Colleges laud Google+ age restriction change, safety features

An ed-tech expert says Google is erring on the side of caution.

Campus technology officials said they are more likely to create an official Google+ presence after the nascent social network announced Jan. 26 that the former Google+ age requirement of 18 has been lowered to 13.

Google’s age restriction had prevented at least one university from expanding its social media reach into Google+, because some of its students come to campus while they’re still 17, and until Jan. 26, were not eligible for a Google+ account.

Along with the lowering of its age requirement–which could help Google+ compete with Facebook–Google detailed a series of safety measures that would be included for its youngest social network members.…Read More

Google to merge user data across more services

Google says it will 'suggest search queries' for users.

Google announced a plan Jan. 24 to link user data across its eMail, video, social-networking, and other services that it says will create a “beautifully simple and intuitive” user experience. But critics raised privacy concerns like those that helped kill the search giant’s Buzz social networking service.

The changes, which take effect March 1, will remove some of the legal hurdles Google Inc. faces in trying to link information across services from Gmail to YouTube to the Google Plus social network that replaced Buzz.

More than 70 different company policies are being streamlined into one main privacy policy and about a dozen others. Separate policies will continue to govern products such as Google’s Chrome web browser and its Wallet service for electronic payments.…Read More

Google search gets more personal, raises hackles

Activists says Google's latest announcement is 'unfair' to web users.

Google is sifting through the photos and commentary on its blossoming social network so its internet search results can include more personal information.

The additional personal touches that began to roll out Tuesday mark another step toward one of Google’s most ambitious goals. The internet search leader eventually hopes to know enough about each of its users so it can tailor its results to fit the unique interests of each person looking for something.

Different people should start seeing different search results more frequently now that Google Inc. is importing content from its 6-month-old Plus service, a product that the company introduced in an attempt to counter the popularity of Facebook’s online hangout and Twitter’s short-messaging hub.…Read More

Google’s social media shortcomings could stunt Google Plus on campuses

Google Plus's 'circles' have drawn educators' interest.

College students won’t have to worry about their professors spotting drunken party pictures on Google Plus, the search giant’s latest attempt at social networking. Getting those students and faculty to sign up for a Google Plus account, however, might be difficult, campus technology leaders say.

The company’s failed attempts to create a social media site that can compete with Facebook—known as Google Buzz and Google Wave—could dampen excitement about Google Plus, a site that allows the sharing of photos, updates, and recommended content among friends and professionals.

Google Plus members can create “circles” that make it easy to pick and choose which online friends you can share certain items with. For example, college students might include a professor in a circle discussing recent course-related research, but keep the professor out of a circle displaying photos of Friday night’s beer pong tournament.…Read More