Google+ finally opens its doors to teenagers after adding new safety features

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If you’ve been locked out of Google+, like me, because of age then today is your lucky day! Bradley Horowitz, Google+ VP, has announced, via Google+, that the new age restriction is 13+.

Previously to sign up for the social network you had to be aged 18 or over, however a number of people with fake ages on their profiles were wrongfully allowed in or locked out.

But the idea to change the age limit wasn’t an overnight decision, with a number of new safety features in place for teens. For example, if a user under 18 posts something as “Public,” they’ll get an extra warning message. Also, by default the user can only be contacted by people in their circles, although surely this can be changed in the settings. Also, if a user who is under the age of 18 is in a Hangout and another user who isn’t in their circles joins, the under 18 person will have their audio and video muted and will then be asked whether they want to continue. I’m not sure how this will work with big Hangouts, such as the recent Dalai Lama Hangout, or the upcoming Hangout with US President Barack Obama.

I’m not sure why it took so long, but it’s great to see Google+ now finally able to compete with Facebook and Twitter. Here’s hoping it isn’t too late to gain some traction in the space, especially thanks to the inclusion of the Google+ app with Android Ice Cream Sandwich and also the fact that new Google Accounts include Google+ now.

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