Google+ ends its real-name policy

In an interesting turn of events Google+ has decided to end its real-name policy.  Google+ users will now be able to use the service using a pseudonym.  While there are many legitimate reasons to maintain anonymity online, this latest move by Google+ has a certain air of desperation to it.  In its post explaining the decision the search company claims that it's real name policy "...has been unclear" leading to "...unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users." 

While Google's policy reversal should make it easier for users to register for the service, one has to wonder whether this will actually help increase user adoption and engagement on the site.  I personally feel that the real-name policy helped keep conversations on the social network far more civil and thoughtful than they probably would have been.  As we all know a bit too well, anonymity online is a double-edged sword.