Google+, the social network where nothing really happens but lots of people have profiles, got an update this week including a revamped Terms of Service.
Part of the reason why Google+ has so many users if that for a period of 2 ½ years, you had to have a Google+ account to resister a YouTube account (registering allows a user to comment and upload videos; casual video viewers can do so without an account) and the two were linked. Since most teens use YouTube, there’s a good chance your teen already has a Google+ account, and isn’t doing much with it.
This week, Google is effectively splitting Google Photos into a separate, standalone app, and has announced that storage and backup for an unlimited number of photos and videos is free. That’s a very good deal.
With the new platform comes an updated Terms of Service for all related platforms – Google Photos, Hangouts and Google+ itself.
What’s new/different in the TOS:
- Sexually explicit photos and video are still prohibited
- “Naturalistic and documentary” nudity is allowed, as is nudity used in educational materials
- Warnings against harassment of any kind have been strengthened
- Trolls are on warning – no user is allowed to have multiple accounts
The prohibition against multiple accounts is a good one but will be difficult to enforce. It is significant because if someone is harassing you on a social media platform, you can usually block or report that user and make it stop, but the harasser can easily just open another account and continue the abuse. We guess that Google has as good shot at anyone at enforcing that.
There are some privacy concerns, especially related to pictures of users and their families. Google Photos will use facial recognition software, but only to organize user photos by who is in them. Google stated this week that they have no monetization plans for Google Photos yet, so users shouldn’t be seeing ads based on which photos they appear in, at least for now. That is a risk down the road though, as is the risk that user photos actually start showing up in ads.
Overall it looks as though Google is trying to be more user friendly, which is a good thing since it looks as though Google Photos will be a big success.
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