint, Google+ is head and shoulders above the alternatives, so I would like to be able to use it, but if this policy doesn't see drastic changes immediately, it will become virtually useless very quickly. A social network lives or dies by the diversity of its user base.

This policy, however well-intentioned it may have been, is unenforceable and impractical and utterly fails to accomplish its stated goals. It does, however, generate lots of false positives and alienate large portions of the users, and for what? All so that a few privileged users who wouldn't have had any interactions with the disenfranchised users in the first place can feel smug about the way they're keeping the riff-raff out.
+George Hilbert talk about a red herring! I too doubt that they'd post hundreds of pics and publicly post their address and daily schedule - what's at issue is whether they can feel safe in using the service at all, with whatever limitations their situation imposes, or whether they should be purposefully excluded because of their particular needs. Re: the "whine and threat" - couldn't agree more; the Googlers need to be persuaded that there are different ways of dealing with this and that there are good enough reasons to do so, and calm, considered feedback is the best way of doing it. They're a bunch of people trying to build a great product, not some sort of evil cloak-and-dagger cabal, and along the way they'll inevitably make some mistakes. Our job is to let them know when they do, and to work with them to find imaginative and workable ways to make it better.

+Tim McNamara I could kiss you on the mouth! Hearing that misapplied makes me twitch! :D
@john paul : I understand that persuasion is one of the possible solutions. Another one is to leave Google+ if its rules aren't compatible with our needs. I just don't like the idea that persuasion must be the only acceptable solution, as we had the right to impose something to Google.
I have no doubt that this whole issue was an overzealous house-cleaning issue (getting rid of spammers, squatters, and celeb impersonators, etc). However, this news has traveled fast. I have been lauding how freaking awesome G+ is to all my former Facebook friends and family (note the "former", as in, I and MANY people I know have already chosen to buy into G+ wholly. We have already put our entire social life on G+). Mistakes of this size are going to be VERY costly to G+ as this news has traveled fast and G+ is rapidly losing credibility among those I have been trying to convince to come here.

This cannot be a long discussion, this needs to be squashed NOW. G+ got to 20 million users in a few weeks because word travels FAST about a cool new service. And bad news travels TEN TIMES faster.

As far as what constitutes a "real" or "fake" name, I am having trouble connecting with most of my friends here, as I know tons of people ONLY by their screen name. People keep putting me in circles and it takes me several days to realize they are someone I know because I am not used to seeing their legal name. And then there is the question of, culturally, what constitutes a "real" name. In many traditions, it was customary for a man to choose a new name when he hits a certain cultural marker. Now, thanks to 20 something years of internet culture, I know many people who truly choose to identify themselves as their screen name, or gamer name, or handle. It is not simply a psuedonym, it is who they really are. In fact, while I was not born with this name, I have recently had my name legally changed as over the course of the last ten years, I have become Lazarus Xavier. I am Lazarus, and in fact there are dozens of very good friends of mine who only know this name, they would never know me by another name. Now, having changed it, my legal documents reflect this name, but I do not believe that it should be required for any person to go through the legal system just to be who they actually are (I chose the legal path, but I would never tell anyone else to do so)

What I'm trying to say is, what the heck is a real name? Google is going to have to accept that for thousands, if not millions of people my age (30), it is not whats on their DL.
+Brock Cusick You do realize there is a difference between using a pseudonym like Mark Twain or Robert X Cringley and using a fake name like BabyBlue69, right? Most people are complaining that they can't use the latter. The difference between Mark Twain, Tina Turner, etc... is that they legally registered the name as a pen name or fictitious name. I'm sorry, but Jane TheCouponClipper isn't a pseudonym and can't be compared to Mark Twain.
vic gundotra - that is a whole different kettle of fish - you are purposely presenting yourself as someone you are not - that is called "fraud" and is illegal.
This may be off topic, but you mentioned hovercards. I see people have hovercards with different information in them. I do not see how to set what goes in my hovercard. It appears to be blank right now. I tried googling the terms Google plus hovercard and got nothing about Google+ hovercards. I went to the gear icon and clicked on Google+ help and typed hovercard in the search field and it yielded nothing. Recommending people use hovercards and then not telling them how to set them feels futile at best.
Introduce "Verified Profiles" (something that can be done using a $1 Google Checkout transaction) for all users - not just celebrities.
Allow option to hide real names (based on context) and use a nickname as the Display Name
I'm sorry... I don't agree with Google's stance. Let's be clear: I'm fine with requiring a REAL NAME to sign up for G+. After all, I pay for my Android purchases using my Google Merchant account, which is connected to my credit card. Of course I need to provide my real name to be able to do that.

HOWEVER! To use a social network, some choose (or are required, for whatever reason), to appear under a PSEUDONYM ONLY.

As G+ is right now, our name is public, there is no way around that. On top of that, we are required to provide our REAL name, and it better comply with North American standards too OR ELSE. I really don't think it is right... people should be allowed to keep their real identity private and become known by a name of their own choosing.

If you'd only allow the NICK NAME to become PUBLIC, I think that is the solution to all problems.

Please reconsider, I beg you.
+Enrico Altavilla Given that this is a field test, Google have asked us to give them feedback, which is what users are doing. Beyond that, I'm not sure I follow what you're saying - are you suggesting that if you spot something that's broken, or at least that could be improved, it's better to ignore it than to do something about it?

It takes me back to my previous question - do you think Google ought to exclude the sort of people who have a legitimate need for pseudonyms?
" this whole issue was an overzealous house-cleaning issue (getting rid of spammers, squatters, and celeb impersonators, etc)"
I wish people would stop saying this. It's myth.

While others have middle name as nick in quotes, I was suspended for having mine in parens, and told to remove it completely.
Will you say I was the only one?

Spammers, squatters, celeb impersonators ... talk about selective attention!
Jay Blanc
+Michael Grosheim I don't think the law works the way you think it does in all jurisdictions? Laws about names are not universal even within the US, they can and do vary from state to state. Some, perhaps most, allow you to use what ever name you wish in transactions so long as the intent is not to defraud.
I know this solution has been mentioned elsewhere, but I mention it again, as it seems to me to be the simple, elegant, and least onerous. Require real names to register, then have a checkbox that says, in effect, "Use the 'Other Names' field to identify me on G+". Google has the real name, should that ever be necessary for some reason, people get to be called what people know them as (I'm GVDub, an incredibly transparent nickname, in most places on the web), and everybody can find their friends. The best part is that people who don't want to deal with 'non-real-name' types can simply not add them to their circles. Everybody's happy, problem solved, we all go home and eat pie (or cake, if preferred).
+Jay Blanc Outside of the United States, it doesn't work the same way. But the last time I checked, Google was a U.S. company, operating under U.S. laws. However, in your country, the UK, I believe it is called a Deed Poll. Most, not all, jurisdictions have a process in which you can legally register an assumed or fictitious name.
I just want to say "Thank you" for the great services and products. I'm a technical person that recognizes the great work being done by Google developers.

This level of engagement is simply extraordinary. I hope it stays this way.
+David Violino Do your homework before you ask questions like this. You live in the United States and numbers and symbols are not allowed in a legally recognized name, so the answer to your question is that BabyBlue69 could NOT be a legal name or legal alias.
+Michael Grosheim Again, I have to point out that you are making an incorrect assumption about US Law. State laws apply only within their own state, and can vary considerably from state to state. I do not understand there to be any unified Federal law on 'legal names'.

Also, Deed poll is only a court recognition of a primarily used name. Elton John doesn't have a court document identifying him under that name. I suggest that the state law you are citing is actually in the minority even in the US.
Gots to love the "think of the starving children" argument whe you're bitchin' about other people bitchin'! :-D

As for the kids? Let 'em eat +1's. . .
+Jay Blanc Actually, my assumption is not incorrect. While each state has the right to define their own standards, there is a little thing called reciprocity where states recognize the legal powers of other states and agree to those terms. It's like a driver's license, every state has different rules to obtain a license, but that license is valid in every state. Same goes for legal name changes. However, the Federal government has guidelines that each state must follow. For example, One may be employed, do business, and enter into other contracts, and sue and be sued under any name they choose at will (Lindon v. First National Bank 10 F. 894, Coppage v. Kansas 236 U.S. 1, In re McUlta 189 F. 250) and Such a change carries exactly the same legal weight as a court-decreed name change as long as it is not done with fraudulent intent (In re McUlta 189 F. 250, Christianson v. King County 196 F. 791, United States v. McKay 2 F.2d 257) - these are just two of the FEDERAL laws, NOT state laws. So, as I stated my assumption is not wrong and hopefully now you DO understand that there is a unified federal law (in the U.S.) regarding name changes.
If the rules say that you must use your real name, then obviously no one will use a fake name that sounds real.
Jay Blanc
+Michael Grosheim +David Violino After a quick check, there is no such thing as a federal "US Law" on name changes. But there is explicit federal court precedent that regardless of state laws,
* One may be employed, do business, and enter into other contracts, and sue and be sued under any name they choose at will (Lindon v. First National Bank 10 F. 894, Coppage v. Kansas 236 U.S. 1, In re McUlta 189 F. 250).
* Such a change carries exactly the same legal weight as a court-decreed name change as long as it is not done with fraudulent intent (In re McUlta 189 F. 250, Christianson v. King County 196 F. 791, United States v. McKay 2 F.2d 257).
Most states allow one to legally change one's name by usage with no paperwork. I can't find any indication that "court filing to recognise a pseudonym" is common across even a plurality of US states.
I have posted this a few times, but it can't hurt to post again. I would enjoy it if you could use your info card for your "other names" as well.
+Jay Blanc Another little fact you are wrong about is that Elton John had his name legally changed. He officially changed his name to Elton Hercules John in 1974.
@john paul : It's ok to try to persuade Google and it's ok to give feedback, asking for changes but not pretending them. Before I answer to your other question I need a clarification: by "legitimate need" do you mean "legitimate in real life" or "legitimated by Google's TOS"?
+Andrew Jones-McGuire I'm really sorry to hear of your previous situation, and I agree that legally changing names sounds like a sensible option. I'm also aware that many people don't, for a multitude of reasons, and that this is not the only legitimate reason someone might have for wishing to use a pseudonym. It just seems to me that the way Google has gone about this has not been as well-considered as it might have been, that this has caused people a lot of unnecessary upset, and I'm glad they're taking another look at this and seem to be responding to (what certainly seem to me at least to be) people's legitimate concerns. I have every confidence that Google will work hard to find a way to understand the wide range of needs different users might have, and to strike the best balance they can between identity and privacy, and there have been lots of innovative and interesting suggestions in this thread as to how they might do so.

In any case, congrats on the civil partnership! :)
+john paul, Yes, perhaps I was a little over the top, but my hyperbole was only for the purpose of illustration, not deception. I think people who are hiding out should think twice before posting anything online. The interconnectivity of the online community makes it very easy to find anyone with just scraps of info. I consider that a weak argument against Google's policy. I think the real issue here is not about real names, but rather whether famous and semi-famous people can put up what amounts to "fan" pages. I think Google is probably trying to shy away from rubber-stamp copies of FB features.
I sure think twice about what I post because it is all linked to me and not some anonymous version of me. I think it leads to more honest and appropriate content.
+Michael Grosheim Okay, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of Deed Poll. Elton John's name was not legally changed by Deed Poll in 1974. He had, at that point been going by that name, perfectly legally. Deed Poll is just a court order recognising that you use that name. It has no other legal force other than being an assurance that you're not impersonating someone else or attempting to defraud.
+David Violino Listen, my dumb quota is filled for today. Do you live in another country? If not, then why does it matter? Who said Google+ is only for the U.S.? The statement was about name changes, and since you live in the U.S. I figured you were talking about the use of that name as legally registered in the U.S. I didn't think you were talking about moving to Saudi Arabia and changing your name.
I'd go as far as saying Robert Scoble talks out of his ass most of the time. I've got him added on G+ - he's in a circle titled "assholes". He fits in there rather well with Michael Arrington.
+Jay Blanc I understand now. As I said, I am not sure what they call it in the UK, Deed Poll is what I thought it was, but I wasn't certain. Either way, your example was Elton John who is known legally as Sir Elton Hercules John not HotInMyPants44.
I tried to read your post 7 times but each time my stream know the rest..lets get that fixed. I don't want facebook any more.
+David Violino I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I call a spade a spade. If it's a dumb question I'm going to state that fact. If you take the time to read other comments on this post, you would see that +Jay Blanc and I are having a civilized conversation on our difference of opinions. I haven't called him dumb and he hasn't called me dumb, because we are talking about the logistics of name changes in different countries. He lives in the UK so US laws don't apply to him. Why would UK laws apply to you since you live in the U.S.?
Note. UK Laws do actually apply to Google UK PLC, the subsidiary that allows Google to operate as a communication services and advertising provider in Europe.
Marty Fouts
+Jay Blanc: Thanks for looking up the case law. I posted a similar message elsewhere but was too lazy to get the law.

+Bradly Horowitz: Jay's point is precisely the issue underlying the uproar. The TOS, as read by a "reasonable person" says 'use a name people know you by', not 'use a name of legal weight'. But even if it said the later, Jay's point still maintains, and, unless you can prove that someone you canned was using the name in an attempt to defraud, then you're kicking people who complied with your TOS.

If you're going to resolve this, you need to change the TOS. Figure out what you really mean. (I don't think Google actually knows yet.) Write it so a reasonable person will read it the way you meant it. Enforce it the way a erasonable person would read it.

WRT to the comment about "only for the US", the concept of 'real name' has similar weight in many non-us jurisdictions as well, including, I believe, the EU. Also, I believe that many of the people terminated are US citizens, so even if the comments don't apply uniformly, they apply to a large percentage of the cases.
This is a tricky point to understand. There is no legal recognition in law either in the US or the UK of someone having a 'real name'. There are identifiers used by institutions, starting with what ever was filled into your birth certificate. But that's not a 'real name', that's just a document. You might need a court order recognising you've changed your name to get a passport with your correct name, but it's not the court order that changed your name, it just told them to recognise that you changed your name.
+George Hilbert I think there's been a fair bit of hyperbole on all sides of this thread! :D I agree - and am sure - that people need to consider carefully with what and how they interact. I'm very interested to see how Google progress with this - some very interesting suggestions in this thread. Most of all I'm glad Google have dropped the big banstick as their first recourse!

Given the only people who still have, or have been given back, their pseudonyms are the famous or semi-famous, I don't think it's a fan-page thing - scoble's posts are littered with examples of very small-time users getting kicked, some even for just having an initial in place of a name. I'm hoping the fan-pages and business profiles get rolled out soon - I really want to see them!
There are some really interesting comments in favor of pseudonyms. Awhile ago, there was a discussion on the similarities of email and the stream - how to mash them together better. If one can alter the FROM field of an email header to reflect a name variation that a user is better known by and is an accepted behavior, shouldn't a similar user experience be expected from Google+, especially if the two are to be more closely integrated in some form?
Satyr Icon
[Dissidents, activists, and vulnerable people. IOW, SAFE Online Inclusivity]
There's also the serious side of demanding "real names". What happens if dissidents are caught, or reported to not be using their "real name"? Will Google+ disable their account, and close off that avenue of online political expression? Even if "real names" are hidden from everybody else but Google and the user, Google can still be hacked. As was occurring earlier on with Chinese dissidents, Middle Eastern activists, etc. etc. Where should Google+ draw the line? At only foreign dissidents being able to have false names, or can US/UK/Aus users also use pseudonyms? With only political activists and dissidents? Where do you register for that? :) It should also encompass people who want to keep their alter-ego online social activity separate from their work presence too.

[Abuse should be reported as abuse, not for creative names]
If somebody is abusing a pseudonym then that can be reported under abuse. No need to curtail the freedom of everybody when it can be addressed by reporting their actual behaviour.

[The Me2 Policy]
The rationalisation for real names on the links provided by +Bradley Horowitz is rather lame. Instead of giving the real reason, online behaviour commercial data marketing, they talk about being findable by your friends etc. If people want to be found, they will be found. No matter what pseudonym they're using. To follow FB's name policy is about as immature and childish as FB's founder.

[Bottom line for Google]
A person having a pseudonym does not mean they see Google ads any less. If allowing pseudonyms risks multiple accounts, then that means that person who mans those accounts is spending more time on Google+'s services, thereby available to view Google ads more. Pseudonyms means dedication, and time commitment by the pseudonym account holder. It does not automatically mean a waste of resources for the provider.
"Naming laws" and I need humility? Thanks for your input. As someone who was adopted and has had my name legally changed, not at a young age either, I was adopted later in life, I know what the process is for a legal name change and the legal requirements for an assumed name or alias.
What about people whose name doesn't fit your programmatic view of a common name? I have a one-word name. It's my legal name on my passport etc. It's not common, but I'm not the only one. Yet you require first and last name to be filled in. I cannot comply with your policy, because you won't let me.
Roger So
As I said elsewhere, this total lack of respect of other cultures, out of ignorance or otherwise, can be said as racist. Non-PC I know, but that's the way it is.
+Michael McIntyre There's a difference between anonymity and pseudonymity. Assuming that pseudonymity is only for nefarious purposes is a flawed assumption. I wanted to use my pseudonym because it is the way in which I'm best known. My actual name is ubiquitous and non-identifying. (Google me. FYI - I am not an Angelina Jolie character).
Lisa Rowe
+Lee Doren Requesting "real names" doesn't mean that's what they're getting. I know many here who are using real-sounding names, but they are pseudonyms. Also, real names don't prevent bad behavior. And pseudonyms can be life- and career-saving.

Other issues: How about an author who goes by a pseudonym? If they use their "real name", no one will recognize them. We've already seen how celebs can use stage names.
Lisa Rowe
+Michael Grosheim I read, and still find the TOS to be ambiguous and lacking in clarity. From the link used above, there's a link to the "User Conduct and Content Policy" ( which includes this: "To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you"

I am more often called by my nickname than my real name and have been for 15+ years. Which is more identifiable?
+Lisa Rowe My argument has been and still is that there is a difference between someone who wants to use a nickname (for example if people call you Lee instead of Lisa) vs BabyCakes4U.

As ambiguous as it may seem, I think the key words are "usually call you." Are there really people out there that approach their friends, coworkers etc.. and address them as "Hey, Sweet Mama Four Seven Six Three Eight?"

My take on their UCCP is that a nickname is perfectly fine. So if people call you Lee, than Lee Rowe is perfectly fine to use. But if you want to use numbers and symbols or some random jumble of letters, is that what people really call you?
Can you provide some more transparency on why certain common name exceptions like 50 cent have been allowed?
Lisa Rowe
+Michael Grosheim While your example is intentionally humorous, yes, I have in fact been addressed as my username (txvoodoo) for years. Almost 15, in fact. In person, frequently, and in varied places across the country. Hell, I went to a funeral last year, and a friend introduced me to her mother as txvoodoo. It caused a double-take but only because she'd mentioned me before, and had a name for the face.

In fact, they often nickname my nickname - I get "Tex" and "Voodoo"!

Is that not more identifying that my incredibly-bland and ubiquitous Lisa Rowe? Hell, there are 3 of us in my family, and another Lisa Rowe in my town. When I go to my pharmacy, dentist, and vet, I have to say "Lisa Rowe, the one with the dachshund/the one with birthday ##/##/####/ etc". It'd probably be easier if they knew me as txvoodoo!

(And here's irony for ya - my mom - the person who gave me my name - is quite elderly and now calls me by her sister's name. Ah, life.)

The thing is, my life experience diverges from yours. I am mostly homebound, and 90% of my interaction with people, including clients and friends, is online. My online identity is neither transitory nor fallacious. I am not pretending to be anyone else.
Daniel Audy
I think it is pretty clear that these naming policies are being written by a bunch of white men. I seriously think that you need to get the perspectives of women who have been harassed or stalked online and use a pseudonym for protection and also take into account that what many people are known by in their day to day life often varies wildly and often doesn't clearly resemble a standard (european style) name.

For me personally it isn't going to directly interfere with my usage of google+ since I'm rather priveleged to not need to worry about such things and have a 'normal' name (even if it is shared with a fugitive murderer which occasionally gives me police troubles). However I know people who will not use a service that forces them to publicly share their real name or forces them to identify by a name that no one who knows them would recognize them by. The lack of these users will diminish the potential value of this service for me since the entire value of a social network is that it lets me communicate

Just off the top of my head here are a couple of the names (some legal, some colloquial) that people I know of use that would almost certainly get kicked
-Raven Black
-Mike Withoutahat
-Missy Thunderblanket
-Angel Soroyama

And some well known people who would not be known by their real names
-Lady Gaga
-Moon unit zappa
-Mister T

I recognize that you want accurate personal information because selling that is your real business and all these services are merely ways for you to acquire our personal details and habits - and I'm okay with that. Require that information to sign up but don't force people to disclose in order to participate on G+, allow people to selectively reveal that information to their circles if they choose.
The clarification is appreciated, but the policy still needs to be fixed. People don't want to link their pseudonyms to their legal names -- they want the opposite of that, in fact. Most of the time the reasons they want to do this are completely benign and personal: they don't want to be outed (as LGBT or as something else) to their coworkers/employers or family, they want to avoid stalkers or harassment, they want to make political statements without fear of offline reprisal. Insisting that all pseudonymous use must be abuse is simplistic and privileged. I have been a fan of Google products for many years and was really looking forward to participating in G+, but I don't think I'll be able to if this policy persists. Very disappointing.
The identity I make for myself isn't tied to some name and number in some government database. See my name over there? I don't use it in several communities I am a part of, I use a different name which is an inherent part of my identity there. It is technically a pseudonym, yes, but it is also is a perfectly cromulent name offline. It would be crazy if Google started verifying real names to that degree, but online it's really no different than whatever handle you want. Why should Google allow Fakename Smith, but not pseudoname314, if they both represent the same concept of an online identity? Does that guy on IRC that I talk to with only a handle not have an identity? We often have our online identities separate because we aren't tied down by our offline identity. There is a petition to Google about this issue, please sign it if you agree,
+Lisa Rowe First let me say that the way you AKA'd your name on your profile is a perfect example of using your real name and also using your nickname so people can find you easily. That said, I think your use of a nickname is exactly what Google is talking about. I think the only confusing part, would be the shorter versions, (Tex and Voodoo) because how many people are called Tex because their from Texas? Introducing yourself as Lisa but my friends call me Tex is something very common for a lot of people (obviously inserting their name). Friends and colleagues call me Grosh, mainly because they can't pronounce my last name properly. I frequently sign cards/letters "Grosh" to the people who know me, and people who are meeting me for the first time or aren't friends I introduce myself as Michael. But it really goes back to what people actually call you, in real life - not on the Internet. How would someone introduce themselves as Ha8#LOL*9? Maybe it's just me, but if someone came up to me and said "Hi, My name is John but people call me Zorg the Conqueror" I would quickly walk in the opposite direction. People need to draw a line in between fiction (online games, chat rooms, discussion boards) and reality.

In your case, you're using a nickname and a real name in your profile (currently) and playing by the rules. If Google kept it that way - requiring the use of real names and allowing nicknames in a separate field like they always have - what's the big deal in displaying both names? Many of the arguments for allowing fake names is 'I don't want people knowing my real name' or 'I want to keep that information private.' If those people don't want to be social, maybe they shouldn't be using social media. Another thought is that there is nothing that says you must use Google+. If people don't want to share their real name, they don't need to have a G+ account. The bottom line is that it is Google's decision and people can either play by the rules or move on. Send feedback and speak your peace and be done with it. I think what you have done is exactly what Google has outlined in their UCCP regardless of how vague it is.
+Bradley Horowitz I always put my mother's surname, sometimes I even remove my father's (in my artworks, book/magazine designs, etc.). My father left us, and my mother's side took care of us, it's my way of honoring them. Someday I can totally erase my father's name legitimately... This is really tough for you guys, a lot of scenarios on this name issue. I hope I won't be suspended for using 2 last names, my mother's is very important to my identity.
Lisa Rowe
+Michael Grosheim I'm now using it like that. I wasn't before, and they suspended me. Since I am (luckily) not someone who could be literally harmed by my identity (unless we're talking about people not being able to find me including clients), it was no skin off my nose.

Yes, usernames can sound funny. So can real names. Penn Gillette's daughter is named Moxie Crimefighter. I have a branch of my family surnamed "Incognito" because Ellis Island couldn't spell their real Italian name, and thought that sounded good. Growing up, I had a friend named "April Showers" because her dad had a twisted sense of humor.

There are many "foreign" (non-euro-based) names which sound hilarious or strange to Euro-rooted ears, but are 100% valid. The unintentional hilarity or ridiculousness of a name isn't a good yardstick which we can use to determine validity.

As for not being able to use G+ - if I'm not breaking the rules (other than the naming rule which is still under development/consideration), why not? It's where the techies are now. Not being here would impact me negatively.

Let's look at another thing here - that all people using real-sounding names may not actually be using real names. There's no validation process for most users. I could have called myself Jane Smith, and wouldn't have been challenged. Yet that would be more a lie than my txvoodoo!

I highly support a process whereby we can set up our google profiles using real names, and then choose to be publicly identified using a pseudonym. Google would have the verification, accountability and uniqueness it desires, and we could have the protection and (for lack of a better phrase) personal brand that we desire.
i think +Dirk Harms-Merbitz is onto something. allowing pseudonyms/nick/stage/brand names, but then also clearly labeling them as such (using a special icon or something) seems like the most sensible solution so far.
I read through some really good ideas. Use circles to everyone's advantage even Google authentication dept. by allowing us to have our legal name and nickname if we want and then choose visability settings so some circles can see both, or either one. Yahoo! Instant Messenger has a nice feature where I can IM as one name to someone and IM to another name to someone else so I use my game name to my gaming friends and real name to say a colleague but I'm still me. This way when we post, we can choose between using a nickname to post with or using our real name.

I have also used the links on my profile to my advantage to show my verification and only certain people are allowed to see it so that I can still keep it private from the public and still satiate Google policy as well. Also the phone # verification would be good either work/home/cell or address verification and employment verification too.
Another large group who should not be using their "real name" are children aged 13-17. Google has stated that group will be allowed in once this service is out of beta. Does anyone think it is a good idea for those children to be revealing themselves that much online?
Lisa Rowe
+Ryan Novosielski That's a disingenuous argument. Access and participation to the internet is becoming more and more necessary to modern life. Suggesting that people should go without it to remain safe is outdated.

It isn't malarkey that someone could be in danger if their real name was visible. Are you aware how many child abductions are perpetrated by non-custodial parents? If a person has been a victim of domestic abuse, pseudonymity is of vital importance.

I can't disagree with your statement that certain names, by their predominance, convey a level of anonymity. That is, in fact, my very problem. My name is one of those kinds of names. What this means is that it's actually quite difficult to find me using this name, even if I want to be found.
With a few words, and that's frightening: Google doesn't understand the internet.
Adam J
You should not be forced to put your real name. Do people not have the right to privacy at all? What if they had online stalkers searching for their real name? Or previous court cases where they needed to not have this information? Its a huge liability for google to force victims to put their real names....
Norv N.
It seems to me likely Google will not claim to enforce "real" names as in full legal names, rather, apparently, common names, as in names which appear to be well formed as a name of a person.
It's a bad policy. You and your users would be much better served if you simply placed an indication on the account for all to see that it was a nom de plume. And if you must, you could have the real name behind the scenes. There are many and legitimate reasons that people don't use their real names on the internet. I'm sure you're trying to get real names to solve the "LinkedIn" issue when selling to advertisers. Don't do it this way.
Speaking personally, I have an professional persona which uses my real name, but I also have an online-only, personal persona that uses a pseudonym. For years this has been the way I keep everything separate. It would be very nice to be able to use both personas with different Google+ accounts. I have separate Google accounts for each.

If you Google one name, you will not get the other and vice versa. At least that is the case so far! Needless to say, this is the real name one. :)
Kerri R
I'm disappointed, to be honest. Google + has - or had - the chance to appeal to not only those who use Facebook but those who do not because of privacy concerns, and now Google + is just following in those same footsteps. If someone wants privacy and they're not harassing anyone and doing any harm, I don't see any reason to not allow them to use Google +. The rest of you who say that you see no need for pseudonyms have obviously never really dealt with privacy concerns or safety issues online.

Of course Google can do what it likes with its service, but the thing is, I already have a site that has circles, where most of my friends and family are, and I don't have to go through the bother of convincing them to come over. It's called Facebook - and people there aren't as worried they're going to be deleted out of nowhere.
In the United Kingdom, your name is whatever you say it is, and no paperwork is required in order to change your name or to establish what your name is. How does your policy accommodate UK law?
Great post. Keep up the work guys.
this is all nonsense. take for example the people who want to discuss politics and don't want to use their real names. this is a very common reason for ppl to use aliases. then there are the ppl who want to discuss religion and sex without using their real names. i could go on. google, stick with what you know, and don't make lame forays into the identity verification business. seriously. lame.
Facebook only accept real names and I don't see People complaining.

+Marcin Ciszewicz we have no desire to burn anyone at the stake we just wish to make G+ better for those people who are at the moment badly effected by the policy. The point of a beta is to get public feedback on the site, both how it operates technically and how it operates socially.

As to forcing people to come out of the closet just to use a web site. Given that even the level of discrimination (in some places government backed persecution) gays face such a direction strikes me as clueless.
Here's another place where this "real id" thing gets stuck on stupid:
Lets says someone gets married and changes their last name. Here in Iowa, a state that allows same sex marriages, there is a spot on the marriage license where you can change the last name for one or both spouses.. Usually, recently married folks don't go running off to the DOT to change the name on their driver's licenses. They wait until the license expires and get it changed then. So a happy newlywed that hops onto google+ and changes their name is now in violation of the TOS because they are not able to provide a photo id? STUPID
The people who are suffering here are people who are commonly known by a pseudonym - bloggers like technogran who had her account suspended without warning yesterday. She's a customer in the pub I work in, and people in meatspace know her as technogran, but Google didn't bother to find this out before suspending her. It sucks.
@ben. Not the way People are doing with Google.
+Marcin Ciszewicz The site is still beta, and as you can see policy too is developmental. Therefore, as a lawyer, don't you think it premature to say it's Googles policies, like it or lump it? People here are trying to influence the direction of policy development to be all inclusive, before the concrete starts to set.

Here's a suggestion for the Google techies for consideration. Can you make it such that we can reply to specific commentors? That is nesting comments? Though that may result in forks and trees, and you may prefer flat forum style comments. Maybe it can be designed to be switchable by the reader to view either way. But it has to include some kind of linking.
I really don't feel google should be patrolling names except in regards to offensive language, anything else is inappropriate. Let the community set its own terms, don't be their arbiter.
+Mariana Musa +Marcin Ciszewicz There might be those who are already using fake names at Facebook, permitted or not (see the comments above). And there are those, like me, who never trusted Facebook enough, mainly because of their "Legal Name" policy. But we trusted Google to handle things better than FB, especially as their TOS once said "the name your friends address you with". Right now, many of us are reconsidering whether Google is worth this trust.

And I wonder if Google really just wants to draw those people who are already on FB -- or whether they also like to take the opportunity to win, in addition, those as customers who avoided FB so far. Meet FB? Or beat FB?
"Meirav Berale - The ability to add nicknames/maiden names etc is of no use to people who actually need to keep their identity secret for their own or their family's safety."

May I suggest avoiding social networking sites all together if you are on the run from the mafia....
Google+ common name policy might be well intended, but it ALSO might MISS the point of (the informal aspect of) Social networks.
For Google to cave on this issue is to willingly and knowingly risk the value of Google+. Networks and sites with pervasive anonymity generally have lower quality discourse. I'm not saying that reasons for anonymity aren't justified, I'm saying G+ will suffer when anonymity is abused. I think Google will have to relax their policy though, there seems to be better arguments for than against.
+Michael Grosheim claims that the fellow whose web site it is has "Love 22" as his legal name; according to Wikipedia he changed it from Lawrence Wagner to Love 22 in 1976. That would seem to be a counterexample to your claim.
Of ourse the pitfall with this discussion is that the people who've had their account removed cannot take part....
Also, Circles (aka mailing lists) begs the core of the "real names" question. Circles allows segregation of post broadcasting in G+. Why is it disallowed to segregate "real life" and "online"? Pseudonyms are time-honored ways to create "Circles" between the two.
I can see no way for a policy around "common" names to be other than arbitrary and potentially discriminatory. Why not save time and back away from a bad decision now?
So what will happen to "Lady Gaga" 's profile? A warning and then she need to change her name to Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta?
Can I make a suggestion? I dunno if it's one you've had - it's probably obvious enough that a billion people have said it already, but just in case...

You rightly observe that you have the 'AKA' field equivalent for other names, and people can search by that. As a comparatively quick fix, why not put in place a system whereby you can checkbox/whatever your 'display' name, which can be any of your names. This would be the name at the top of your profile, and the name that would appear next to your comments and so on - the name you're known by.

Then your 'real name', the one you've set up the account as, could be a field that is still hard-wired to be public, but one that you can downgrade to be listed in a lower priority place in your profile - so any user is held accountable by having a 'real name' on their profile should anyone look, but they don't have to go by that name across the whole site.

Obviously some people still wouldn't be happy with this - and it wouldn't help those whose real names haven't been recognised by Google, but I'm quite sure that's an issue that you're already working on. But it seems to me as though with a pretty minor tweak to functionality it would satisfy Google's principles while fixing a lot of the more practical (if not, sadly, thornier and more emotional) issues surrounding the policy.
i prefer amazon/twitter approach - use "real name" or "verified person" label.
there are many reasons to maintain privacy and anonymity - even in democratic states, not only china and such.
Use any name you like. Google can't prove whether it's your real name or not so why are they bothering to pretend. This whole fiasco is absurd.
I like the "common name" policy currently in place, and feel that while some may opt to leave it, Google+ will gain many more people left on the sidelines of other message boards filled with trolls hiding behind masks.

That being said, I have been disappointed with the appeals process for blocks, and hope this will be made much more transparent going forward. I would also like to see much more robust people-searching tools. At present, it is very hard to uniquely identify people with common names. This would be a good place to use a person's nickname to differentiate themselves from others. i know that....
Hey Bradley-

So, bigger question: what is the point of the G+ "Common Names" policy?

A lot of these issues were discussed among the Reg Team at Yahoo!, when you and I both were still there and I was actively working on the Y! Network ID team. There does need to be a "Common Name" or "Legal Name" associated with all accounts, agreed- and it needs to be plainly visible, to bring safety through identity-transparency to the whole community. Does it need to be the primary, secondary, or even tertiary identity element visible to vistors of a user's profile, though? Does it even "need" to be on a user's hover-card?

To ensure the community integrity promise by requiring a presence of a legal name, I'd argue, no— and that taking the "mainstream legal-ez route" (that it appears Google is taking) infringes on a (growing) deep desire for personal expression that more users have, than I'm betting Google assumed at the outset of this fantastic project.

You used to be a hacker. You understand the hacker mentality of wanting to go by pseudonyms rather than our legal names. It's evolved to become a mainstream paradigm of sorts more recently, because of how other sites have required "user names" as the visible means of identity... and so non-hackers (such as myself) have adopted nicknames that we now prefer to go by in social networking communities of all kinds (offline an online). I'd much rather be "ninavizz" (all lowercase) on G+, than "Nina Alter." I don't even want "Nina Alter" on my hover-card, and I truly don't really know why since I'm not out to hide anything- I just don't want it there, it feels wrong. Just like not coloring my hair and having my hair be natural feels wrong. No "age issues" with the grey, it'd just be odd.

Then of course there's Burning Man, and street artists, and other offline communities where nicknames are the more prevalent choices for identity... and there needs to be an understanding by creators/authors of policy in online communities, that these "nicknames" are deeper in their meaning to the user, than "Brad" over "Bradley," or "Chuck" over "Charles."

It's good that there's a system in place so that my mom would be shown in G+ as "Julia Alter" and not as "Jul0923" which is her Y! assigned ID (and looks like a Content Strategy trainwreck in her Flickr greeting: "Guten Tag, Jul0923!" Just please consider adapting G+ to both have a good system in place for my mom to more appropriately present herself to the world, for anonymous hackers to be forced to have a proper name on their profile somewhere to bring legitimacy to their presence here, and then for dorks like me to chose to go by "ninavizz" in all expressible areas, but with my legal name shown somewhere on my profile, too.

If it's a SEO thing, c'mon... y'all are Google. Be smartypants with how the G+ codebase is written to ensure SEO happiness, and let the needs of personal expression and community vitality drive how identity policy is managed in G+.

Great work overall, tho. Hope you're well! :)
Very disappointed. This is a narrow-minded and paternalistic policy; I expected better from Google.
I'm not going to read through all 600+ comments to see if this issue has already been raised, so apologies if this is the case. In your post, you say that "those with permission to view those fields can search for you using that term." That seems pretty ridiculous. If your alias is only searchable by people who already have permission to view your profile, then that means that they have ALREADY found you. Making those fields searchable by those with appropriate permissions will do nothing to help friends find you that you have not already connected with.
This endless complaining and whining is driving me nuts. This must be what having small children is like. I think G+ is great. And getting better every day. If you find yourself getting impatient waiting for a "fix," just imagine you're waiting in a long line for the only clean water in a stinking refugee camp.
+Steve Mays my non sequitur detector is beeping very loudly. Kindly refrain from using non sequiturs in further discussion, please.
Sorry. It just blurted out of my keyboard. I'm going to my room now.
Good info. But it seems to not directly address a bigger concern.

You state :" When an account is suspended for violating the Google+ common name standards, access to Gmail or other products that don’t require a Google+ profile are not removed." But what about an account that is suspended for other G+ violations? Or how does an account (say, Picasa) getting suspended affect one's G+ (or other) Google services? If I accidently ended up posting an offensive picture (violation of G+ TOS) am I going to find my entire Google account gone (Gmail, et al)?

Basically, what I (and many people) want to know is: Does using G+ in any way EVER introduce the chance that access to my other Google services will be terminated? We're all a bit sacred about putting all of our eggs in one basket here...
+Bradley Horowitz Thanks for this, while I am sure that we'd all like more details, it's good to hear that this is moving in the right direction and your communication of this is reasonably timely. I like especially that you're committing to better notification and signup policies that will set better expectations. Some further related thoughts on citizenship in Content Nation at

Just a thought in passing, it's a great post, but given the length I think that it would have benefited from a title. Thanks again.
+Marcin Ciszewicz there's no way someone could be named like you, at least not in any civilized country. By the powers vested in me by the Polish Language Council I pronounce you a vile and subversive person using a pseudonym. So there. Show me your papers (and I won't believe them).
+Bradley Horowitz I think it would be a good compromise to give the users an "anonymize name" checkbox which changes the 2nd name to "H." instead of "Horowitz". So the users are a little more protected of stalking/spying out from others but anyway they can use their real name.
+Paul Brookhurst C'om QUIT if you want to do it.
If this policy continues, the people with good reasons for using pseudonyms will leave - making G+ a less vibrant community. The trolls that Google seems so worried about will just create fake common names. So how does this policy help the community?

We should judge people by their actions (comments/posts/etc) - not their name - real or not.
Disappointing. Voltaire and Molière would have been kicked from G+. Or should I say, François Marie Arouet and Jean-Baptiste Poquelin.
Brad, while this shows that you're listening, it doesn't really show that you're hearing what people are saying. The concern most folks have isn't over nicknames or business; it's over genuine safety concerns that you (the Google you, not necessarily you personally) seem to be ignoring out of a sense of privilege. There are a number of reasons why the real name policy is an utter barrier to many folks using Plus, and you can see a bunch of them here:
I would like to go on record as +1 for real names here. This is a currently a 'real person service' in my book and should remain one.

There is a distinction in my mind between 'Privacy' and 'Anonymity'.

The privacy features here already feel very rich. You can hide your profile, pictures, circle members, circles you join. If you are worried about privacy, invite only trusted people to your circles and post to them with reshare disabled.

If you want to post in the public space or comment on a public thread; here you do that as a real person not an anonymous internet voice.

The ability to shout in a public space anonymously and rotate accounts in order to continue to spam users is not privacy, it is anonymity.

If Google is working on allowing pseudonyms for users who are legally allowed to use them, great. I know they are already working on business-class accounts for companies and the bloggers out there.

If instead they are working on allowing anonymous accounts on Google+, I expect to see notifications like this soon enough: “P3nis Enlarg3mnt, Ch34p Via1agra, WinCa$h Ca$inoDotCom and 13 others have added you to their circles on Google+”

I sincerely hope we do not allow anonymous accounts here. When people say, “I want to post publicly in the public space without revealing my identity” you are talking about anonymity and not privacy. Anonymity opens up a whole host of legal and other issues unrelated to privacy.

I don't think you can separate business branding from vanity pseudonyms. You 'own' your own name without any infringement and you are free to use it here. I don't know 'Ryan IT Guy' or 'Rainyday Superstar' and have never followed them, but whoever they are, I don't know if they own the rights to these names legally, or if these are trademarked business names in a state.

If all my friends called me 'Tech Crunch' or the 'Tech Crunch of Ohio' I still couldn't post as these things any more than I could post as 'Bill Gates' or 'Costco Wholesale'. There is a field in you profile for nicknames which people are welcome to use, but I think the focus here is on tying an account to a single real person for personal use.

It really seems like people making a lot of noise where the real issue is about business pages vs. personal-use; a policy to cut down on spam and create accountability; and an attempt to keep away issues with trademark collisions. Again, that's just my opinion, but I really do not see what the deal is here.

When we see the launch of business pages, I imagine people are welcome to create appropriate pages and feeds for their 'online personas' which are not personal-use accounts. Until then, I really have trouble understanding why this is so problematic for people at present.
+Joshua Taranowski the trolls/spammers you are worried about will just create fake common names. This policy accomplishes nothing but excluding people that have a good reason for using a pseudonym.
+Zakarenz Smith Maybe, maybe not. Google already has an age validation feature that requires charging your credit card. I would certainly support allowing people to use pseudonyms on non-personal accounts, but require a credit card to authenicate users to a real entity and subject people who violate the ToS to a permanent ban on that card number in creating subsequent accounts to cut down on the trolls and spammers that will come if controls are not present. I am not against pseudonyms, but I am against anonymous accounts.
How about an optional real name/government ID verification process, with a badge a la twitter.

And a tickbox in your profile:

"Only allow verified people to add me to their circles"

Or you could go even further. Verify against any of these: government ID, twitter username, facebook profile, Second Life profile, WoW character, LinkedIn profile, Wordpress ID, Stack Overflow ID. And then add checkboxes saying "Only allow people verified in these services to add me to their circles."

That way you can discriminate upon real/fake people as you see fit.
+Joshua Taranowski If your real name was actually Bill Gates (as opposed to Microsoft's William Henry Gates III), how can you not expect to post as your name?

Name collisions is another issue that would probably be somewhat ameliorated by the use of nicknames or aliases or whatever you decide to call them. Which one of the myriads of John Smiths is my friend? Why, it's this one whose nickname is "Smithzonator". And I could probably search him as "John Smith Smithzonator" to find him quickly.
I was just on an educational thread where the concept of cyberbullying came up.

There are use cases where the ability to have more than one name or profile allows an individual to learn, express themselves or explore knowledge freely.

Think about political repression, medical conditions, sexual exploration, etc.
+Joshua Taranowski Why just "non-personal accounts"?? This is a personal account issue. Google has already said they will support businesses in the future.

Also, while I appreciate your comment about clearly offensive names, what makes a name like George Will better than CodeGeek? Either can belong to a real person, either can be abused and frankly the latter is more descriptive.
+Marcin Ciszewicz You don't need to convince me that you're a real person – while I don't think you aren't – I just don't think it's relevant at all, especially in the longer term. I wanted only to show you, that there's no way you could succesfully defend yourself against someone thinking you're not using your real name. Documents can be faked. Phone calls can be arranged. And you won't be able to verify most of the documents you'd be presented with. [And perhaps we should refrain from using a language which is foreign to most of the participants of this conversation, just as a courtesy. (Nonetheless, having a drink once might be a good idea.)]

+Joshua Taranowski The basic trouble with the 'real-names-only policy' is that it just can't work. People who want to use short-lived personas for any reason (e.g. for spamming) won't be stopped by it. As it has been pointed many times in this and other conversations, they will just create a set of throw-away accounts which will conform, superficially, with the naming rules that are imposed by G+. Easy come, easy go, they don't need to invest in long-living personas.

As far as I understand it, the goal of people who just want anonymity (or pseudonymity) is completely different; these people want to be active members of the community – so when there's working anti-abuse system with a set of clear rules and clearly defined appeal track, the risk of their misbehaviour is low. [Note, that G+ has already built-in most mechanisms limiting the damage from unwanted contacts (the 'Blocked' circle, there are also 3rd party extensions that remove or hide all comments authored by people in your 'Blocked' list).]

Another trouble related to the current policy (and I'm again rehashing arguments written here and in many other places many, many times) is that the policymakers and/or the people enforcing the policy will try to apply their own ideas on how a real name should look like; and when doing this, they will unnecessarily trample on people's sensitivities; this is a ready recipe for a disaster (and it happened already, see the example of Hong-Kong citizens who had their accounts blocked).

Again, as it has been pointed out many times, almost all preconceptions regarding the correctness of a person's name are just wrong. And Google's staff, no matter how well-trained, should not and cannot decide on what's right here.
Thank you Bradley, for some small clarification. It still doesn't remotely touch on the unfair application of the policy though--like that Vic gets to use a name that isn't his "real" name, or that celebrities seem exempt from the heavy-handed name-stick used to beat my friends and fellow Google fans who have loyally supported your products.
"- If you add nicknames, maiden names, etc. to the "Other names" portion of your G+ profile, those with permission to view those fields can search for you using that term. For example: some of my colleagues call me "elatable," a pseudonym I’ve used on many services, so I've added it to my list of other names."

Would it be possible to have Autonyms searchable only from certain groups - e.g. If I create a circle for a group of friends to whom I am known as Plumbik123 - only they would see or be able to search for me by this moniker, which I would set up when I set up a circle.
Good effort to be transparent, but utterly unhelpful for those who need to keep their "real" names private for any number of reasons. And the inconsistency of enforcing these policies is particularly annoying.
After reading that, reportedly, +Vic Gundotra likens people who use pseudonyms to uncouth people 'who try to enter a restaurant with no shirt', I feel that perhaps the decision making is more surprisingly out of touch with au courant society rather than sinister.

But that doesn't change the fact that the policy and how Google has behaved surrounding the issues has been a branding mistake of enormous proportions - one that will probably be used as an example of what not to do in business & marketing schools for decades.

I'm only saying this to be helpful: Its clear Google + has a lot of market share who really strongly want to like Google+. There is big goodwill capitol there. Don't make the mistake of assuming that a few loud complainers who like to impose rules and restrictions on others are actually significant in the data.

So far Google has significantly damaged its brand in the social networking space and more generally created high doubt about the sincerity of its 'we're open and do no evil' brand differentiators. The large surplus in goodwill capitol is being wasted like the Bush years destroyed our US economy.

If Google really thinks it can solve social ills that have plagued society throughout human history, then please think instead about innovative ways to address problems that occur in all human social networks - without the parts that trample the rights of the majority in order to probably unsuccessfully deter a small number of bad guys.

Isn't that general concern to do no evil why Google does not take part in censoring?
It's not google's place to decide what names people use. Where's the -1000 button?
(as a side note to all people who think that they know how a real name should look like: ask Sunshine Megatron about it.)
And what about artists that don't want so share their real names? They are forced to publish their real name or just don't create a G+ account and stay at Facebook. ;) At Facebook I'm allowed to fake my account. Millions are doing it and are using pseudoyms to describe themselves and their accounts are not suspended. But in Google+ that is impossible. People like you are the reason for groups fighting for Internet freedom, because you are slowly but surely trying to take it from us!
+Bradley Horowitz I understand your policy. However, I know some people who can't and won't abide by it. A close friend of mine was a victim of abuse and they hide their identity online in order to keep from being stalked by their abuser. As a result, I've not offered this person and invite, nor am I suggesting they sign up for this service. It's sad that there are no exceptions, but rules are rules.
it seems to be that the problem has not been clearly stated, yet.

on one side, you have the sensible arguments for "fake names" as noted here and elsewhere. on the other side (corporate), there is no clear reasoning given just yet for demanding real names — never mind that Google terms it as "common names" which is a can of worms with a radioactive can opener.

perhaps the way to make it clear is that social networks should discourage:
multiple accounts from a single person
ephemeral accounts/names

that's it. a lofty goal and a simplification of the problem without PR speak. so really, what they seek is one person to an identity — and forget the semantics of the name. if I want to be called "awesome sauce" then so be it, as long as there is single person attached to that through accountable means.

it would be a step backwards if social networks were more restrictive than Ellis Island.

the sense of trust and community is very important, and a sense of verifiability is good, more so to avoid the harmful accounts. it is not going to be perfect, just like our online "friends" never are.
Mike D
Without a change, G+ won't be free of fakes. It will be free of profiles whose names seem ok to google's AI. So Dinky McPenis will get suspended, but Dick Koch can go along just fine.
Thanks for the update +Bradley Horowitz - now please, please can you make sure that celebrities and bands either wait for branded pages or use their real names?

I am already getting circled by a bunch of bands I have no interest in, who are pushing to my incoming. I've reported a bunch, but no suspensions yet... in most cases these are not 'the celebrity' or band in question, they are run by a PR company whose sole aim is promote the person or the band further

On the subject of 'real names' I'd just say 'go by whatever first name your old teacher would call you if you ran into her in the mall'. People who claim 'stalking' as a reason for hiding behind a pseudonym have no real argument here - the woman who kidnapped me when I was a child is still online and still tries to contact me some 27 years later. By forcing real names, I don't have to worry about her - I'll block when she gets here, then I don't have to screen every pseudonym that appears. Good move, and thanks for the clarification.
Thank you for taking the time to write this. I'd like to add my voice in support of the idea of being able to hide your real name, and use your pseudonym. That way, Google keeps record of real names, and in the case of harassment of any sort, Google can take appropriate action.

Looking forward to seeing what comes next from this wonderful place :)
Wendy B
Thank you for the clarity, but goodness, this post was a very long time coming. I certainly hope this means there will be some consistency hence forth when dealing with profiles. Ideally, until a clear policy is reached, the ban hammer should never have been the first step regarding profile violations. That's just good PR, customer service and common sense.
Sorry for OT. But I didn't get notifications for comments added after mine like in other postings. How is this possible? Bug or feature?
This whole thing has really confused me, I do not see why people cannot register in their real names and then after on their profile they add nick names etc and then people choose exactly what bits of their profile they want to show to the general public and their different circles, whether it be their real name or not.

What I sort of mean is like having several different profiles within one. So they have a public Profile, A Business (work) profile that only their work circle friends see, when games are added, you could have a gamers profile for your gamers circle etc, perhaps limiting it to 3 or 4 profiles.
I value my life more than I value a G+ profile. If you insist that I use my real name, I'm out of here. I have been looking forward very much to using Google's social networking profile in the face of Facebook's flat-out refusal to allow users to control their privacy and how we share with each other. My anonymity is more than just precious to me. It is part of my survival.

You will lose others like me if you proceed to enforce a "real name" policy. Think long and hard about it.
Btw, just out of curiosity - how many of those calling for the use of real names are men?
+Marcin Ciszewicz Facebook policies are irrelevant here; the fact that some people are comfortable with using their names is irrelevant too. Think about it differently: some of us (me, for example) are privileged enough to not be afraid to use their own names. Not everyone shares that privilege with us.
I just want to say that, even though I still very strongly disagree with this policy, I'm very pleased to see how receptive the Google team has been to this conversation and how responsive they've been at least in handling the immediate issues surrounding this policy.
To me it seems reasonable for Google to require one's actual name to be stored in their Google+ profile, since this enables them to associate one's profile (or profiles) with their actual identity. Furthermore, if one's profile can be accessed for identification, personalizing content, etc. across the web, it may be reasonable to require one to verify their identity by providing legal documentation. But one's identity also includes their pseudonyms and nicknames, of which they may use multiple, so Google+ should allow these to be used and managed in a way that can reflect how one is identified by their circles and reflects how they wish to be identified online. I don't see a reason why Google+ couldn't be designed to accommodate all of these options.
+Marcin Ciszewicz perhaps some of them should. But the reality is that they won't. And – as they can be easily accomodated – they should be supported if possible (and it's certainly already possible). The way G+ is designed at the moment already gives tools to manage unwanted contacts and limits the potential spam issue to the Incoming queue.
"Join the sit-in for Pseudonyms. Change your profile name to that of someone like Vic Gundotra, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, or Bradley Horowitz."

People who can't distinguish a pseudonym from impersonation certainly aren't adding anything to this discussion.
I think this is very good for Google +, people do not have to hide under pseudonyms or aliases, if they do something wrong are they doing or want to do. That's the same problem with emails, why is there so much spam in other social networks like Facebook, MySpace, etc.
I don't want to use my real name on social sites, or forums and stuff like that. It's as simple as that.
The problem here I see is instead of Google listening to the user base and just letting people use pseudonyms as their display name, they are instead being stubborn asses and making sure that people do better to realize Google's naming policy.

Wake the fuck up Google. God forbid your advertisers shoveling your face full of money don't get to see the real names of the users.
Kerri R
The more I think about this, the more it irritates me. For all Google + knows my real name is Sarah Jane Smith and I'm 'faking' my ID here. The fact is, requiring 'real' names is not going to get you anywhere because it's still easy for people to create pseudonymous IDs. Nobody gains anything, and in fact Google+ stands to lose quite a lot in terms of bad publicity and the goodwill of their user base. I already know at least 10-20 people who are no longer going to use Google + because of this.

More-over, the dismissal of people's legitimate concerns is downright insulting, to be honest. Yes, people should protect themselves, but I will not accept that not using a service is what they should do in order to protect themselves. Pseudonyms ARE a way for a person to protect themselves. Not only that, but the assumption of bad faith on the part of those who want to use pseudonyms is also insulting.

This policy needs to be rethought, or have more flexibility. Let people hide their real names and have another appear. Listen to what your userbase is saying.
I do take exception to the implication that Krikket is a nickname. It isn't. It's my legal name. The sole reason (aside from time/cost) that I haven't submitted papers to remove my birth name from my identity is that because there are situations in life (like with the current mess) that not having a name that sounds like an average common name can cause problems.

For that reason, I for one, would take exception to having Google shove my proper name, Krikket, into a nickname category. I'm currently collecting a sheet of signatures to the statement, "I know the person who has the legal name 'Douglas Lyle Krick' as Krikket." This is to be notarized and kept on file as a legal document that people in real life know me as Krikket. While collecting signatures, more than one person asked, "Is that your legal name?" They didn't know it, because they were never told it.
It´s always nice to hear progress is in the planning but meanwhile people are in suspension, fill out that silly impersonal form and that´s the last they hear of it. Not even an acknowledgement by email or a case number so there is no way you can communicate about it.

In my case my second account uǝƃɾınɥ xɐɯ which I only used as display name, but is tied to an old gmail account with my name reverted is not only suspended. It became my default profile so everytime I change something I get switched to that account as it has the same name according to G+ as my non upside down name. So G+ is apparently completely capable of reading and using it, but not capable of solving it, nor at least make sure that both accounts are not constantly confused by G+.

To be clear my normal +Max Huijgen account is connected to a completely different email address so there is no need for confusion.

As I said nice that the future is brighter than today but meanwhile I and others suffer and nothing is done. At least get some people to review the forms and take action on them.
I find it ironic that the selling point of G+ is circles, allowing you to have various levels of privacy, and yet they feel the need to out you online to everyone with the "real name" BS.

Real names solve nothing. Anyone can register as Joe Smith and google would have no idea it wasn't the person's real name. People do this on Facebook all of the time. All you're doing is creating a world of not-real "real" people, which is even more confusing than just allowing pseudonyms.
What about professionals with pen or stage names? Do they have to use their birth names? If so then that is breaking the simplicity and sometimes the anonymity (for their own security and safety) that these professionals come to trust within their pen or stage name.
If you insist on Real name on the profile, at least allow for anonymity. i.e. by setting one of the other names as the public one.
Sadly, there are people in this world who need anonymity to survive.

Oh, and don't do what "the other social network" did, and assume that people with last names that match city names must be fake :)
+Michael McIntyre says: It's an interesting predicament. Think about it: We users demand from Google utter transparency with regards to almost everything they do with this FREE platform that they provide for us; on the other hand, we users for some reason wish to play anonymity games when Google asks us -- for our end of the bargain -- to also be transparent and above board. This is almost a debate for an ethicist. … These people getting in a snit is a little ridiculous. It's this royal sense of entitlement that is really getting annoying in our society, in my opinion, and is an attribute that, as it becomes more pervasive, is really going to screw up our culture, morality and all.

To which I say:

It's not a question of entitlement culture, it's a question of power. The same reasons that you (ought to) demand transparency in government while you (ought to) also recoil at the thought of that same government having open access to all your private affairs (and thus the power to make them public)---some of those same reasons apply here.

The social media context adds a slightly different wrinkle of course, as the whole point of "social" is to not be anonymous, and Google probably needs to have full access to all your activity on G+ in order to provide an effective service in the first place. The outcry is ultimately about to what degree users can be anonymous/pseudonymous with other members of the G+ community, even if their relationship with Google is not anonymous.

I would personally support it if Google would allow anonymous activity on G+ (i.e. not traceable back to a specific profile) and pseudonymous relationships between Google and the individual users, because I believe the system would evolve defenses against abuses of the former and I think that Google is equally capable of monetizing my eyeballs whether or not they know my real name and street address. I'm not expectant of either of these features coming to pass, but I'd settle for pseudonymous profiles (which don't require the user to publically specify their meatspace identity).

As for what's screwing up our culture (morality and all), I'd say it's mainly a lack of media literacy. As a 7th grade language arts teacher, I trust that's also high on your list? +Andrew Lewis (and here I assumed it was +Tim O'Reilly) reminds us [paraphrased] that: "If you're not paying for the product, then you are the product." We don't owe Google any special allegiance just because G+ is a free platform, in fact we owe it to ourselves to realize that Google's business is to continuously accumulate data of all sorts and to leverage that data (at least when it comes to you and me) into targeted advertising. They happen to provide the public with a large array of useful free-of-charge services as a means to achieve this, and that's a great thing in my opinion, even if I do have some minor qualms about the massive database they're building in the process (see for more on my qualms and why I set them aside).

I take comfort that it's not in Google's business interests to break trust with me, and I'm impressed by their continued efforts (even if not always successful) to conduct their business in alignment with their unofficial corporate motto: "Don't be evil." I don't see support for pseudonymous user profiles as anything but compatible with everything I've said here, so I expect that Google will finalize their policy to allow it (probably) before the official G+ roll-out. That makes the most sense to me, so much so that I don't even feel the need to demand the feature, and I certainly don't think those people calling for it are just acting out of a misplaced sense of entitlement. My own wife is someone for whom lack of pseudonymous profiles is a deal-breaker and that keeps her from signing on to G+.

I am heartened by the responses I've seen from the Google+ team about this and other user feedback so far, and confident that most of the serious wrinkles in G+ will be ironed out in time as both the platform and the use cases mature. Keep up the great work Googlers!
This is completely unacceptable for people from China mainland. How can we use our real names on G+? Is Google preparing to forget China and Chinese people? And even if we are using our 'real names', how can Google tell these names in Chinese are real names??
This whole thing is troubling and unacceptable. Please sort it out, or watch G+ die wholesale. I want it to succeed, but you're stamping all over very thin ice. Learn the lessons of the past please!
You should take a look's real name ID system. Show your close friends' your real name, nickname for others. How hard is that?

Google spends so much to make the whole "circle" idea and doesn't apply it to real name ? Why.....?!
??!...But...i like my nickname..... OK i'm really disappointed now. Facebook let me use my nickname!

I don't get it. Why do u want my real name?...can i fill that out in my profile info, if that's what u want....but i don't want to be "forced" to use my real name.
i was thinking, so let say +Soulja Boy Don Omar, Drake, 50cent, Beyonce..........have to use their real names. OH WAY right people know them for those "nicknames" and and AND they are I can't use my nickname because im NOT famous and because GOOGLE thinks i would be a troll for using it....
The crucial point here is what is the purpose of Google+. If it's social networking, then we want real names, or at least names that people can be generally, publicly identified with, with an element of personal accountability (for both the good stuff and the not so good). Without personal identification it's not social networking, it's social. If you need anonymity for something, make your own website on one of the free sites (or on a private server), or use LiveJournal, Wordpress, or Reddit to share what you need to share. There are plenty of places where sharing your story anonymously is not just allowed but encouraged. There also needs to be a place where people are encouraged to be honest about who they are, so that we can connect more fully with each other. Both options are valuable.
+Turil Cronburg Neither identification nor accountability need real names. The verification, ultimately, is being done by the people who add you (or not) to their circles – or, in worst case, you might be blocked.

The policy referenced here by +Bradley Horowitz (, called community standards, bite my shiny metal carapace) makes unwarranted and clearly wrong assumptions about how such real name should look like – and Google support is trying to enforce it.

Telling someone that no, we know better what your name is (or how it should look) and that you have to comply with it or else is, well, arrogant at all times (and that's mildly put).
Real names can be a variety of different things, not necessarily your birth name, of course, and it's impossible for anyone to say what is and isn't a "real name" but at least having the goal of only accepting names that are publicly identified with the individual using the account goes a long way to accountability.

Regardless of what name one chooses to use, what might be useful is if there was a way to add "reputation" to a name somehow. Some websites use a small credit card donation (to a non-profit) to validate an account/name. It might also be an option to have other people be able to have a vote of confidence for you. Allowing pseudonyms and "weird" legal names would then be the norm, but accounts with verified/socially-supported names would be given a special indication so that people who want to be open about who they are could be so designated.
+Turil Cronburg Yeah, but current policy does not recognize this, it imposes an artificial view of what constitutes a name (like the extremely stupid requirement that the name should use glyphs from only one script, which caused grief for Hong-Kong users).
How would Google's policy apply to each of the following names: Lord Voldemort, Axl Rose, Marilyn Monroe, Josef Stalin, Mark Twain? Let's assume, for the sake of argument, they were all used by the "actual" person they are associated with.
Bradley, Historically, last weekend people did lose their entire Google accounts when their Google+ accounts were disabled. This is not only well-documented but has been admitted as a bug by one Googler. Saying "We won't do this" isn't as persuasive as saying "Yipes, we made a mistake and we apologize."

The point is that Google has had a policy in place for four weeks that disproportionately disenfranchised people with non-Western names, people with longstanding colorful nicknames, and people who had reason to fear harassment. Not only has Google had this policy, but they have publicly defended that policy in ways that range from thoughtless to actually offensive. ("This service is not appropriate for people who have reason to fear real-life harassment.")

Saying "Well, this is only four weeks old" equates to "Well, anything dumb we said or did is deductible because we only did it for four weeks." No. This isn't a software glitch that takes time and effort to fix. This is a human-being glitch, where senior Googlers did and said stupid things that affected people's real lives -- if you don't call deleting a Gmail account without warning a real-life problem, then we differ. Saying "This is four weeks old" doesn't acknowledge responsibility or fault. As my favorite archy poem says,
hellsbells boss i know mankind is doing the best it can
but thats only an explanation its not an excuse.

I am a long-time Google proponent. I'm an ex-Googler (and argued against this policy back when it was a hypothetical two years ago.) I am disgusted. My friends -- many of them with pseudonyms of literally decades' duration -- are deleting their Google accounts, real-name Gmail as well as plus, and I can't say I blame them.

I'm going to spam you with my thoughts on why the implementation of the current pseudonym policy not only is stupid but doesn't come close to solving the problems it is supposed to solve.
I like the idea to allow searches on other names. But I want people who find me based on the other name to see only that name and not my legal name, and vice versa. My legal name is unique in search engines, so I do not reveal my legal name to anyone whom I wouldn't give my home address and employer name.
It isn't true that people haven't lost access to their entire google account. There seems to be a theory going around that it has to do with said people having their google accounts linked to their google apps account for their business (and enabling multiple signin).
Bradley - "MYTH: Not abiding by the Google+ common name policy can lead to wholesale suspension of one’s entire Google account."

Unfortunately, your claim that this is a myth appears to be factually incorrect, it's still happening.

An example, from :

Level 1
3:39 AM Hi, Sarah, Can you take a look at my gmail account? My google account has been disabled completely since 07/22/2011 because of the Google plus name issue, My name is composed of English first name and Pinyin last name. I am waiting for job offers, so I really need to get my account back as soon as possible. I tried the link customer services gave me, I filled the form many times, but no one replied until now.
My gmail account is lord[dot]of[dot]rush[@]gmail[dot]com"

If this is not supposed to be happening, then I assume you will be fixing all such locks as a matter of top priority.

If you can't do that, then I assume you will be withdrawing your claim that what is happening - people being locked out of their email because of the name on their profile - is not happening.

+Bradley Horowitz Why don't you implement a similar functionality as circles for profile management ?
As you understood it with circles, we don't want to share the same information with everybody. It is exactly the same for our identity : we don't want to interact with the same profile with everybody and everybody don't know us with the same identity.
Hence, a user must have a public profile with his real name and some mandatory information but he also can create other personalised profiles for social interaction on Google+ and choose which profile he wants to use with each person or circle ?
- Personalised profiles could have different name, profile pictures, description, etc.
- A user can be found out in Google search results thanks to its public real profile or thanks to personnalised profile and can interact with his community as he wants.
You can even imagine that users set a personalised profile for each circle or several circles (my nickname and a picture of me partying with my friend circle, my real name and other picture for my professional circle).
I'm now suddenly a lot more reluctant to use G+ - at least if my Facebook gets deleted, I don't lose access to my years-old email account and all the information, documents, and contacts contained therein...
I also don't find the "other names" a good solution. I don't think forcing me to associate my pseudonyms with my real name in a publically searchable database... is really in my best interests.
I am more widely known online by my pseudonym. What you are doing with this policy is actually not allowing people to find me - plus I also do not want my real name in a publicly searchable database. I am disappointed that you do not recognise the fact that many of your users have an online persona that they use all over the web and will also want to use this in Google+
Who is Google to determine what name I can and cannot be called by? In my country, it is perfectly legal to change your name simply by deciding to change it - there is no need to go through some ridiculous process.

An avoidance of impersonation may be desirable, but how do you tell who is the impersonator and who simply shares a name with someone else? I happen to know a couple of David Camerons, neither of them is the PM of the UK. Are they not legitimately entitled to be called David Cameron, or Daibhidh Cam-Sron if they so wish (no matter what their government says)? Indeed, are they not entitled to be known as John Smith if they want?

Identity is important and personal, and changes depending on the medium that an individual is using. It is the individual that should hold power over their identity, not some central authority, whether Google, or a government.
+Spencer Shepard So, if someone is a victim of stalking or domestic abuse they should be punished by not being allowed to use online forums that the rest of us take for granted. Nice.
+Bradley Horowitz +Robert Scoble +Gary Walker I think +Pin Up Bot says it all. It's not about google not knowing the name, it's about the name that is public.

For a variety of reasons, people use different names in different situations. The name on my passport is meaningless to people I've known for 20 years - as is the name on their passport. For work, I will use one name, but I will use another socially.

As +Jacob Coughlan said, there are also serious reasons why people may wish not to publish a 'real name' - someone may be finding solace from a social group as a victim of abuse, but unable to access that as their name is published.

Insisting on a 'real looking' name seems like a recipe for 'faked names'. A name is not a unique identifier, 'John Smith' is unlikely to be flagged by google as 'fake'.

Yes, it's right that google can identify individuals who have accounts with them (heck, my account with google must be over 8 years old - I'm pretty identifiable as a result) - however, it's not right that people should have to put things into the public domain to use the service.

My wife has two 'real' names, both are listed on her passport (she has a social name and a professional name, listed as an 'alias' on her passport).

People who have known her a long time know both. People who only know her professionally do not know her 'social' name. Similarly, people who don't have professional dealing with her only know the 'social' name. For these 'circles' at least one of the choices is inappropriate - and she wants to keep the two names separate.

My solution.
Allow an individual to put in several names... as many as they wish.

Then define which circles can see which names.


Name A -> visible to public (used by default)
Name B -> visible to circle 1
Name C -> visible to circle 1 and 2
Name D -> visible to circle 3

Someone in circle 1 sees name B first, then name C, then name A (in order of decreasing exclusivity)
Someone in circle 2 sees name C then name A
Someone in circle 3 sees name D then name A
Someone in circle 4 sees name A
Someone in circle 3 and 1 sees name B or D (smallest circle first) then name A.
Everyone else sees name A

The 'real name' of the person could be one of these names, or another totally. I'd have no problem at all with google chasing up where it doesn't think a 'real name' has been supplied - but where I have the problem is with the default publication of that name.
+Mark Burbidge I think if you read what I've said in other places carefully you'll find that I'm in complete agreement. I believe very strongly that what Google+ needs is a combination of strong identity validation and strong privacy controls. I think the overall design of the network implies that those things should be a part of it.

The idea of persona management that a lot of people are kicking around is one way to accomplish that, and might be the best way. I don't know. I feel certain there are plenty of people in the Social group at Google who can posit any number of technical solutions to the problem.

What I want is to have the option to validate my identity with the service. I'd very much like that. I think it has tremendous potential value for the network, for the users, for Google, and for Google's commercial partners. I am wholly supportive of that. I want Google+ plus to be as complete of a success as possible because I genuinely believe that it represents tremendous improvements over what else is out there.

What I don't want is for anyone, validated or not, to be required to use their real name on the service. I also don't want them to be required to use a name that "looks" real (whatever that actually means). The idea that there is a qualitative difference between my profile having the name "Mark Burbridge" or the name "Fuzzynuts McPiddlepot" on it when neither is my actual legal name is absurd. I'm genuinely surprised that someone at Google didn't recognize this for the painfully gray area it is before the service started the field test. If I don't have to use my actual name on my profile, the choice of what name I do use should be up to me. If I want to include my title in my name or weird characters or render it in unicode Chinese, that should be my choice. It shouldn't be subject to the kind of open-to-interpretation language that is in the current version of the Community Standards under "Display Name."

I am confident that the people at Google are listening to what's being discussed. I am confident that a change is coming. I am willing to give them the time to work out a solution that meets their needs and those of the community. If that weren't the case, I wouldn't have put my profile back in compliance with the ToS and had my account re-activated.
The idea of circles proves the understanding that a person relates in a different way towards different groups of people. But that does not work good enough because you have to first add all people in your circles before you are able to perform actions based on their circle membership. For example, you want to post a public post, that can be seen by much more people from a given group than you already have added to your circles and you don't want that public post to be visible to the others groups. Now you can't do that. I call the current Google+ circles "outer" circles or "incoming" circles. In order to do what I am saying, we need "inner" or "outgoing" circles. This means different identities within one account. This concept was first made by Yahoo Pager (later called Messenger) where you could have many identities under one account. You are still the same person behind all ID's and you are not impersonating anyone but you appear under different ID's, they can not be related to each other (even due to a software bug) and you can post publicly content intended to your different circles without the need to add them one by one to your circles. These ID's would be your "inner" or "outgoing" circles. Then probably you won't need "outer" or "incoming" circles at all although you can have both types. Now, in order to have this, you need many Google account and I suggest this feature to be added in one account.

This also raises the name requirements topic. Do you know that a person may be known in one group with one name and in other group with another name? It is still the same person but there are many reasons why the person may not want to be known with one name. One of the reasons - life is one and you may want to explore different ways of living within one life. There are other reasons as well including privacy reasons.

Do you know that in some countries it is not possible to change the name that SOMEONE ELSE gave to you when you were born. YOU CAN'T. NO WAY! You may not like it, it may be offensive etc. but you can't. Do you know that there are countries whose governments beat you to death or kill you because of your Internet publications if they reveal your real person? Do you want examples? Do you want to be a killer like facebook? Do you know that some government are criminal in their nature more than the criminality itself in other countries? Asking for a government ID is like asking a criminal structure for a proof of anything. The same governments that don't allow you to change your name! Well, it's facebook that do this but still I mention it.

I think that if someone is not impersonating another, they can choose whatever name they like. Even I think that impersonating is not a big problem given that everyone knows there are fake profiles everywhere. It could be a problem if someone is leaking your private data - name etc. that you don't want to be posted. This includes only your first or last name, not full name, in case it is somehow related to your person - this is already a problem in case you don't want your name to be posted on Internet and want to be anonymous.

The requirement to have two names is also inappropriate. Take a look at Twitter - there is only one field. How would Madonna or Rihanna put their names in two fields?
+Tim McNamara , I agree with you on the usage of "begging the question", but I fear we are in a losing battle. Latter day philosophers have been content to allow the term to fall into common usage. These days, the term is used more and more interchangeably with "raises the question". This has been to the point where most people, including the educated, have forgotten the origin and only remember the common usage. Explaining the logical fallacy does not help, since the common usage makes more sense to the non-philosopher than the "true meaning". We may be forced to give up on this one and pick our battles elsewhere.
Remember Buzz's privacy debacle? It was fixed immediately, but the damage to Google's reputation was done and Buzz failed before it even began. A bad first impression, especially about privacy, is fatal. Google needs to eliminate its "real name" policy before opening up Google+ or it will follow in Buzz' footsteps. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it!
I, personally, don't have a problem with using my real name. I usually have my real name easily available on my online profiles anyway. I would've loved to display the name I'm mostly known by online in my real name (so my displayed name would be Per Øyvind "Eqadromos" Nygård), instead of having it hidden deep in my profile somewhere, though, but from what I understand that's currently not allowed. But, as a lot of people have mentioned before me, there are people who for one reason or another either can't or don't want to show their real name, and with a policy like this you're effectively shutting these people out of the site. I know, and understand, why you have this policy, but there has to be another way "quality controlling" profiles.

You should also look at the reactions from Blizzards attempt to introduce displayed legal names as a requirement to post on their forums. Just a few days after announcing the change, they reverted completely because of the massive amounts of negative feedback and criticism. Now I know you can't really compare a game company's forum with a social network like this, but still. This is one of the things that will keep people from trying Google+, and just stay with Facebook instead.
It remains to be seen whether the ultimate outcome on this issue will be able to satisfy the many and varied viewpoints, but Google deserves thanks for engaging with its users in a way that's really unprecedented among large social networking sites. I've only seen this sort of responsiveness before in relatively tiny, "labor of love" sites - Dreamwidth and Ravelry, for example. With the big players, it's often impossible to even contact a human being; instead, one gets shunted off to "help forums" where users try to assist each other with no sign that anyone from the top is even listening.

The fact that an organization as large as Google is willing to not simply allow, but encourage its employees to take part in this kind of free-ranging, open-ended dialogue with its users is nothing short of remarkable. Thank you, all, for that.
I think it would be great to be able to hide one's real name from the public or blocked users and have a nickname displayed instead. Or to give access to one's real name only to certain circles. I don't mind using my real name to sign up for the profile, but I would like to be in control of who gets to see my name.
+Alex Schuster Yes, that's a great idea, if I had to I would want to at least be able to control which part of the whole user base gets to see it.
To me showing my last name hurts my privacy, like someone could search my whole name, and maybe find a newspaper article online that says my address. I don't want that.. well probably wouldn't happen, but still. And like other people I talk with have said that use this, their game or IRC nicks are so much more well known, that people think of those first, or they don't even know any of their real names, so it is easier to figure out who is who.
As an exercise in demonstrating the futility of requiring real names, to make this post I:
- Purchased second hand phone with SIM card for cash. Neither phone number nor IMEI number are linked to me.
- Purchased pre-pay credit for cash
- Went to park with notebook
- Booted Linux live-CD
- Connected to internet using Tor + mobile phone
- Created Google account with a fake name using SMS to phone to verify
- Requested G+ invite from a public forum
- Wrote this message
- If Google contact me requiring documentation, give me a few minutes in Photoshop and I'll fax them a convincing passport.

Nobody reading this thread knows or can find out who I am unless they have the resources of a government agency at their disposal. Maybe not even then, Google: give up. You cannot prevent anonymity on the internet. All you can do is force people to pretend to be middle-aged white American males. What a dull world we will all end up with.
I think that looking back over the comments above at the ones with +100 or more should be all the data Google needs to amend the "common name" policy. It's what the users want, by and large, and is the good, right, and compassionate thing to do. When the time comes to make the arguments at GHQ, this post by +Kee Hinckley has all of the arguments you'll ever need:

Just fix it already and let us move on to filling this network with great content and people. It doesn't take weeks of effort and coding to just stop enforcing a misguided policy. What it does take is the will to do the right thing and the humility to admit that this policy was a bad call in the first place.
My Christian name is James Lorance Williams, but I am not a christian. Online I am known as Dharma Galaxy. Even the people who know my given name know that I am really Dharma, and that Jim Williams is never online.

The very idea of a common name makes no sense as the given name is not necessarily the name used online. I have many friends in the Metaverse who simply will not use this system if they cannot use their online name rather than their given name. They have various reasons, but most simply are the person online with the name they've chosen. The other person with that so-called common name just isn't the person who is online.

Google really needs to come to grips with the fact that the outside world no longer rules. Who they say we are out there is not in any real sense who we are here online.

No essence. No permanence. No perfection.
By no means have i read all the comments, but i have read many about the use of pseudonyms on Google+. In all of those comments i have not seen one person mention the legal ramifications.

The opposite of letting people use their own chosen name, is that Google is somehow setting themselves up as an Identity Czar. As a Computer Consultant for many years, i can attest to the fact that, getting people to just sign their encryption keys in a trustworthy way is difficult enough. If Google says you are not John Smith, then is Google prepared to say who the "real" John Smith is? Will the next John Smith be forced to be JohnSmith2 or can he choose to be "Voldemort"?

I am indeed advocating a system of allowing any name, as long as the email address is validated. Does that mean that there will be multiple Bradley Horowitz's? Yes. Will we know the "real" Bradley Horowitz when we read his commentary? Just as much as we do today. I haven't checked, but the names don't appear to be that uncommon.

Unless Google is willing to set themselves up as an Identity Bureau, this is a futile, and possibly legal mess, that i would recommend to Google to avoid.
What I am doing is dangerous: I made my profile picture match my pseudonym accounts, visible to people who previously only know me by my psuedonym. And now I've exposed my real name to them. When I was a child I was prohibited from showing my real name online becaues of privacy issues, why is it different now? Why are other people's children being forced to show their names? Why does Google even care?
You know what else? Talking in a circle where everyone knows each other by their psuedonyms is incredibly difficult when everyone uses their real name instead. I don't know who's who! When they add me to a circle I don't know who they are either. Prohibiting psuedonyms is eliminating an entire circle from my friendship. Please, let people display different names to different circles. This isn't Facebook and I know Google+ wants to be a more public force than Facebook. Facebook is for people you only know closely, but public circles and the "following" feature makes G+ behave much more like twitter. I want my followers (who do not necessarily know me that well IRL) to find me. And they know my pseudonym, not my real name.
The whole 'circles' concept is incomplete without the capacity to attach a name of our choice (it may not have been our choice originally, but the name by which we are known in that circle) to the circle. We will all necessarily restrict our associations on G+ so long as we do not have fine-grained control over what personal information members of a given circle can access, including birth-names. It works the other way, too; there are associations we have on the basis of birth-names that we would prefer not have access to our e-space identities. Facebook is adequate and ample for people who cannot and do not understand the internet; I had some hope G+ was a social network for those who can and do.
The greatest thing to is just to tell google your real name and then choose how members of each one of your "circles" see your name (With the option to be different for each circle), and also how any members of the public see it.
Jeremy Hoag two posts up has the right idea. Being what some of my friends would call 'a complete privacy nutcase' my problem with social networking has three layers. In the first layer is that I can never let interest X be known to social circle Y or in all likelihood I'll have to end up choosing between the two. The most obvious (blatant, potent, and sadly not uncommon) example of this is homosexual X can never let family circle Y to know they're gay or else they have to choose between their orientation or their family.

The simple way to accomplish this is with the idea of identities. Attach my 'common' identity to the people that are in the family circle or know them in any way, and use a different identity with anyone that knows about ones homosexuality.

The second problem is directly caused by the solution of identities. If I need multiple identities I can never have all my friends in one place. My ones family would have one insert social networking tool here name, my friends another, people in a more private interest another. With only a handful of things that need to be kept secret social networking becomes an insane tangle of usernames and all but impossible to update.

The third problem is directly caused just by having identities. If anyone can be completely anonymous by having a fake identity, then anyone can troll, harass, stalk, or cause general mischief and havoc. I think it's safe to say that nobody wants that in a place that they actually want to be social.

This seems to be an impasse. There is no good solution. The best I can come up with is to expand the concept of circles.

Here's how I'd implement it. Have every G+ account be created with a common name, like you all are trying to do now. This deals with problem three exactly how you all seem to be intending to. Then add 'Identities' to the circles interface as a super-set of circles. Identities need to have their own profile page, and be completely separate from their core account, period. If, and this is a big if, these profiles are marked in any way as identities, which they really shouldn't be but could by some highly twisted logic be seen as a good idea by somebody who doesn't really think all that hard about privacy, they should be absolutely unable to be tied back to the core account by any method of searching. Identities also need to be completely integrated with the other parts of G+, each identity needs to have its own interests and sparks, it needs to be obvious with which identity you're hanging out under, there should be no holes in identities to allow sharing under multiple identities at the same time, pictures need to be separated by identity.

In every way identities need to work like having multiple accounts, except for two. One, you should be able to see the streams of all your identities at once, just like seeing the streams from all your circles at once. And two, anything that brings down the ban-hammer on an identity carries over to the core account and bans the entire thing at once. The loophole in this is blocking, blocking an identity should only block the identity, blocking more than one identity from the same account should silently, ie. without either users knowledge, flag the entire account for review.

The major flaw with this idea is in the back-end. Some sort of serious account info leak, or man in the middle attack, could reveal what identities are tied to what accounts. I would suggest that it be 'strongly suggested' to anyone using identities that they use G+ in secure mode. Which if you weren't intending to implement some sort of all the time SSL option this would be a great reason to on top of the fact that it should be available anyway, but I digress.
No pseudonym's please. The solutions you've provided are adequate.
So I have to believe that those Superman and Batman accounts are real !

How wonderful... but do not forget : « On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog ».You want our real names to sell our informations nominally, well tried, but not for me.

I have been DD Ra on Goggle mail and other Goggle services since 2006, and have RL friends only knowing me under this name, so I will stay DD Ra. Having been shortly suspended has only made me understand one thing: My confidence in Google services and ethics was way to big. I want to be DD Ra, I won't link it to anything of my "official indentity"... and I will have no more thrust Google.
To take a slightly different twist on this... what is the reasoning behind the no couples rule?
I know a couple who are quite upset that while they can share a house, a phone, utility bills, bank accounts, credit cards, loans, ... just about anything in the world, they can't share a G+ account.

I'm sure that there are more like them, for some it may be a trust thing, for some maybe a planning/time management thing, for some it may even be as simple as having a shared PC in the family room and wanting to both use it but logging out of one goolge service logs you out of ALL google services, so if one of them is working on something in a google service and the other wants to quickly look at an e-mail to get an address or something, they have to log out of the first thing to log into the other person's gmail.

I know this is likely something that Google employees never encounter in their own lives, as I'm sure they and everyone they know have multiple personal computers per person in their household, but it is a reality for some.
Can we please get an update re: Google's latest thinking? Many of my friends have been banned and frankly without some sense that there will be a reasonable resolution I'm starting to think G+ isn't worth the effort.
Not sure if this has been suggested, if so, apologies. How about allowing someone's "Nickname" field to be shown if there is one, perhaps in another color or in bold. When hovered over or clicked on, the actual name is shown?

Perhaps the nickname could be in quotes in-line and in between the first and last name. Before or below the real name would be good as well. In this case, clicking on the nickname would show a drop-down list or could "rotate" (but for you be permanent) between all names the person goes by.

Please let me know if it isn't clear what I am describing.
None of this resolves the key issue: that people want to be able to use the service without exposing their real names to people they don't trust. It's one thing to need a real name to use a service. It's quite another to force people to reveal their legal names to the entire internet in order to use it. As long as the name field has no security or circle settings, this problem will remain.
From my point of view, I don't want the same profile for my personal profile that I do for my pseudonym... they are completely different. One focuses on baseball and sports while the other is about me and forensics. You can't combine them into one profile because they are so different. People who follow me under my pseudonym probably would not even think to look for my real name (most don't know it anyway and some would be completely surprised by the fact that I'm a girl). I'm technically not a business so I don't want a business account. The only solution that I can see is if g+ creates a specific pseudonym account. They could post a notification warning people that this is a pseudonym account and not a real person's name.
J Ruske
Authors have been using "pen names" for centuries - for a variety of reasons - and this is something considered perfectly acceptable. Yet Google+ seems to that such an act amounts to fraud and villainy. Perhaps it would be simpler to allow people to indicate when they create an account that (a) this is my real name or (b) this is an alternate name. At that point if Google feels it must treat a real name account different than an alternate name account, so be it. The difference will be next to impossible to enforce and police, but that's a problem created by Google itself for deciding on an arbitrary distinguishing factor.
My account was just suspended for using "Mr." as my first name and using my real last name. Everyone, with the exception of my children and my wife, call me "Mr. Dennis". I do not understand how this violates Google's terms of service? When I signed up for Google+ I had to verify via a code that was sent to my phone just to open the account. I would think that would have been sufficient to let them know that I was a real person. If Google continues to suspend accounts of people that are in no way abusing their services I do not think that Google+ will ever gain the momentum that it wants to achieve.
G+ should not force users to give out their real names. If Google doesn't begin to understand this, I hope it backfires on them.
+Bradley Horowitz people are still getting hit by this.

I'm involved in the Burning Man community. My nickname is the only name the vast majority of my truest friends ever call me. I've lots of friends with similar circumstances. I've made no attempt to hide my legal name. It's visibly posted in my profile for the world to see. But my legal name is NOT the name my friends and co-workers use when talking to me. The name I use is Trouble. Ronald Frank Sturm is my father's name. I share it with him, but I really don't use it. We've always used nicknames to avoid confusion in our family. Trouble is the nickname I'm sticking with. I strongly identify with this name, and have been using it almost exclusively for nearly a decade.

I've a best friend, who has used the online identity of "The Autowitch" for decades, who owns the website, and who was given their nickname when they were working on autoswitching technology for broadcast television, and their co-workers teasingly accused them of using black magic to make the equipment work. They started calling my friend, "The Autowitch" as a pun based on the Autoswitch equipment my friend wrote software for, and the name stuck. My friend has learned to love their nickname. Most personal friends know other names for them, but we all know who is referred to when "The Autowitch" is referred to.

Their account has been disabled in the last day or so. If needed, I can vouch for their identity. I can vouch for their authenticity as a living human being.

For some of us, our nicknames are an important part of our identities, both online and off. Neither the Autowitch nor I are in violation of the policies you've stated. We are using the common names we are known by.

Can Google stop automatically banning people already? Start a discussion, or a negotiation with people who use nicknames you disapprove of BEFORE you disable their accounts. Let them explain their reasons for the names they use. Give them the opportunity to verify their legal identity, but don't force them to use that name. But don't "shoot first and ask questions later". Try communicating with people before you shut them down.

You've stated that you intend to give users warnings before disabling their account. When does this policy go into effect? You made this announcement nearly 2 weeks ago. Why are people still getting banned before they have been warned?
Which other service in the internet is forcing me to give my real name?? I don't want to be found by anyone who just gets to know my real name. I tell people under which name they can find me and keep control of who finds me.
Some people were talking about the "deal" which is: we get the service, you get the data. But actually, I will not put any data here, if I don't have control on who is finding me.
Just kick this rule out!
I agree with Trouble there are many who may NOT want their "real name" used Wives hiding from husbands or Political protesters from their Government. Also Somemay be into strange & creepy things & may not want the world to know. what if Vic Gundotra was a furry roleplayer. you think he would want his co-workers, Clergy & Grandmother to know? NO! so Google Plus NEEDS to protect the privacy of "John & Jane Doe"
Online life is like real life, it's often better to stay discreet, for varying reasons from just the need to be comfortable to the need to protect your life in some countries. Knowing that true anonymity does not exist and that there is plenty possibilities to enforce a good conduct from G+ members, there is really no need for this policy. (btw I'm in reality less hairy than my picture may let you think. I'm wondering when I will be obliged to show a real photo of me)
+Scot Stevenson Most of my friends are from Second Life (or Inworldz), and I expect to be leaving Google+ shortly if the names policy isn't reversed since most of them have Facebook accounts under their Second Life name, I guess I won't be deleting my FB account any time soon after all.

All these so-called social networks have a limited future anyway. The Metaverse of Snow Crash is already here, if currently a bit too flaky for most people. FB, G+, et. al. will all begin to fade in just a couple of years as people begin opening up whole personal worlds online.
What kind of name is +Vic Gundotra? I'm sure that's a fake name, suspend his account!
The requirement to use real names is bogus. If anything, I should be allowed to maintain a public presence and only share my personal details with circles I approve of. Contrary to popular belief, people do not use fake names just so they can wander around and troll freely.
If I post that I find this a poor business decision on google's part, will I find myself targeted for suspension?
By what right does Google hold itself the arbiter of what is or is not a valid form of self-identification? If I declare myself by a pseudonym, it is my name. I do not care to have Google or anyone else tell me that I must use my given name in any particular circumstance.

This policy is not only disrespectful to those of us who chose to use pseudonyms, but literally threatening to vulnerable populations, such as minority activists, protesters, abused women, and LGBT youth and closeted adults. This is an untenable policy, and I cannot fathom how, decades into the life of the internet, you have not grasped that identity is, and SHOULD BE, what we make of it.

Edit: You also have it completely backwards. It's not my pseudonyms that should be privacy-toggled but my real name.
Lorre S
Unfortunately, half of my net friends use pseudonyms for their presence on the web. I question the utility of a social network that won't allow them to continue this practice. A network where half of my friends would be violating community policy and therefore do not wish to participate and feel Google+ has no respect for them is of little utility for me.
I used my real name in my pseudonym to begin with because I'm an author promoting myself on the Internet. So for me this was a relatively minor problem. It still annoyed me and one result is that a lot of my friends had trouble finding me. There aas re people with much bigger problems using the "common name" policy.

My minor problem can be a life-threatening one for LGBT people, for people being stalked, for minority activists, protesters and anyone who has a closet for any reason.

I have a common name for my common name. What about someone whose legal name is Moonbeam Silver? You get a lot of common names that look like pseudonyms because parents were creative. You also get people like Frank Norton Stein who would rather never use their legal name for obvious reasons. The policy has to change. People use online names for a reason and trolls are easily identified as trolls by their behavior.
Hey Brad, I hoped beyond hope that you folks might come to your senses on this issue. Alas, my alternate pseudonymous profile has been flagged and will likely be deleted later today. I fully intend to delete this profile (using my real name) as well. I will also do my best to communicate my upset at your offensive and marginalising policy to those within my social networks. (All of them, no matter what identity I chose to use in that case.)

The irony is that I could go by Sylvie Lafrance or Rajish Venugopal, and your system would be none the wiser. Nor would those I communicate who do not know me in real life. Your system is defeated by something as simple as that, and yet you have the temerity to tell me that you are the arbiter of my identity? It's offensive.

+Vic Gundotra posted recently an image of celebrating Libyans, and so I challenged him to tell me whether citizens of Tripoli against Qaddafi would have used their real names on Google+ a month or a year ago? What about Syrian protesters today? Victims of abuse? Gay youth? How do you justify marginalising these people further for a pipe dream?

I consider it a slap to the face that you consider it your prerogative to control how I identify myself. Identity is, and should be, a personal thing. It's none of your business. Consider that I use a swath of Google products constantly, every day, and you are driving me to consider looking for alternatives.
I kinda like Google, but IMHO G+ is a looser, too bad, but definitely.
Regarding the topic discussed here I'd say:
- no nicknames means that no group of people, or institution, or company, or organization whatsoever can have a user.
- no nicknames means also that many artists won't be able to have an account, e.g. do you really pretend that Prince must input Roger Nelson to have a valid user? COME-ON!
- no nicknames means also that no anonimity is actually allowed, I MUST tell who I am to Google.
I foresee a lot of FB users NOT switching.
My cousin's boyfriend is a cop, and he says that everyone should use pseudonyms, that they should post incorrect birthdays, incorrect addresses, and never never say they're going out of town, even if they think nobody is going to rob their house.
+Gabriel Leyba your 2nd point seems wrong, see profile of +Madonna . which is obviously neither following the rules mentioned above nor is it Madonna herself (but her PR team). BUT is a "verified account"! Great job, Google... Where's the "-1" button?
I've no idea who half the people are because I neither know nor care about their legal name.
Half of my friends are banned and the other half has left or is in the process of leaving because the others are gone.
I'm likely to leave this service too shortly as a social platform makes no sense when entire communities are leaving.
Where people inside the community know each other by pseudonyms only.
Where the private live of people that is bound to that pseudonym is no business for the other circles of these persons.
Pseudonyms established, well known and used since (and in some cases even before) the dawn of the internet.

I fear that some Google managers simply don't understand the communities that exist in the internet. That existed long before Google was founded and will probably exist long after that company is no more,
I don't know more than half the people out there, but I am staying. You are too far ahead it seems. Harry
So not only have you dredged up a topic I haven't commented in for over a year, you have accused me of being a troll, insulted me and claimed I am much older than I say I am, either you are the troll, or else there is something mentally wrong with you.
The people who are gone because they or all of their friends had their entire Google Accounts (not just G+) accounts disabled won't come back. Ever.
So will the ones who are gone because all their friends had that done to them. (Why use a social network when your friends are not there.)

Too late.
Am I the only one who sees what's happening here? Google wants ALL of your information, they even were asking for people's phone numbers on youtube. Google is an evil advertising enterprise with shady business practices just like you see here. Why would I want to give them my real name and phone number? Why the heck would I need to? I wouldn't even have a Google+ account if android market didn't require it.
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