After months and months of fielding complaints from users and criticism from privacy advocates, Google will finally let people use pseudonyms on Google+. "We want to build a product that is for humanity at large, and we recognize people have many notions around identity and ways to represent themselves," Google's vice president of product Bradley Horowitz told The New York Times on Monday. "We want to be as inclusive as possible while still ensuring the integrity of the system and the community." What Horowitz is trying to say is that not any pseudonym will do. Times reporter Claire Cain Miller explains that a complicated-sounding process will require Google employees to manually review an applications that includes "documentation like a driver's license, a link to a blog or social network where the person has a large following or published material under the new name." The ultimate goal, Horowitz says, is "to allow people to express themselves and have a coherent, useful experience on the Internet, to give users choice and control." So if you want to hide behind a pseudonym, you'd better be ready to prove it's a legitimate one. Otherwise, you'll have to take your social media needs to a place like Twitter, where pretty much anything goes, anonymity-wise.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.