Google opened its social networking site to anyone 13 or older and added features to protect teenagers' safety, helping the company compete with Facebook, which has similar age requirements.
The Google+ service, until now limited to users 18 and up, will be available to all teenagers, except those in Spain, South Korea and Netherlands, where the age requirements are higher, the company said. New safety enhancements, meanwhile, will help control who can contact teens online and put restrictions on group video chats.
“With Google+, we want to help teens build meaningful connections online,” Bradley Horowitz, a vice president in charge of the service, said today on his Google+ page. “We also want to provide features that foster safety alongside self-expression.”
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Google+, unveiled last June, is the company's latest effort to push back against Facebook, the largest social-networking service in the world. Google's service has more than 90 million users, up from more than 40 million in October, chief executive officer Larry Page said earlier this month. Facebook has more than 800 million.
The company also announced that Google+ will be integrated into Google Earth as part of an upgrade to the service. That means users can more easily share maps such as maps of mountains or oceans, with friends.Via SMH