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Google+ rising above all

by JULIA DEMARCO Staff Writer

Google has finally shown progress in its new social network, Google+, increasing to 90 million users at the start of the new year. CEO of Google, Larry Page, and Computer Engineer Vic Gandutra came up with the idea of Google+ in August 2010. The main idea was to challenge the “King of the Social Networks,” Facebook. It launched June 29, 2011. During late December, Google+ gained 49 million new users, which improved its humble beginnings in June. That is 55 percent higher compared to their user rate in November. Despite online criticism and false claims that Google+ was merely a Facebook double, Google+ has thrived. “We’re very excited about the growth we’ve had and we’ve certainly seen a tremendous number of people added every day,” Page says. In comparison, Facebook took four years to reach 90 million users; Google+ did it in seven months. Horowitz and Page noticed if they lowered the age restriction to 13, they would have a larger variety of users, especially if they are looking to gain more users. The average age of most users that joined Google+ has been unsteady due to Google’s change to their Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy; both changed because of Google+. “I joined Google+ about a month ago. It’s pretty interesting except for the fact that not a lot of kids our age have one,” said freshman Danielle Schiavone. Many blogs and reviews changed the way Google+ was labeled. Instead of “new and improved” they were being thought of as “reused and recycled.” According to The Atlantic‘s article, ”Facebook’s 10 Most Serious Threats,” Google is listed as number five, saying, “It already dominates search, has hundreds of millions of people signed up on a social media network, and owns a big slice of the smart phone market.” The Google+ team continually makes changes to the site, estimating 30- 40 new features, themes, and apps every month. A few features added recently were the two new badges, including the +1 follower count. A second add-on were new color schemes, including a dark and light background. What separates Google+ from Facebook is the idea of “circles.” These social circles allow users to group friends by titles. For example, a circle could be named “Work” and the person could add the people they work with and restrict what content they see. Vice President of Google+, Bradley Horowitz, said, “The difference between friends, acquaintances and strangers is a crucial one- especially for teens.” “I think that Google+ will become very successful, especially since Facebook has been experiencing problems with the SOPA bill,” said sophomore Ryan Sosnak.

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