Google has decided to reverse its long-standing policy requiring users to use their real names to make profiles on the service as of Tuesday, according to a post shared on the official account. The move comes after Google+ head Vic Gundotra suddenly departed in April, marking the beginning of a shift for the service.
"When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile," the post begins. As time went on, that rule softened to allow "established" pseudonyms and let YouTube users to bring their usernames over from the service.
Google+ has been criticized not only for preventing users from protecting their real identities, but causing confusion among them. In January, one transgender woman tried to send a text message to a colleague but sent a Hangout from her Google+ profile instead, outing her.
"We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users," the post continues. "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."