YouTube began gently prodding all users operating under nicknames like cutepuppies99 and origamiboys1981 to start using their real names last July. It did this by urging them to hook their Google Plus profiles up with their YouTube channel and therefore, by default, they'd have to use their real names.
Now, the video service is letting users keep their anonymous name but is still giving them the option of linking to their Google+ page. It's even giving people the option of changing their Google+ name to match their YouTube channel identity.
"While using a full name from a Google+ profile might work well for a creator who wants to build their brand as an individual, this simply doesn't work if you don't want a full name on your channel," YouTube's David Boyle wrote in a blog post today. "If you run a channel with a name like BlueXephos or VlogBrothers, you should create a Google+ page (as opposed to a profile) with that name."
The integration of Google+ and YouTube has been taking place over the last year, and while some users must appreciate it, others have gotten annoyed. In May, actor Wil Wheaton ranted about Google "forcing" its social network on everyone when he tried to like a video on YouTube and instead got a prompt to join Google+.
According to Boyle, linking the two accounts helps users build their audience and brand. "If you unify your YouTube identity with Google+, it will be easier for your audience to find and connect with you on YouTube, Google, and across the web, and it will help you build your brand across all of Google's products," he wrote.
The new YouTube and Google+ identity options will roll out within the next few weeks.