If your Google+ profile is ever suspended for any reason, it won’t be the worst thing to happen because other services tied to your Google+ account could be rendered inaccessible as a result. As far as Google is concerned, Google Profiles and Google+ Profiles are the same thing and removing one for whatever reason will take down the other. If you intend on building your online identity on Google+, you should read the following guidelines carefully.

Google+ is getting lots of love these days. With new features coming, it’s bound to grow way more popular in the run-up to the public launch. If Google+ is to become my online identity, I reckoned, my contacts better sign up using their real names. That was the key differentiator in the early days of Facebook when trolls used to obscure their real persona in the anonymity provided by other social networks. I was intrigued, then, when I read this story asserting that the search company is removing Google+ profiles with fake names. Even though the article was later updated with a correction suggesting Google wasn’t involved in suspending fake profiles, I set out to get to the bottom of this thing. Google on its part provides this helpful article which highlights Google+ profile identity rules. Long story short, you are advised to use real names because:

Google Profiles is a product that works best in the identified state. This way you can be certain you’re connecting with the right person, and others will have confidence knowing that there is someone real behind the profile they’re checking out. For this reason, Google Profiles requires you to use the name that you commonly go by in daily life.

I reached out to Google seeking clarification. A spokesperson pointed me to said help article, underscoring that Google is not requiring people to use their “real names”, but rather the names they’re commonly referred to in their daily lives. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, 50 Cent – who is using Google+ right now – is the commonly referred name of artist Curtis Jackson, which is his real name. Got it? Semantics aside, a spokesperson provided this statement:

Google Profiles are designed to be public pages on the web, which are used to help connect and find real people in the real world. By providing your common name, you will be assisting all people you know –  friends, family members, classmates, co-workers, and other acquaintances – in finding and creating a connection with the right person online.

Moreover, Google could suspend your profile for a name-related issue. In order to prevent this from happening, Google is advising users to sign up using their full first and last name in a single language. Folks should avoid unusual characters in their name and never pose as somebody else. And of course, a profile and name must represent one person.

Don’t take me wrong, this ain’t some click-bait criticism of Google’s latest social thing. All of the above serves to illustrate and educate readers about rules of the game. You realize that suspending your Google+ Profile can be a painful and tedious affair. Losing your online identity has severe consequences – as anyone who has had their Facebook profile removed can attest to. With Google+, suspending your Profile also affects your other Google service tied to it. Check out this highlight from the help article:

Other Google products also reference your Google profile. So if your profile is suspended or deleted, these other products will not work anymore. For example, Buzz and +1’s currently require an active and functioning profile while Gmail and Blogger do not.

There, you’ve been warned. Google might also take down your Google+ Profile for other reasons. For example, your ex could go to your profile and click the Report This Person button. When a certain threshold is reached, Google will flag your profile for review over impersonation issues. “If your profile is suspended, you can still edit your name and profile. If you edit your name while in the suspended state, it will still need to be reviewed by our team before your profile is reactivated”, the search company wrote. Luckily, Google provides the appeals process, highlighted in this help forum page.

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