Google has partially relaxed its unpopular username policy for the Google+ social network, allowing users to register nicknames or "established pseudonyms".
Product vice president Bradley Horowitz said in a Google+ post today that the changes would take effect in the next couple of days.
Since launching Google+, the company has taken heat for disallowing users from registering profiles anonymously or under internet pseudonyms.
The policy had mistakenly caught out some users, including local technology journalist Stilgherrian, who only has one legal name.
Google has maintained that requiring users to register profiles with their full name only is designed to prevent the proliferation of spam and fake profiles.
Horowitz said today that "only about 0.1 percent of sign-ups" to the social network lodged formal appeals when their chosen name was knocked back by Google.
The majority of those people wanted to run under a nickname, Horowitz said, while others sought to use a pseudonym or "another unconventional name".
Horowitz said that Google+ will now support nicknamesn but will only show them "alongside your common name". In practice, the user's full name will still be shown - the nickname will just appear after it in brackets or inverted commas.
Google will also allow the use of what it calls "established pseudonyms". Users who want them may have to show legal or other hardcopy documents that bear the pseudonym - proof that it is not just a way to disguise their identity online.
Horowitz described the changes as a "small step" and said further refinements to Google's policy are possible in coming months.
The changes received a mixed response from users, many of whom remain disappointed at the company's continued refusal to allow online pseudonyms or to allow users to mask their identities online.