Following years of criticism, Google has announced that it's scrapping its requirement that anyone using Google+ uses their real name on the network.
The policy was put in place when Google+ launched three years ago, intended to make the network more... well, more like Facebook, really. But last night Google admitted that "it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names."
That lack of inclusivity — and the criticism from privacy advocates — is enough for Google to make a U-turn on the policy. A shift that confusingly started on YouTube is now applied across the board:
"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 apologise, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be."
So, from today, you can be whoever you want to be on Google+. Whether that's enough to make the network any more successful, though, remains to be seen. [Google+]