Google+ to allow "alternate names" on accounts

Ever since Google launched its Google+ social networking service, the company has not allowed people to sign up using names that were not their real names. However, Google has now realized there are a lot of people out there who are mostly known by their nicknames and other names that were not given to them at birth.

In a post on his Google+ page, team member Bradley Horowitz announced that starting later this week, " ... we’ll be adding support for alternate names – be they nicknames, maiden names, or names in another script – alongside your common name. This name will show up on your Google+ profile and in the hovercards which appear over your name."

If you are a person who is regularly known by a name other than your birth name, such as Madonna for example, Horowitz says that you will have to prove that to Google before they will allow you to use that pseudonym on your Google+ account. Users with such a name will have to show that they are referred to by that name in offline media like newspaper articles and others. Users will also have to show they have a large online following with that name and provide scanned official documentation of their real name.

Horowitz states:

We’ll review the information and typically get back to you within a few days. We may also ask for further information, such as proof that you control a website you reference. While a name change is under review, your old name will continue to be displayed. For new accounts without an old name, your profile will be in a non-public, read-only state during the review. Either way, you'll be able to see the status of your review by going to your profile.

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