Welcome the 13 year olds! Google Plus is trying to make themselves more competitive with Facebook. Though the social network is turning out to be more like a Twitter/Facebook hybrid, Facebook is still it’s #1 competitor and Twitter will likely remain a complimentary social network.
Until recently Google+ has been for 18 years and older. They recognize that teenagers are the biggest demographic for social networks, despite massive growth in the 25-34 age group, especially when it comes to new technology. However, it does leave open the question of security. Right now Google+ seems to be a site for adults with adult content, and no I don’t just mean X rated. I mean real adult content where not everything people post is pictures of kittens. Because the site has been filled with the more tech savvy, in many way the content has mirrored this. Will opening up the site to the teens bring down the posting quality? Or will we have learned a lesson from Facebook and keep these circles separate.
The circle feature of Google+ does promote an easier separation. Despite their efforts to compete with Google Plus, Facebook has never been conducive to easy use of their list features. Google+ has made it a part of the site right off the bat. This separation of groups might give more value to the circles and help keep the quality of content on the network from sliding down to kittens and babies.
The network is taking stricter precautions when it comes to who the teens will be able to circle. They are planning to limit it to teenagers only being able to circle other teenagers. Seems like a good start. Now what keeps someone from putting up a fake profile (ahem..remember Myspace)? Well, nothing that we can tell. But it is likely that they will have learned from their irrelevant social network pal (Myspace), that you do need some safeguards.
Opening up the social network will be beneficial as it will bring a wider audience to the network. Many people adopt a network after their kid have played around on it, look at Facebook. So hopefully this will be a boon for the network and not a big hit for all of us who like to keep the kiddies in the kiddie pool.