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)
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