In a move away from online anonymity, Google will now link users’ Google+ identifications to reviews they leave on the company’s Play store. The change began popping up Monday, and will show users’ real names and the pictures associated with their Google+ account next to any reviews they write. Linking the two services does not appear to be optional.
When users click the “Write a Review” button on the company’s marketplace, they’re greeted with the following message:
“From now on, reviews you write will be posted publicly using your Google+ name and picture. Your name on previous reviews will appear as ‘A Google User’.”
Users who do not have Google+ accounts are then prompted to create one in order to write reviews.
Google also recently encouraged YouTube account holders to post their real names on accounts, though the video service does let people opt for a username instead.
When the company’s social network launched in June 2011, the network had a very clear “real-name” policy. It began to step back from its strict policy in October, allowing pseudonyms in some cases, for celebrities, political dissidents and domestic violence victims, who have different reasons for using alternate names on social networks.