How Google+ do on Privacy?


7 Apr 2011
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Since the launch of its Google+ social-networking project, Google has been re-working and tweaking the service based on user feedback, and two privacy-related features will be added in the coming days, as well as a more simplified feed.

Google has been burned on social-related privacy issues in the past, most notably via Buzz, which resulted in class-action and Federal Trade Commission settlements. As a result, all eyes are on the search giant when it comes to Google+; has it learned its lesson or do privacy holes still exist?

Part of the reason Google+ is in this "field trial" stage and not open to the public is so the company can get a sense of how people use it and fix any problems that surface before it goes live. To that end, users have already made suggestions that Google plans to implement.

One concern on the privacy front was the "share" option. If you posted a photo, for example, anyone in your group of friends, or "circle," could share that with anyone in their network with one click. After you post, there's the option to disable sharing, but it's not particularly clear.

"While many of you love the option to share others' posts, some of you weren't quite sure how it worked," Google software engineer Kelly Ellis said in Friday video message.

As a result, Google+ users will now see a pop-up tip when they post telling them how to disable sharing if that's what they prefer. Starting next week, meanwhile, posts that have been designated as limited (or not open to everyone on Google+) will not be shared publicly. Google couldn't provide any additional details on how exactly that would work; users will have to check back next week.

"On Google+, you should be in control of who sees your post," Ellis said.

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