If being required to use your real name has stopped you from signing up for a Google+ account, you now have an opportunity to reconsider: Google has apologised and dropped all real-name requirements from the social networking service.
The news came in the form of a post from the official account behind Google+:
When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using 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.
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.
The move is certainly a reversal, one that could have come for a number of reasons. Some speculate it's because previous Google+ champion Vic Gundotra is no longer with the company, or because it has already gotten enough Google and YouTube users to switch to their real names that it doesn't expect many to go back. Others note that Google+'s real-name policy has serious privacy implications. In any event, you should now be able to sign up for Google+ using whatever name you choose, and you can change your current name to what you prefer. Hit the link below to read more.