Idol group AKB48 celebrated their 6th anniversary today (December 8), and they took the occasion to hold a press conference to announce a new project. Along with sister groups SKE48 and NMB48, AKB48’s members have created accounts on Google’s social networking service Google+. They will use the service to communicate with their fans worldwide, as there are plans to have their posts translated into at least five languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Indonesian.
The project includes at least all of the official teams and research students for AKB48, SKE48, and NMB48, though HKT48 and JKT48 have also been mentioned as part of the project. Although Google+ currently is limited to people at least 18 years of age, the underage members have been lumped together under the “Heyakko” account, which will post on their behalf.
The members plan to make use of Google+’s Hangout feature, which is a built-in group voice/video chat feature. This allows members to interact in real time with fans around the world. Hangouts currently allow for 10 people in a group at a time, so there are plans to have individual members to have chat sessions with 9 fans at once.
The members are already posting plenty of photos and videos to their accounts. They also plan to use the service to post live from their events and concerts, including their “AKB48 Kouhaku Taikou Uta Gassen” on December 20 and their “AKB48 Request Hour Setlist Best 100 2012” on January 19-22.
Google+ has a project page with links to all of the individual AKB48, SKE48, and NMB48 accounts.