Google Plus drops "Real Names" policy

After years of criticism, Google Plus has finally dropped its controversial, Facebook-alike "Real Names" policy.

No longer will the company have to adjudicate whether your name is a real name, whether stalking survivors and human rights campaigners should have to put their safety in jeopardy to use the core Google services into which G+ has been wedged (for several years, googlers' annual bonuses were based in part on the success of G+, causing it to be shoehorned into Google in every conceivable, obnoxious way).

The policy change is a huge climbdown, after the top execs at Google told anyone who disagreed to go fuck themselves, and refused to engage with substantive arguments about the difficulty inherent in names. It's nice that the company is finally listening to the chorous of experts who've been appalled by the policy, though they don't say much about why they've made the change:

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.

Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use. (via /.)

(Image: Anonymous va a los Goya, Enrique Dans, CC-BY)