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Good news for Google+ users who have been forced to abandon their nicknames. Google has announced an update to its pseudonym policy, which will roll out over the next few days. The major change you will notice is the ability to add a nickname or a maiden name, and have it appear alongside your real name (e.g., John “Spider” Smith).

Google’s pseudonym issue, known also as Nymwars, first started when Google+ went live. Numerous people who tried to use nicknames or pseudonyms, had their accounts suspended because they did not meet Google’s name policy. According to Google, this policy was enforced to reduce spam and fake accounts, and following user feedback, they will now be a bit more lenient when enforcing the issue.

So how do you add a nickname to your Google+ account? Go to your profile, and click on “Edit Profile”. Click on your name, and then choose “More options”. You will now see a new Nickname field, which you can fill out and then choose how you want your new name to display. This will also work with names in different scripts. As you can see, there are not many options to choose from, but it’s still somewhat better than having no nickname at all.

google -nickname

Note that when you change your name here, it will affect all the Google products you use, not just Google+. If you want to use only a pseudonym, or something else Google flags as suspicious, you will need to submit the name for review by Google. To help the review along, you can submit:

– References to an established identity offline in print media, news articles, etc.
– Scanned official documentation, such as a driver’s license
– Proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following

You can read more on the Google+ Name Policy page.

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Will this make a difference for most users, or is Google+’s name policy still too limiting? Will you try to change your name on Google+ following this new policy?

Source: +Bradley Horowitz

  1. Saptashwa
    January 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    The most significant change (more so for me) is that Google has allowed users below 18 years to join Google+. I tried the day before yesterday (if I remember correctly). Till then, the 18+ rule was there. The rule seems to have gone away. Great!

    • Yaara
      January 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Yep, that's great news! We have a separate news item all about that. :)

  2. NC Outlander
    January 27, 2012 at 4:06 am

    Thanks but thanks G+, the whole purpose of a pseudonym is to keep one's real name out of the public domain. 

    • Yaara
      January 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Keep your private data out of the public domain? What on earth are you on about?

      But seriously now, I agree. Most people who want to use pseudonyms want to protect their privacy, and this is something Google will simply not let you do.

  3. Chris Hoffman
    January 27, 2012 at 3:15 am

    I think what a lot of people wanted was to go by *only* their nickname. So I'm sure it leaves many people wanting for more.

    Either way, they did this way too late. Many potential users have already been alienated.

    • Yaara
      January 27, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Yep, it sort of like they're taking one step towards their users, but they're leaving the main issue out.

      The do claim that most people actually want to have a nickname displayed next to their real name, but I'm not sure I buy that. Anyway, they will now "consider" your request if you prove you're actually known by that pseudonym. But I doubt people who had their accounts suspended in the past will try again, as you said.

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