Google+ is the rave. It did not take long for the social community to fall in love and abandon their beloved Twitter and Facebook accounts and be incredibly apologetic about their absence. It so far has been living up to the love it has been given however, with any new platform we have to spend a little time learning the ins and outs before we are met with the annoying side. There is always one, and Google+ is no different. The people are not annoying, the opted in privacy settings are. I guess if you are going to create a profile that is similar to Facebook, you also have to ensure that most settings are opt-out instead of opt-in. After spending a week or so with Google+, I became quite intimate with the settings after my Gmail nearly exploded.
How to Opt Out of the Most Important Google+ Settings
1. Email Notifications. It is wonderful when you are added to a circle. However, what is not wonderful are the individual email alerts that have overrun our Gmail accounts. To opt out of these notifications is actually very simple.
a. In your Google+ account in the right had corner next to “Share” click on the gears icon which brings a drop down menu.
b. At the drop down menu, click on Google+ Privacy Settings.
c. A new window pops up which clearly displays all of notification settings. Uncheck those that you wish not to be notified about and the setting is automatically saved. In other words, no need for a “big ass save button.”
2. Emails. Your Google email address is not exposed however, if you do not opt-out, anyone on the web (if you have it set to that) that finds your profile, can send you an email. There are different settings contained within a drop down that you can opt for or you can opt out completely of people sending you emails. This of course is a personal choice, and, as people are still playing around with the platform, the emails have not been that overwhelming but, like with anything, there are folks out there that once they get wind that this email feature is available, it will be abused. To change your setting and/or opt out of receiving emails all together it is not as visible as the notification emails.
a. Repeat steps a and b above.
b. Click on “Profile & Privacy.”
c. Click “Edit visibility on profile” (to the right of Public profile information)
d. Under your photo and above your circles information, there is the “send an email” box with an icon next to it. Click on that icon.e. Depending upon which setting you wish to have (anyone on the web, extended circles, your circles, only you and custom. NOTE: each has its own icon so when you are clicking the icon, it may not be the same as which is shown above). A box pops up asking “Who can send me an email?” If you wish to opt out completely, uncheck the “Allow people to email me from a link on my profile” box and save settings. If you want people in your circles to be able to send you an email, leave the box checked and select from the drop down. When you click “Custom” it allows you to select certain circles and/or people you wish to share with.
NOTE: if you opt out, a padlock will appear next to the send an email meaning it is locked.
3. Edit Posts, Delete Posts, Disable Reshare & Comments. Each of your posts can be edited or deleted by clicking the icon to the top right of that post. Also contained in this drop down is the ability to disable reshare or comments. The are some posts, not many that you do not want reshared. On Twitter, if you tweet about your awful bout with heartburn from that fast food you should not have eaten, it can, and for some, be retweeted a gazillion times. While some will say if you tweet it, it is free reign to be retweeted, we know that sometimes we are just letting it out and really do not want it retweeted. To disable resharing or comments on the post, click it in the drop down. You can change your mind and enable the resharing or comments the same way.
4. Photo GeoLocation. Your photos when taken with your smartphone contains the geolocation information. If you do not wish for this information to be public (although as we know once it is uploaded, it is available) Google+ will not display the information. To disable photo geolocation,
a. Once again repeat steps a and b above and scroll down to under the email notifications to Photos and uncheck the “Show photo geo location information in newly uploaded albums and photos” box.
5. Photo Tagging. Some like to be photo tagged or cannot spend the time to approve each person who wishes to tag them. For those that are not fans of the open photo tagging and want the ability to approve photo tagging, you can disable automatic approval for photo tagging or set which circles can automatically photo tag.
a. Scroll down to under the email notifications to Photos. To disable automatic photo tagging all together, delete all circles that are contained in the box under “People whose tags of you are automatically approved to link to your Profile.” If only certain circle can automatically tag you, then add that circle(s).
6. Web History. Unsure of what you have searched for or how long it has been tracked? In the drop down menu in the gears icon has “web history” which will show you your searched performed by time and date for every single search (unless you had paused the web history tracking. This does not stop Google tracking you, just stops collecting the searches into your web history. Pausing does cease tracking the data to be used for personalization search). To opt out of web history all together, you really cannot. You can sign out of your Google account but once you sign back in, it will start tracking again, unless you pause it. To pause the web history, click on the gears icon, web history and at the top, Pause web history. You can change it back to resume however, as you can see, there seems to be a delay in the notification that it is back on.
My web history was tracked back to May 2009. You can delete your web history by selecting Remove.
7. Leaving Google+. Break-ups happen and when it is time to go, it is time to go. Some leave a memory or two behind whereas others grab it all and get out of dodge as fast as they can. Google+ understands and has provided some options if you wish to say good-bye.
a. Delete Google account(s). This is the most drastic measure but hey, when it is time to go, ya just gotta go. If you do delete your account, you will be losing access to ALL of your Google accounts including Gmail, Google Docs, etc.
b. Delete profile and remove associated social features. This will only delete your Google+ account and all of your postings.
To delete entirely or just your Google+ and the contents therein, click on the gears icon, Google+ settings as we have explained above.
a. Click up on the top left, “Account Overview.”
b. Scroll down to “Services” and select your desired option and follow any additional steps as prompted by Google.
c. Hide Profile. If you are not ready to completely leave a trace of you on Google+, you can hide your profile by changing your visibility settings. Your name and photo (unless you delete it, will be still visible as will any postings in comments, on other user profiles, etc). To change your visibility, click edit my profile, click on each section and determine how visible you wish this to be. Note, the icons that are next to each section tell you how your information is currently shared. Spend some time learning these icons or at least familiarizing yourself with them as you will see them over and over.
These are the most important settings that I was able to find. They are relatively easy to find and also edit. The icons for each of the levels as to who can see your information seem to be Google’s way of teaching us new visuals to remember. Once you get the hang of it, it is easy to look at your profile and see which parts of your settings you need to manage. Most are set to everyone on the web so if you are not looking to have this profile open or only part open (if you do not delete your phone number which is just clicking the X when in edit mode) or changing who it is visible to, it will be exposed. Many will leave it in as their number is on their website but then again, bringing people who want to contact you to your website is not a bad thing. It does deter them from having to find it and not having it front and center on your Google+ profile.
Thoughts on Google+? Most I see are using it to manage their social community and cleaning up their Facebook. It makes a lot of sense as Facebook is an opt-in and Google+ is not. Or maybe it is just a fad and we will return back to Facebook once Google+ gets too noisy?