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Google backs down over name policy

27 Jul 2011

After controversially suspending people from its social networking site, Google+, for using nicknames and pseudonyms in their accounts, Google has announced it is to implement changes to its naming policy in coming weeks.

An unknown number of Google+ accounts have been blocked in the last week, with Google telling users they had violated the site’s policy of only using real, full names. 

Public reaction to the draconian enforcement has been fervent, in the first PR blip since Google+ launched in June. 

Google tried to explain its policy, but the continuing backlash from users has forced the search giant to implement some changes.

Vice president of product for Google+, Bradley Horowitz, made a post on the site explaining what changes will be made.

"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,” the post reads.

Under the new policy, users will be given a chance to change their name in advance of any suspension, and given a clear indication as to how they can conform to Google’s standards.

The signup process will also be changed so that new users are less likely to break the policy in the first place.

Estimates suggest Google+ has grown to around 20 million users since its launch in late June. Market leader Facebook has an estimated 750 million users.