Friday, January 6, 2012
Google Plus Privacy Tips
Online Privacy Google Plus So you're on Google+. You've familiarized yourself with our Google+ guide, the social network's features, and what it has that Facebook doesn't. But what about privacy? It's something for everyone to think about. Whether you're a newbie or power user, being familiar with Google+'s privacy settings (and the tips below) can help make you feel safer and more comfortable using it. Google has shown it's serious about privacy with Google+, after previous social networking efforts like Buzz raised privacy concerns. G+ is loaded with privacy settings, centered around a "circles" approach, allowing you to selectively share with whom you please. A privacy flaw raised by The Financial Times was quickly remedied by Google. In addition, TechCrunch reports that Google has acquired a privacy-centric social network. It seems users are taking advantage of the privacy options too: more than two-thirds of Google+ activity is private. Some of Google+'s privacy settings are obvious, but others are not so apparent. The tips below are a wide array of both basic and more advanced tips to feel secure on Google+. (Many thanks to those who shared tips on this G+ post.) For more on Google's views on privacy, for Google+ and beyond, see its Privacy Center. Choose Who Sees Your Posts When you start a post, you can share to your circles, extended circles, individuals or the public. Make sure "public" is NOT selected if you want to share to a limited audience. Simply select here the circle(s) or individual(s) you want to share with. You can even limit something to *just* yourself if you create a circle with no one in it. This can be used to bookmark posts or save them to read later. It's also worth keeping in mind that since "Extended Circles" means sharing to those circled by those you circle, if you're following any users who tend to circle everyone, that can mean essentially sharing publicly. If you prefer, you can hide who's in your circles. Pay particular care to this section of your profile as "who you are following could reveal something about yourself." For example, If you follow everyone at work that opens them up to being recruited by other people. Also, "if you are considering a new job and start following lots of people at your potential new job." Beyond hiding who you circle and who circles you completely, you can also hide them from public view and restrict access to those in your circles. + activity is private. Limit Who Sees Your Whole Profile See What Your Profile Looks Like to Others Share something with a limited audience and nervous it appears on your profile page? Don't worry: Not everything you see on it can be seen by others. See how other people view your profile by using the (View as...) feature on your profile page; you can see how anyone around the Web sees you or even a specific person. Go to privacy settings Click the rectangle "Edit network visiblity" On the right side of the screen, click the words "Where are you on the web?" Select "Only you" and click SAVE Now go back in, and you'll see that the setting has reverted back to what it was originally. i.e. the changes were not saved. Send private messages While Google+ doesn't have a separate "direct message" feature like Twitter, it's easy to start a private thread with someone. Simply share something but remove "public" and any circles, and replace the "share to" area with just the person's name. Remember public means indexed by google Public posts and comments are indexed by Google. It's especially important to remember this when commenting: When you chime in on a public thread, just know that the world can find it through search. So public comment threads may not be the best place to pick a fight and you'll want to be mindful of what you're posting.