For the three people (not really) that still makes use of Google’s troubled Google+ social network, the technology giant announced that they will now be able to use whichever name they chose as a profile name.

Previously this wasn’t possible, as those who wanted to make use of the service had to give (and use) their real names.

“Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use,” Google said in a press statement.

The service launched over three years ago, and has failed to make the impact that Google had hoped for. People seemed to be quiet satisfied with using Facebook and/or Twitter, and adoption rates were fairly low from the start. Eventually Google changed their policies so that users who open a new Gmail account receive prominent coaxing into open a G+ account. But they still couldn’t use whatever name they wanted.

Google has also made it very difficult for YouTube users, as you can’t start a channel or comment on uploaded videos if you don’t have a G+ account – and you had to use your own name. The change in naming policy does present another problem that has been plaguing the internet since its creation – trolling.

By having the ability to change your name to whatever you see fit, trolling on YouTube is almost definitely going to increase.

Yet still, the company acknowledges that users have been asking for the name-change for some time now.

“We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.”

[Image – CC by 2.0/David Reid]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.