Google+ for teens
Google has made its social network Google+ available to teenagers aged thirteen and above following the introduction of new safety features.
Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product management at Google+, took to his Google+ profile to announce that the social network has lowered its age restriction. In preparation for its young users, Google+ has added new safety features which are designed to improve a user's privacy.
The social network will ensure that its teen members have optimum security from people both within and outside their circles. To do this, Google+ will remove and alert a young member if someone outside of their circles joins a Google+ hangout. What's more, teenagers will not be contactable to people outside their circles and will be alerted before sharing information publicly. In addition, Google+ circles allow users to choose which contacts they wish to share private information with.
Google+ vs. Facebook
In his Google+ post, Horowitz has stated that: "Unfortunately, online sharing is still second-rate for this age group." He went on to say: "Sadly, today's most popular online tools are rigid and brittle by comparison, so teens end up over-sharing with all of their so-called 'friends'." The improved safety features and lowered Google+ age restriction could be seen as an attempt to compete with fellow social network, Facebook, in providing teens with a more suitable social experience online.
Richard Frost, managing editor at theEword, said: "Improving the Google+ safety features and widening its age group is a productive way of competing with fellow social networks. However, the recent Google 'Don't be evil' campaign from rivals indicates that other techniques, like boosting Google+ profiles in SERPs, may have been a step too far."