Google Plus is growing at a rapid pace. A study done by comScore says that Google has managed to attract 20 Million Users within three weeks. There is no doubt that social networkers are flocking to Google Plus, but so are cybercriminals and spammers. Experts at Kaspersky Lab recently stated that Google+ has seen a surge in spam, and users have been receiving unsolicited emails, containing phishing links and malicious code. Google+ profiles are also more public, compared to sites like Facebook, where you cannot view the posts of only those you are not connected to. All this is causing security and privacy concerns among new Google+ users and they are wondering whether or not they should join Google+.
These things need not be a matter of worry, if you have your privacy settings in place and know how to use the site. Here are few things that you can do to ensure you are safe and secure on Google Plus.
Select who can view your Personal Information
You Google Plus profile is public by default, and your personal information can be viewed by everyone on the web, including those in your Circles. To allow only selective people to view your personal information, you have to go to the privacy setting page and choose the appropriate option. Follow these instructions to change your settings:
Click on your Name on the top of the browser window and go to the ‘Privacy’ option in the dropdown menu.
This will take you to a new page, Choose ‘Profile and privacy’ from the menu on the left-hand side of the page.
Click on the ‘Edit visibility on profile’, under your name appearing on the right side of the page
Now, you will be taken to your profile page where you can change the visibility settings for each item on your ‘About’ page and select who can view your photos and videos. You can choose from the options – Everyone on the web, Extended Circles, Circles, only you or customize the visibility further for each person in your network. Don’t forget to click on the ‘Finished Editing’ tab that appears on the top of the browser, once you are done with all the editing.
Do you want to appear in Search Results?
By default, your profile will appear in search results of Google and other search engines. Go to the Privacy Settings Page and change the ‘Search Visibility’, if you don’t want search engines to index your profile.
Change the Visibility of your Circles
You might not want the people in your network to see all your Circles and all the people you are connected to. In that case, you can hide certain Circles from those who view your profile. Click on the small circle that appears next to ‘In Your Circles’. In the new page that appears you can choose the Circles that you want to be seen on your profile and uncheck those you want to be hidden. There is no customize option though, so the visibility settings cannot be extended to those within a Circle, so either everyone in that Circle is visible or none of them.
You can also choose whether or not you want people to see ‘Those who have you in their Circles.’
Share Information with the appropriate Circle
While publishing posts, choose the visibility of your posts. You can make it Public or Share it with Extended Circles, Circles, or specific people within your Circles.
Other Privacy Settings
Email: Control who can email you, by changing the settings of ‘Send an Email’ option under your photo.
Block a Person: When you block a person, you can no longer see this person’s content in your stream. The person will be removed from your circles and won’t be able to comment on your content. They can however, see your public posts like everyone else.
Be Careful when you comment on other People’s Posts
You cannot control the visibility of your comments. The visibility will depend on the privacy settings of the person on whose post you are commenting. If they have made the post public it would be visible to all. So, be careful about what you say in your comments.
ZoneAlarm, a consumer Internet security company has published an infographic on this topic. You can check out this info-graphic for some Google+privacy tips.
These are some basic tips to solve your privacy issues and protect you from social media stalkers on Google Plus. Feel free to add your ideas on this, in the comments section.