Google+ rolls out to teens with new safety enhancements

Access to Google+ is available now for anyone who is old enough for a Google Account. Google also announced new online safety enhancements simultaneously to ease the worries of parents.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Getting more in line with Facebook's policies and demographics, Google+ is now available for teenagers.

Basically, access to the social networking platform is available now for anyone who is old enough for a Google Account. In most countries where Google is available, the minimum age is 13.

Given the backlash that Google suffered earlier this week regarding its privacy policies adjustments, it's no surprise that the Goog is immediately announcing new safety enhancements being put in place to accommodate both teens and their probably worried parents.

Here's a rundown, although these "enhancements" are not much different from what was already present on Google+ for everyone else:

  • Receiving notifications: By default, only those in teens’ circles can say hello, and blocking someone is "always just a click or two away." (FYI, the blocking feature was already available for all users.)
  • Hangouts: If a stranger outside a teen’s circles joins the hangout, Google temporarily removes the young adult, and give them a chance to rejoin.
  • Sharing content: Users can share privately with their circles, or publicly with the world. For teens, Google will "encourage them to think before they post."

Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product for Google+, took to his Google+ blog explained why Google+ is reaching out to younger audiences.

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.

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."

With Google+, we want to help teens build meaningful connections online.

Horowitz also explained that the purpose of the newly minted Google+ Safety Center is to "build awesome features that teens really want, encourage safe behavior through appropriate defaults and in-product help, and make abuse reporting tools easy to find and use."


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