Google+ Privacy

I take a lot of things for granted with social media because I’ve been using it for a long time and I assume sometimes that people know the basics. But I never assume that with privacy. Google+ privacy has me in a tizzy because while although it seems like everything is on one page, it’s really not. Albeit easier to understand than most privacy settings. Here we go…

When you go into Google+ privacy settings you get this giant page of stuff (below). Essentially it’s divided into 3 sections: Account settings, Sharing settings, and Google+ stuff settings. Let’s dive in:

Account Settings

I like how Google is upfront about the fact that anything that you make public in your profile is searchable on the web and may appear in Google search results. They even supply a nice photo of you in an ad. Nice touch.

Then the next item is logically of course, your public information. Here is where you can edit what you make public from your profile to everyone, individuals or in your circles. Click the button “Edit visibility on profile” and then once the page refreshes, click in any section and determine whether that portion of your profile is public and to whom. For example, I make my Introduction and Occupation public to anyone on the web, but my links and where I went to school I only make public to my Circles or to just me.

Google+ Privacy Settings Public Search

When you are finished, Google makes it handy by allowing you the ability to type in any one of your friends and seeing what they will see when viewing your profile.

My profile on Google+

Sharing Settings

Circles – your circles and who are in them are visible only to you, however, if you feel like over-sharing you can edit the setting but NOT here. Here you can only manage your circles. You see why I find this annoying? Personally, I protect my list and hide it. Here’s how you do it (the default is, of course, everyone can see your circles).

To hide the visibility of your circles you can go back to the first step above and ‘Edit visibility on profile.’ On the left under your photo you have the option of controlling whether you show everyone who you’ve added to your circles or who has added you to their circles.  Click ‘Change who is visible here’ and you’ll get the pop-up. (see image below). Or you can go to the next option Network visibility (see below photo). Both get you to the same place.

Who can see my circles on Google+
Network Visibility – here’s where you can control which people appear in your profile. The names of your circles are NEVER revealed.

Who can share posts with you – this is where you can control your stream (in Facebook language that would be ‘news feed’). Your stream only includes people you’ve added to your circles. However, anyone can share a post with you. To view posts that others have shared with you who are not in  your circles, click on the button here for ‘View Incoming posts.’

Who posts are shared with – this is a biggie. You can control who sees your posts by changing the indicator on each post. The indicator will default to the group of circles you included on your last post that you shared. But there is currently no place yet to set a standard default. Here is where you can also share posts with folks that aren’t on Google+ yet but whom you’ve  invited. (see image below). In Google’s words, “For convenience, new posts default to the last set of people you shared a post with, but you can change that before you post.”

Who sees your posts on Google+

Google+ Stuff (i.e. Photos, Sparks and Hangouts)

Photos – you have a lot of options here. You can specify who can automatically tag you in a photo, decide if you want the location where you took the photo to be posted when you upload them, and you can decide if you want to include a Photos Tab in your profile at all. One thing that was scary here is that if you use other Google products like Blogger, which I do for another blog I write on the nonprofit industry, it pulls that data too.

The tagging and the location we covered in the Google+ Email and SMS Notifications post last week. But whether or not you want a Photos tab at all to appear can be determined in ‘Edit photo settings’, scroll to bottom of page and click on the Photos link in the last line. (see image below.)

Photo settings for Google+

You can decide if you want the videos tab to show in your profile here as well. When you click the ‘photos’ link above, you are brought here:

Google+ Photo settings

Once you are in this space, you can also determine if you want to show a listing of everything you +1’d on the web. There’s no customizing these options, it’s either on or off.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions about Google+ Privacy, leave a comment below or ping me on Twitter. Cheers!

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.