Google+ Changing Naming Policy to Quell Doubts, Anger Among Users

This past week has been a busy one for Google.

Users of the company's Google+ social networking service have been up in arms over the deletion of several accounts for violating the service's "real name" policy, and the company is now backtracking to quell the rage. 

The service's support teams, which apparently were the final word in what a "real name" is, had been killing off several accounts because users had pseudonyms, non-traditional names, or foreign-language characters in their names. Now, executives are attempting to mend the situation.

"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," wrote Bradley Horowitz, a vice president of product management at Google, in a Google+ post. "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."

According to Horowitz, Google+ will now begin warning users and will give them a chance to "correct their names" before they're suspended from the site, as well as offering help on how to change names to comply with the policy. The service will also help users to create account names that will avoid trouble when they first sign up, as well as offer ways to display nicknames and maiden names.

While some users are happy with the changes, others feel that Google isn't actually solving anything.

"Helping people to conform with policies that don't conform to the way people actually use their names (including pseudonyms) in the real world is not solving the problem," wrote one user on Horowitz's post. "It's demonstrating that you haven't understood the problem."

"What I find more interesting regarding the name debate is that those of us who have been around the online world for three decades and more were always told until recent years to NEVER EVER use your REAL name online," wrote another user. "Several police agency websites STILL offer this advice. When did the policy change?"

So while it seems that Google has at least temporarily quieted the masses, the social networking site is still attempting to play judge, jury and executioner when it comes to acceptable names on a widely-used social networking site. Will this be enough to stop the meteoric rise of Google+?