The pop idol group AKB48 announced on Thursday that all members will join the social networking service Google+ to connect with fans worldwide. The project team plans to offer translations of the female singers' posts in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Indonesian. The announcement came as AKB48 celebrated its sixth anniversary on Thursday.
The 260 total performers in AKB48 and its sister groups, such as SKE48 and NMB48, will post messages, pictures, and videos using Google+. Due to the popularity of AKB48's founding concept "idols you can meet," the project's creators want to provide a new way for fans to interact with all the groups' singers. Because Google+ accounts are restricted to people over the age of 18, an account called "Heyakko" will post on behalf of the younger idols.
Each AKB48 and sister group member will be able to video chat with up to nine fans using Google+'s Hangout feature. The singers also intend to use the service to post live from events including the "AKB48 Kōhaku Taikou Uta Gassen" song battle on December 20 and the “AKB48 Request Hour Setlist Best 100 2012″ concert event in January.