Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If You Break The Rules On Google+, You Can Lose All Google Services

In order to comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, Google+ requires its users to be at least 13 years old. Last week, a 10-year old Gmail user in the Netherlands signed up for a Google+ account, and Al Jazeera reports that that's when trouble started.

The boy, Alex, was kicked off of all Google services for his terms of service violation. Furthermore, his father writes in a blog post that Google informed him that his account will be deleted in 29 days unless he can provide some proof of age (he can't).

This brings up a troubling but important point. Google rules so many markets and this makes it entirely possible to rely only on one company for managing your digital life -- email, word processing and document management, and now social networking. So play nice on Google+.

There are two sets of rules to follow. Its general terms of service applies to all things Google, and the community standards are specific to Google+. It includes things like:

no nudity or sexually explicit material

no hate speech

no impersonation of others

no publishing of someone's private or personal information

no copyright infringement

no spamming or phishing

These are all pretty common sense guidelines, but with the new precedent that you can lose all Google services for breaking them, it's a healthy reminder.

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