Feeds

Google lets youngsters in to Google+. Officially, that is

ZitFaceBook to offer 'nuance, richness, meaningfulness'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Google has finally opened the doors of its Google+ social networking service to kids, but was careful to keep their ‘rents onside with new online safety features, as its desperate efforts to catch Facebook continue.

The service has up until now been the preserve of adults, although it’s likely that teens have used the site illegally in the past, given that duping Google is about as easy for an under 18-year-old as getting served in a provincial town nightclub.

Now, however, kids over 13 can sign up legally. In Spain and South Korea they have to be a year older, while the Dutch aren’t letting anyone under 16 use the service.

Google+ vice president of products, Bradley Horowitz, announced the news in a breathtakingly patronising post on the site itself, basically intimating that “younger users” need protecting from themselves, each other, and the big bad world.

“Teens and young adults are the most active internet users on the planet. And surprise, surprise: they're also human beings who enjoy spending time with friends and family. Put these two things together and it's clear that teens will increasingly connect online. Unfortunately, online sharing is still second-rate for this age group,” he blathered.

“In life, for instance, teens can share the right things with just the right people (like classmates, parents or close ties). Over time, the nuance and richness of selective sharing even promotes authenticity and accountability. 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’."

To help its teenaged users “build meaningful connections online” while keeping them safe, Google has come up with several new features, including a notification which will alert the user if they are about to share content with users outside their circle.

Teen users can also block anyone on the site they take a dislike to and by default only those in their circles can contact them, said Horowitz.

Finally, if a stranger from outside one of their circles joins a hangout session, the teen will immediately be removed, and then given the option to rejoin.

The change in user policy brings Google+ belatedly in line with Facebook, and can be seen as another attempt to help it compete with the social networking behemoth. It’s got a long way to go though – its estimated 90 million users are dwarfed by the blue giant’s 800m+.

In a move which critics will say didn’t go far enough, Google relaxed its policy on pseudonyms earlier this week, allowing nicknames to be displayed alongside a user’s real name.

The Chocolate Factory has also been prioritising search results from Google+ over those from elsewhere on the social web, a fact neatly exposed by a new bookmarklet which looks to offer users a wider choice of results from sites like Twitter and Facebook. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.