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5 Things You Misunderstand About Google+ Privacy

If you have a Google+ profile that you don’t use all that much, you might be inclined to think that G+ privacy isn’t something you need to worry about. Unfortunately, that’s not quite true — in fact, the less you use Google+, the more likely you are to be overlooking the privacy settings. So, whether you're a regular user or an occasional lurker, here’s what you need to know:

1. Your profile is probably public

You might not post as many personal things on G+ as you do on Facebook, but you probably still filled out your profile when you signed up — and you probably don’t want that information available to everyone on the Internet. Want to fix that? Click here.

2. Strangers can email you

Google+ won’t give out your email address, but it will allow users to send messages to that address. Disable this under Google+ settings > Profile and privacy > Edit visibility on profile. Uncheck “Allow people to email me from a link on my profile”.

3. People can share your posts

Whenever you post on G+, your friends can share that post with anyone in their circles. Most of the time, that’s fine — but if you want to share something personal, you might want to disable this feature. Click the little drop-down arrow next to your post and choose “disable re-share”.

4. You probably don't know who's in your circles

The "share to circles" feature can really help you keep your privacy, providing you use it properly. Chances are, when you first joined Google+, you just added everyone to "friends" -- creating separate lists doesn't seem worth it when you only have a handful of connections. It's a good idea to organise your circles every few months, just to make sure nobody's in the wrong group and seeing things they shouldn't be.

5. Your private conversations don't have to be public

Google+ doesn't have a built-in private messaging system like Facebook and Twitter, but you can still send messages to a particular person without sharing with the world. Write a message like you normally would, and then change the visibility so that only that person is on the list.

How public is YOUR Google+ profile? Are your privacy settings more relaxed on G+ than they are on other networks? If so, why? Let us know in the comments!

You can find Mary C. Long on Twitter or connect with her here.