Google+ is now open for teens

In move that we’ve anticipated for a while, Google+ is now open to everyone 13 and over, rather than the 18 and over policy they’ve had until this point.  Specifically, Google+ is now available to anyone that is old enough to have a Google Account, which is 13+ in most countries.

Personally, I like the move.  While teens will likely bring a lot of content that I’m not interested in, that’s not a problem thanks to the circling model; I just won’t circle anyone who posts content that I don’t care to see.  In the long run this should help the growth of the service, which is good for all of us.

For more, check out the post from Bradley Horowitz introducing the change.

What do you think of it?

Google+ now supports nicknames

In a lengthy post today on Google+, Bradley Horowitz unveiled another tweak to Google’s name policy — nicknames are now allowed, as long as they’re with your full name.  In other words, you still can’t (yet) become anonymous, but it’s easier to share your unique online nicknames with other Google+ users.

Over the next week, we’ll be adding support for alternate names – be they nicknames, maiden names, or names in another script – alongside your common name. This name will show up on your Google+ profile and in the hovercards which appear over your name. In the next few weeks, we’ll be displaying it more broadly as part of your name in other areas of Google+ as well. So if you’re Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jane Doe (Smith), or Saurabh Sharma (सौरभ शर्मा), you can now communicate your identity the way you want to.

To add an alternate name, go to your Google+ profile, click Edit Profile, select your name and click on “More options.” (See attached photos)

It’s important to remember that when you change your name in Google+, you’re changing it across all services that require a Google Profile.

This will be rolling out over the next few days.  They still need a way to support people that wish to remain anonymous online, but this seems like a step in the right direction.

Business Pages are coming to Google+

As it stands right now, Google+ is for people only — no businesses.  In fact, Google has made it very clear that brands and organizations should not have a presence on Google+ at this point in the field test.  However, business pages are coming soon.

Search Engine Land has the full details, but Google’s Bradley Horowitz made it obvious:

Let me be clear – and I’m sorry if this wasn’t obvious – we are not currently supporting brands, organizations, and non-human entities in the Google+ field trial. While we should have been clearer about this, there are some fields in the registration form (asking for a first name, a last name, an age and a gender) that indicate that.

Supporting these non-human entities is an obviously great feature – we have no allergy to it at all! It’s just not part of the system we are currently testing.

The field trial has limitations that I know are frustrating – ranging from lack of “obvious” features to inability to invite the people you most want to share with… We weren’t kidding when we said this was early and a test… and if the product leads to more frustration than you can bear, then that’s understandable and I promise that you will see fast and meaningful progress… and you can jump back in when we meet your bar for minimum viable functionality.

More importantly, Google’s head of Commerce, Jeff Huber, said the following in a comment on Mike Blumenthal’s blog:

And pre-emptively answering a question — yes, we will have (smb) business profile pages on Google+. I can’t announce a launch date yet, but we want to make them *great*, and we’re coding as fast as we can.

So they’re coming… eventually.  Given Google’s rapid development pace so far, I expect we’ll see them fairly soon.  I sure hope so.