Google now lets you call yourself ‘The Dude’ on Google+

Google has finally relaxed its real name requirements for Google+, its social-network-cum-photo-storage site. Since the service launched three years ago, Google has insisted that people use their real names so that the site can easily hook into its other services like Gmail and Hangouts, as well as to “protect” the community from trolls and other undesirables.

As the site has grown (or not grown, depending on whom you talk to), Google has likely seen sustained demand for the ability to call oneself something other than his or her real name, both for personal and, in certain countries, security reasons.

The company previously changed the rules to allow YouTube users to integrate with Google+ without changing their names (though it did force users to have a Google+ account in order to comment on videos) and now they “are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use.”

Google is also contrite about the problems raised by the policy: “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. “

Will this help the social network? Is it even relevant anymore? Let us know.