Google+ Ends Private Profiles

Many users of social networking sites (primarily Facebook) have opted to take the privacy thing to the extreme and basically hide from everyone they don’t want to be friends with. No search will discover their name, and even those able to somehow find their profile through more direct methods are barred from seeing a stitch of information about them--no profile photo, no favorite movies, no Farmville activity, nothing.

Still others prefer to use a pseudonym on social networking sites, which offers further anonymity, and which Google+ does not allow.

Some users of Google+ have endeavored to take that same hyper-private approach with the nearly-new social network by having a private profile. However, Google has decided that it is having none of it.

Google+ Help article on profiles

Call it a line-in-the-sand statement, a simple but important tweak to a blossoming social network, or something in between, but Google made it clear in a help article that private profiles are being axed. Or perhaps more accurately, they’re being phased out--according to the article, Google planned to start deleting private profiles “sometime after” July 31st. Why so vague, Google?

Users with private profiles have three options: they can change their profile setting from private, delete their account, or simply wait for Google to delete it for them. (Technically, however, that’s only two options, as only one of those courses of action spares the user a deleted G+ account.)

Although some users will be deeply dismayed by this development, all that users have to display is their full name; thanks to G+’s granular and delightfully comprehensive profile controls, everything else can remain private.

Of course, for some users, that’s still too much exposure.

Further, for many, this edict and other measures feel uncomfortably familiar to the heavy-handedness and indifference to user complaints (perceived or real) that Facebook is infamous for.

For those looking to G+ as a refreshing alternative to Facebook, this development may give them pause, or at least a decent excuse for a loud sigh.
Tags:  Google, Facebook