3 Tips to Keep Your Privacy on Google+

Despite the short shrift Google’s attempt at social networking gets, it’s really just one face of the massive, many-headed hydra that is Google: think Gmail, Google Maps, Docs, Drive, Play, YouTube, Android and scads more. But while Google collects a lot of the same info Facebook does (and beyond), it’s a little more transparent about it, and in many cases, lets you look under the hood to see some of what’s going on. The difficulty is that, like all Google products, the controls are very granular, so there are tons of options to fiddle with.

Your first choice is to consider the nuclear option in order to thwart the Goog’s switch last year, which forced users to consolidate their accounts across 60 properties. (Yeah, it was a little controversial.) Your only resort to not have what for many will be a nearly comprehensive view of your entire online existence consolidated is to ditch all your previous accounts and start new ones for as many services as possible, using a variety of email addresses. Then you can go back and make a few key changes to your original account.

1. Disable Your Web History

After a humbling peek, eliminate what Google knows you’ve been searching for.

  • Click Sign In To Dashboard and enter your password.

  • Scroll down to the Web History portion of the page and click “Remove items of clear Web History.”

  • Select which items you’d like to remove from your Web history, day by day, or select all to delete your entire Web history.

  • Click Remove Items. This will remove your history for the past few days. You’ll have to go back manually to remove it all.

2. Limit Access to Your Profile.

  • Like it or not, Google keeps a public profile on you. Remember, less is more.

  • Click Sign In To Dashboard and enter your password.

  • Edit Profile beneath the Profile section of the Dashboard.

  • Click on any item in your profile to change what it says and who is able to see it. Choices include Extended Circles, Public, Your Circles, Only You and Custom.

  • Select Custom to lock your profile to a few people.

  • Click Save > Done Editing.

3. Adjust Who Sees Your Status Updates

With Google Plus, you have much easier control over who can read what. You can set up Circles for people you’d share anything with, work people, your craft beer club, gardening buddies and the rest.

  • Click the Circles tab on the left.

  • Drag your friends into various circles, separated in any way you see fit.

  • Click the “Add names, circles, or email addresses” bar beneath any status update you plan to post and select the correct circle from the drop-down menu.

  • Disable your friends’ ability to share your post or comment on it by clicking Disable Comments from the drop-down on the right.

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