Google+ is not for kids

If you attempt to sign in to Google+, the search giant’s latest social thing (available now on your phone via Android Market, coming soon to iPhone as a native app), the system will cut you off if you are not over a certain age, putting up this warning (thanks, @admhawrth):

Could not sign you in to Google+. You must be over a certain age to use Google+.

By the way, what’s a certain age anyway and why don’t they make public the age limit? Because Google+ authorizes users with their Google Account, which is widely used across other Google properties, the system can tell your age by looking up the birth date information in your account.

Of course, kids can circumvent this by creating a brand new account and lying about their age, but the vast majority of ordinary users would prefer using Google+ with their real Google identity. The fun part? You cannot change the year of birth in your Google account. Also notice how the mobile Google+ site cleverly replicates standard iOS 5 dialogue box…

Even though Google is indirectly alluding that Google+ is no replacement for other social services, its executives have taken a few not-so-subtle swipes at Facebook. Chairman Eric Schmidt recently opined that other social networks cater to “every friend you’ve ever had, including the ones you can’t quite remember,” for example. And senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra wrote in a blog post that “today’s online services turn friendship into fast food-wrapping everyone in ‘friend’ paper” whereas in real life “people in fact share selectively all the time – with their circles,” in a nod at perhaps the most distinctive feature of Google+.

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