Saturday 28 January 2012

Google+ is now open for teens.

Google's attempt at social networking, Google+ has now opened its doors to an even wider audience - teenagers. In an announcement made yesterday, Google stated that the social network, which till now was only open to those 18 and above, will now have teens onboard, too. Obviously, Google confirms putting in some additional security features in place for its new set of audience. While Google+ for Teens, according to Google will be almost like Google+ for Adults, there will be a few key differences. Google+ for Teens will include a lot of in-product guidance, which will in its part do it job of "informing" a teen user what clicking a certain option will do, in addition to, some 'conservative' default options.

While using the Sharing and Circles feature, if a teen user chooses to share his/her post with a much wider audience, which may even include people not in their immediate Circle, Google+ will pop up a disclaimer of sorts. This tiny note will clearly state that if posted with the current settings, the post will be visible even to those who're not in the user's list, and even allow them to comment. It is then for the user (teen) to decide if they really want to share that particular detail with such a wide audience. Another of Google+’s popular features is Hangout. The feature, as known to most of us allows Google+ users to chat, connect with their friends through video chat. Those using the feature already would know that people can join in an existing conversation and sometimes it so happens that the user may not want to converse with new joinee. The hangout feature in Google+ for Teens will, in such a situation, ask the user if he/she wishes to continue. During this brief period, the user can see a box clearly asking the user if he/she wants to continue with the conversation, and will also allow the user to quietly exit, if he/she chooses to, while putting off the camera and microphone, while doing so.

Google+ for Teens, reportedly will also allow teens to choose whom they want to connect with, receive notifications from, allow to comment on their public posts (i.e. posts that can be read by their Extended Circles). Google+ have on their part set the default settings for all the above features to be accessible to only those who're in the users’ immediate circle (If you're wondering, for adults the default setting is 'anyone'). Also, importantly, Google+ for Teens also comes with custom settings for Profile, done with a view to incite a user to think deeply before sharing any post. Of course, users are open to change their settings at any point. Some default settings include:

Employment and Education: “Public” for adults, "Your Circles" for teens
People in your Circles: “Public” for adults, “Your Circles” for teens
Relationship Status: “Extended circles” for adults, “Your Circles” for teens

Sure, Google has opened the doors of social networking for a seemingly vulnerable audience - teens, but, at least by the looks of it, they seem to be doing it responsibly, almost hand-holding. What do you think of this latest update to Google+? With all these settings in place, would you find it to be safe to let your teenage kid/sibling access Google+? Let us know your views on this in the comments section below.

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