Google’s social networking site, Google+, continues to grow in popularity. But as with all social media sites, over-sharing your personal information is easy to do on Google+. Use these 10 tips to help you navigate the murky privacy waters of this latest social media platform:
- Profile Management: Use the profile editing hub to establish what information you do and don’t want to share with the world. By selecting different privacy settings you can share everything with everyone, certain information with groups of your choosing and you can keep some information visible to just you. Click the “View profile as…” button to see how these different settings look in practice. If you don’t want to be found by visitors, scroll to the bottom of the Edit page to disable ‘search visibility.’
- Circle Management: Circles in Google+ allow you to choose which groups of friends, family, coworkers, etc. sees which things you share. You could make everything visible to everyone, but then you’d kind of be missing the point of Google+. And anyhow, you probably don’t want your parents looking at everything you share with your friends.
- Network Visibility: Your Circles are never visible to the outside world, but by default your friends are. If you want to change that, go to the Privacy tab, then Sharing and click ‘Edit network visibility.’ From there simply uncheck whoever you wish to hide.
- To Group Message or Not to Group Message: Group messaging is built into the Google+ mobile app that falls somewhere between texting and Twitter. But be careful about how you manage your circles and check carefully before you send a group message – otherwise you could end up messaging your entire G+ network about what happened last night, not just last night’s Circle.
- G+PS: Like Facebook, Google+ lets you tell people where you are when you share something. For those who don’t wish to give that type of information out – and geolocation is of great interest to hackers – this is an easy feature to disable in the Settings menu.
- +1 Privacy: When you “Like” something on Facebook, everybody sees it. Choosing “+1” on Google+ is the equivalent of the Facebook “Like” but with the ability – based on Circles – to control who sees it. You should know, though, that while you have control over which of your followers sees your +1s, Google retains the right to collect and share aggregate information of all +1s with its advertisers.
- Sneaky Pseudonyms: One of the many similarities that Google+ shares with Facebook is that it does not approve of its members using false identities for their profiles. But, like with Facebook, this is easy enough to get around if a pseudonym is credible – aka, not over the top – and is connected to a legit email address.
- Sharing ‘Links’: G+ lets you use its “Links” feature to associate other facets of your online life – Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, your personal blog, etc. – under its umbrella. You can control who sees your links through Circles.
- Instant Sharing: Google+ makes it easy – probably too easy, for some – to share photos. That’s because if you use a Google Android device and take a picture on it, your photos are instantly uploaded to a private Picasa web folder for potential future sharing. Instant Upload is easy enough to disable – just go into the G+ app, click on Menu, then Settings and at the top of the screen uncheck “Instant Upload.”