March 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM ET
While Facebook and Twitter do their darndest to reach themasses, Google+ is tapping into the heretofore unrealized market -- lazy Furries.
Or so it would seem.
Roleplaying members of the fandom of fictional anthropomorphic animal characters who can't be bothered to pop on a school mascot-style moosehead or even a bunny ear headband now have more options via Google+ Hangouts. Thesocial network nobody cares about recently rolled out a new set of facialeffects for Google+ Hangouts -- the group video chat which allows up to 10participants -- a virtual kitty face and doggie ears and muzzle among them. Forget cosplay conventions! You don't even need to leave the house.
Like the moustache effect and antlers already available viaGoogle+ video plug-in, participants need only click an icon and thetransformation is complete -- from where your friends are sitting anyway. Likemagic (except you know, it's science), the effect or animal mask appears onyour face, never leaving your countenance even as you move your head around. Othernew effects include devil horns and an angel halo -- you know, if that's thething you're into.
Obviously, we're extrapolating Google's intent with this funnew feature -- Google mentions nothing about the Furry fandom in the Google+blog post announcing the latest masks, let alone Furries of a slothful nature.(Note: No sloth mask effects yet, anthropomorphic or otherwise.) But if that was the plan, it'd hardly be theworst idea to come from the search giant. (That distinction goes to, arguably, Google Buzz.)
Plenty of companies, tech or otherwise, rose to wealth and power serving the needs ofa niche audience. And Furries without the time or energy (or air conditioning)to virtually hangout in the guise of their particular fandom is about as nicheas it gets.