Google+ has opened up to teenagers, a move that Google hopes will help it challenge Facebook’s popularity.
"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," The Los Angeles Times quoted Google''s Vice President of products, Bradley Horowitz, as saying.
Google has, however, made few privacy and security changes for teenage users that Horowitz said would make Google+ a more ideal network to use for sharing and connecting with friends.
"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," he added.
Google+''s Hangout video chats would also be tweaked for teenagers.
"If a stranger outside a teen''s circles joins the hangout, we temporarily remove the young adult, and give them a chance to rejoin," Horowitz said.
Google+ was earlier open to users who were aged 18 years and above, but now any user who is old enough to operate a Google account will be able to access it.
Facebook, which has over 800 million users, is open to anyone aged 13 years and above.
Google+ currently has about 90 million users.