For some, like thedroidguy, this may come as news a little too late. After a weekend of obliterating Google+ accounts, for a lot of their core audience, Google has announced they are revamping their names policy. Over the weekend Thedroidguy along with top Android sites, Android And Me, Android Community and Android Police were suspended from Google+ in a raid that sweeped tens of thousands of accounts for not following name guidelines.
Google’s Senior Vice President of Social, Vic Gundotra, explained that Google+ was looking to set a more positive tone by requiring users real names. Although Google had been warning all along that businesses shouldn’t try to get into Google+ just yet some of Google’s biggest evangelists took the plunge anyway hoping with their homage to Google they would be safe. They were not.
More after the break
I created the Google account iamthedroidgy at gmail over two and a half years ago. I’ve used that Google account as my primary Gtalk account and to receive all of my various Google alerts. The profile name that I used when I signed up for it was Droid Guy. The Google account Thedroidguy was already taken. I’m pretty well known in Android circles and have been to Google’s Mountain View campus many times to collaborate on projects and for events. I’m even on a first name basis with many Google execs and staffers.
When I signed up for Google plus on the first day I didn’t want it to be just another place to broadcast Droid Guy articles. I quickly set up friend circles, family circles and colleague circles and jumped head first into Google+. When Google first announced that they would crack down on businesses I quickly changed my profile name from “Droid Guy” to “Kyle The Droidguy, S”. Even that wasn’t good enough for Google+ and I was suspended last Thursday. I immediately pinged various contacts at Google and then changed my name to my full name and put “thedroidguy” in the nicknames section. Phew… I was quickly restored.
Other sites like Android Police, Android And Me and Android Community had started full on Google+ pages for their Android websites. Those profiles were also taken down and are waiting for Google+ for business to open up. All three of those sites also have great relationships with Google. Naturally Android users, enthusiasts, evangelists and sites were early adopters to Google+ so the removal in a swoop with other business categories was a slap in the face. Even Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land had to fix his Google+ to please the Google Police.
Now though, after a lot of the damage has been done, Google+ Vice President, Bradley Horowitz has said they would be changing the names policy as soon as possible. He even used the famed Google words “in the coming weeks”. Horowitz said
“We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing. So we’re currently making a number of improvements to this process– specifically regarding how we notify these users that they’re not in compliance with Google+ policies and how we communicate the remedies available to them.“
Google plans to offer a warning to Google+ users that their name is in violation before just suspending them. They are also going to offer suggestions on how to make their name correct. In addition, Google says they will give users a better expectation as to how long the correction will take. We found in fixing it ourselves we were back on Googe+ within minutes.
Horowitz also pointed out that you can put your other social names and aliases under nicknames which are searchable according to your Google+ privacy settings. This will allow users to use their maiden names, Twitter handles and other names they go by.
Horowitz wanted to make sure that Google+ users know that a suspension from Google+ for a names violation, and nothing else, doesn’t mean an entire suspension from your Google account. You’ll still have access to important features like Gmail, Google Talk, Google docs, Blogger and other services that aren’t reliant on a Google+ account.
Of course, changing your name to your actual name is the easiest and quickest way to avoid or fix the situation altogether.