Google wants you to use your “real (government-ID required if they don’t think your name is real) name” on Google+.
- Use your full first and last name in a single language.
- Put nicknames or pseudonyms in the Other Names field.
- Avoid unusual characters in your name.
- Your profile and name must represent one individual.
- Don’t use the name of another individual.
In addition (and very important):
Google+ Profile Suspension and Other Google Services
If your profile is suspended, you will not be able to make full use of Google services that require an active profile such as Google+, Buzz, Reader and Picasa. This will not prevent you from using other Google services, like Gmail. Your profile can be restored by editing your name and submitting an appeal that will be reviewed by our team, as directed by on-screen instructions.
On July 23, Violet Blue reported:
Over the weekend, Google annoyed numerous one-time Google+ users by blowing away their accounts because they’d broken Google’s name restrictions. That went over well. As I asked at the time, “What was Google thinking!?” Google’s senior VP of social, Vic Gundotra, explained Google’s logic for insisting on real names,as an attempt to set a positive tone, “like when a restaurant doesn’t allow people who aren’t wearing shirts to enter.”
Ex-Google employee Kirrily “Skud” Robert. Irony? The former Google employee that originally applauded Google Plus’ statements about real names had their account suspended. Kirrily “Skud” Robert writes in I’ve Been Suspended From Google+
Skud details her experience Google+ as well as on Infotropism. She has changed her name (making “Skud” her legal middle name). This is different (more extreme) from registering a “doing business as” name. Most people won’t go quite this far.
After Google opened Google+ to public beta on September 20, some people who had been suspended found themselves reinstated. My personal account was not reinstated until September 22, and I believe that it came about because of intervention by a friend who is on the Plus team. (More on this later.)
There are lots of people who have successfully used a first or last initial on Google+ without having their accounts flagged, but it is a risk. If you are going to use something other than your real name, it helps to have a pseudonym that “looks” like a legitimate Anglo name.
What Happens If Your Accounted Is Flagged
If your account is flagged, you will see a warning like this:
My advice: Use GoogleTakeout to archive your data immediately.
Even though GoogleTakeout is supposed to allow you to retrieve your data even after your account has been suspended, according to +Brian Fitzpatrick in this comment thread, that was not my experience and I have read reports that it is not the experience of others, either.
The “warning” changes after suspension (note the verb “reviewed” instead of “suspended” and the lack of a link to GoogleTakeout):
Notice that I had changed the profile name to my real name sans my nickname. I did that immediately after getting the first warning.
I discovered my account was suspended when I tried to post — one minute the account was active, a few minutes later, I could not post:
There is no one to talk to, no feedback available. You’re simply in limbo.