The original real-names-only policy "helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names," Google said in a blog post Tuesday.
The search giant, which first tried social media with the failed Orkut website, first began rolling back its real name policy in January 2012, allowing maiden names and select nicknames. But even then, your original real name was displayed alongside your chosen name.
Google also slowly allowed "pages" to have any name, and also let YouTube users migrate their usernames there onto Google+. Meanwhile, users complained that it wasn't clear what names were allowed, why some were disallowed.
"Our original names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users," the blog post said. "For this we apologize."
The change in the real names policy comes after Google+ creator and vice president, Vic Gundotra, departed the company in April. That move, which came as a shock at the time, signalled a shift in Google from seeing Google+ as a platform rather than a product.
Expect more changes in the near future.