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Great news! I'm proud to announce Google+ Profiles is launching a new privacy enhancement in response to user feedback. Starting later this week, you will be able to set the privacy setting of your gender on your Google+ Profile just as you control other information about yourself. :-)
Andrij “Andrew” Harasewych's profile photoBrian Clary's profile photoDaniel R.'s profile photoRodney Mckinney's profile photo
Sounds great, can't wait to see it. LOVE that you guys are listening to user feedback.
Cool! I actually know a couple of people who didn't join because of that particular issue. Well done!
Dave B
Good to see such a quick turnaround from feedback to implementation. Keep up the good work, Googlers!
Thanks for the heads up, more choice is always good!
Thanks so much! Can't wait to post this on!
Too late now, everyone already knows I'm a dude! :D j/k Nice response to a delicate issue. Google #win
gender? will this help a boy named Sue
I'll caption this and edit my reshare with the transcript in a few.
Nice to see the responsiveness of the team.
That IS good news, Frances. Was talking to a friend today who's been stalked online, and her biggest concern seems to be seeing that repeated.
Nicely done and we should see a rebalance in these Google+ Stats: Gender Distribution Male 74%, Female 25%, Other 1%, Left Blank 1%... ;)
Andrew Y.
Any option to hide our profile pictures from "Anyone on the Web"? (btw, thanks!)
I had no idea hiding your gender was an issue.
Wow... Gender is private... What has the world come to...
+Frances Haugen which pronouns are you gonna use in languages that doesn't have gender neutral pronouns? (almost every language other than english)
So really, what is the point of hiding your gender? People can't tell from your name or picture? Or is using a fake name ok? Or is this more like for the transgender crowd or whatever? Impersonating a police officer is a crime, so why is it ok to impersonate a gender that you are not?
Hi Frances, does Google+ have a blog that centralizes communication of feature updates like this?
Really? People care about hiding their gender? How strange.

I still want to know why I can't add my birthday and see friends birthdays and link them automatically to my GMail contacts and have them show up in my Google Calendar. Allow that, then I will be impressed! ;)
Jason Boe
you could say, "x added you to a Google+ circle."
Glad to see google listens to their users but looking forward to some more interesting upgrades
using "their" incorrectly is worse than identifying someone's gender
cool.... add me to your circle
Not sure that we have to understand it....just think it is great that they are listening.The point is that there must be a large amount pf people that don't want to share their gender, it is there right not to have is nice that Google is giving us more options even if we don't fully understand. I fall in love with Google more and more everyday. Thank you for all your hard work!
I never had an issue with this, but it was a pretty odd requirement. If it was an issue for some people, then I'm glad its been changed. Thanks for listening to your users.
Any added control over my own information is always welcome!
Haha, grammatically perfectly... i get it. i am smartly.
I'm so glad the Google team decided to do the right thing!
How do we post one some one elses profile other than commenting on their updates, photographs, etc
+Frances Haugen please use "his/her" instead of "their" it is grammatically correct and only two characters longer
Is there a place you can send suggestions? I have a few.
On another note I really hope that "their" becomes officially accepted into English discourse once and for all (instead of saying the odd-sounding 'his or her')
It's great to know that you take user feedback seriously and act on it.
Is there a way of hiding your gender from advertisers? I have a friend who left facebook because she kept getting ads for weight loss and found that offensive. Her husband received ads for baldness cures. She would not consider joining here if the same thing were likely to happen.
Won't it be assumed that anyone who hides their gender is female?
Guessing there are not any more pressing suggestions to concentrate on? Lol
+Kristal Beaton Thanks. But is there a real answer to my question? And yes, I read the post that sparked this whole issue and that's not a good argument either.

Actually, why would anyone want to hide their, gender, age, picture, and other details?
+Frances Haugen +Vic Gundotra +Bradley Horowitz
Edit: This seems like a great feature to me. I see no reason to not give more privacy controls to users. If someone doesn't want that to be public then they shouldn't be forced to share it.
Even the tiny things are important. I'm glad Google takes note in this.
cool stuff........... You all are being super responsive...I know y'all haven't gotten a lot of sleep the past week or so......but where can I get one of those Knol shirts?!?!?
I'm more concerned about who sees my public picture. I wish there was an avatar mode.
you can view streams by circles, click the circle name on the left column...
Thanks for this +Frances Haugen - and so nice to see you on video! The personal side of Google+ developers is one of the most attractive aspects of being here.
So many transphobic comments here...ugh
I like this feature for those people who prefer to keep their gender hidden. Women have issues with internet creeps all the time so this is just one more way G+ helps prevent that.
Seriously? 90% of names kinda give away the gender anyway. Great for the people that wanted it I guess, but I don't see this as being a big deal.
Could really use threaded comments on this post - even if just one level.
Thank you so much for adding this feature! This is one of the first things I sent feedback about. I have many gender-queer or trans friends that the issue of gender is complex and doesn't fit into a male/female box. I am also pleasantly surprised that there was already an 'other' option. Having to not make gender publicly available on the internet is a great step forward. I know it'd be radical but it'd be nice to use ze/hir, or at least create an option for that instead of they/their. I know for example in Swedish you could use hen/henom. Either way, thanks so much for this, my trans friends will be happy.
This is a very good move, Frances. I think you should also look at giving users control over the visibility of their profile pictures. I know people who do not want the whole world to see their profile pictures, but want only their circles or extended circles to see them!
+Ben Marvin "So really, what is the point of hiding your gender? People can't tell from your name or picture?" Says the man with a taco for his picture. :) Think of it this way: G+ lets you restrict the visibility of everything except for your name, an optional bio, and your gender. What's special about your gender that means it needs to be public?
For me it's, like, why is gender even an issue or topic of interest? Shouldn't we all be the same/equal by now? But then I saw the statistics over at and realized that, yes, if only a quarter of early G+ adopters are women, that's an issue. Sad.
and this is why you guys rock. You all respond to privacy concerns in DAYS. compare that to the comp
+Dan Callahan G+ is merely giving the right to everyone who does not want to disclose their gender. You hit the nail right on the head.
You've opened the doors for the flood of RPGers who left Google Wave to join Google+ with their roll playing personas. The honeymoon is over.
Who are all these people that don't want anyone to know if they're a man or a woman?
That other place rolls back because of user outcry, while you guys roll out based on user feedback. That's just another step up.
I'm not sure why people feel they need this particular feature, but I'm fine with adding it since it just gives people more control of their privacy. However, can we please discuss adding profile tags so it will be easier to find and follow people with common interests or backgrounds?
Kristal B
+Ben Marvin To avoid gender-based harassment. To avoid gender targeted advertising such as what appears on Facebook. Because they have an "Other" status selected and this is something that they could be fired for in their jobs, as many states do not have protection for trans or genderqueer employees. Because they want to connect with friends and family but have had stalking issues with exes.

There are a plethora of reasons to want to be able to keep one's information personal. Many of them directly related to personal safety. Being transgendered or genderqueer can get you legally killed in some places in the world. Legally. These people should still be able to connect with folks outside of their area so that they know they are not alone.

As for pretending, well, I'm not going to be able to change your mind there and we both know it. All I can say is that it takes more bravery than most people in this world possess to face those challenges head on and deal with the cruel things people like you say so that they can be themselves.
+Bill Alexy Wow, really? You think it's just to appeal to people with fantasy personas? Some people want to keep aspects of their profiles private and Google is allowing the option to do so and yet you criticize it? If you want to hide your gender you can do it with this, otherwise why or how does this affect you??
Just wait until pets start signing up...
+Dylan Tan I think on many levels, most people will never need this feature. But there are some who do feel that gender does play a role in how you are perceived on the internet when communicating with people you don't know. For that reason, I think it's important people to have the ability to not have to specify.

And there is also the case of transgender individuals (those who identify with a different sexuality then the one they were born with) that don't always want the world to know their story or would rather just not tell it through their profile on a social network.
I've got an even better idea, how about just a fill in the blank box. That way people can just fill in whatever the fuck they think they are, or just leave it blank. And if you can't identify your own gender, go seek help.
I'm curious if this is actually being done to quiet the "rumors" that not as many females have signed up for G+ compared to males. This way, the argument should go away since technically we won't have the public data to determine for ourselves??
have to say; really cheesy, stupid video
BUT, i am glad they are listening to user feedback
+Sam Douglas Those who are either gender-queer (and do not publicly identify themselves as either gender) or those who are going through a transitional phase from one gender identity to the other.
+David Arras +Bradley Horowitz meant share feedback regarding this post here, not feedback on all of Google+.
This particular issue was not of concern to me, but I feel that I must thank Google+ for listening to users' concerns about privacy and acting on them.
Incidentally, as a transgender Googler, I wanted to thank the people who are calling out transphobia rather than letting it stand unchallenged :)
Reasons #8384 Why I Love Google: Even the smallest of minority don't go unnoticed.
+Dan Callahan I feel weird replying to you since you have the same name as my landlord. Anyway, I have the space taco as my picture since that's how most people recognize me. Mostly from Twitter. If you're worried about who sees your profile picture, then just don't upload one. Anyway, I do have real pictures of me that are public. And it's pretty obvious that I'm a dude, I don't even need to put it in my profile. Sure, I have no problem, make every single thing on G+ able to be public or private. Even this comment. What if I only wanted you, the OP, and like 2 of my friends to see it? Yeah, it's weird that gender is the only thing that you can't make private, but I don't see what the BFD is about it. Has anyone considered maybe Google did that on purpose, so now they can change it and get applauded by everyone for responding to feedback so quickly? Unlikely, but who cares. Bottom line is that even with privacy controls, people are more likely to create an error themselves and make something public they didn't want to. I mean "pull a Weiner". Pun intended.
Nobody should be complaining about having more options. If you can't fathom why someone would want it..pretend you never read this.
I wonder why would this be needed for. Absolutely ridiculous.
+Liz Fong I find few things more irritating than bigotry. Rock on.
Can I change my gender to Taco?
I just read the post that lead to this change at +Randall Munroe’s profile. One of the claims is that because women are objectified in a male dominated culture they may not want to share their gender out of fear of being pre-judged by others simply because they are known to be female. (my paraphrase and I may not have misunderstood).

1) The overuse of gender neutral pronouns objectifies the object.

2) If it is mostly women hiding their gender won't they be segmenting themselves out and identified by the neutral semantics in Google's notification system?

3) How am I going to keep my mom in the right circles?
Then Google should let us hide our profile picture as well!
+Lia Keyes Yes, it's troubling, but I've seen a marked increase in women on G+ in the past few days. A week ago I would have guessed the figure was more 90/10 in favor of men. +Kristal Beaton Thank you for reminding me of the transgender issue. Even though I have friends who are transgender, it is easy to forget the issues they face when you look at the world through the eyes of a straight man. You are right. They do face unique and dangerous challenges, especially in places outside of the west. But even in the States and Europe they can face some nasty repercussions for being who they are.
+Hendra Kieran Yes, for many individuals it is VERY important.
Well for one thing, those who are concerned about revealing their gender will often just list their first initial anyway.
Can you also set your profile picture/avatar to "only viewable by people in my Circles" too? Otherwise, the whole "hide my gender" is pretty pointless if the gender is clear in the profile picture ...
Without changes from Google, you can still replace your profile picture/avatar with something non-gender-representational.
I hope you guys take more steps in this direction, coz a lot of my friends and me migrated out of facebook coz of the whole cyber bullying thing. People keep setting up fake profiles and then harassing you, by copying your display picture and just posting down right abusive messages and sending it to all your friends.. totally ruins it for everyone. I was hoping that even for the profile picture, there should be the same option, whether we want other people seeing it or not..... Or maybe have two profile pictures one for the general public, and one for the people in their circles. I feel that this privacy/ bullying issue is very important and if google does smething to 1 up Facebook, It ll lead to a much richer experience for users everywhere.
+Rob Aymett For hundreds of years, "their" has been (and still is) grammatically correct when used with singular pronouns. Please, burn your copy of Strunk and White before it gets you into real trouble. (A careful perusal of that tome will reveal that most of the "rules" espoused therein are also violated in the book.)
When configuring the privacy of any element of my profile I am given the options of "All of the web", "Extended circles", "my circles", "just me" or (importantly) "Custom". If I choose the custom option I can configure the visibility by selecting any arbitrary group of circles and/or individual people. Yay great! :-) I do that for one field then have to repeat the labourious process for the next field, and so on. :-( What needs to happen is for me to be able to save that arbitrary grouping as a new and distinct circle, with all the attributes of any other circle.
"Or maybe have two profile pictures one for the general public, and one for the people in their circles. I feel that this privacy/ bullying issue is very important and if google does smething to 1 up Facebook, It ll lead to a much richer experience for users everywhere." That`s a great idea!! The people should have the choice to put the boundaries of their own privacy.. Let the people choose how much privacy they want and you will see that Google+ will be the winner
"My name is Jim Smith". Gender: None of your business. heh
Seriously, I really fucking despair for humanity after reading the comments here. :/
Of course if your name is Steve (Google requires a real name for G+) and your avatar is you with a ZZ Top beard the gender option won't matter much. :p
I like how people are getting riled up over something that's really inconsequential to them anyway. Oh no, someone might pick Other for their gender and/or they might want to hide it. If not knowing someone's gender according to a narrow binary is so much trouble for whatever person, maybe that person should take a step back and get a little perspective.
This is why I love Google. You listen to reason. I posted a comment on the original +Randall Munroe thread. I meant no insult to Google, like many privacy issues it is just not something you considered. This solution is kind of what I and many others had in mind.
Unlike some tech companies dabbling in social networking you are not tone deaf to these privacy issues. You responded quickly and personally. Bravo.
Some of the comments on this thread are disparaging and bigoted though. I guess that is the internet for you.
As somebody already stated, the bullying issue is another thing that will creep up. That is a more complicated issue but I think there are ways that can be specifically addressed as well. The key is responsiveness, and in that respect you have no peers at the moment.
(another vote for "this is great but please don't let it stop you from providing "decline to state" and possibly fill-in-the-blank options.)
What I'd like to know if how come the Birthday field is not exposed for some users' profiles (e.g. mine), and how come I cannot modify the month + day if it is incorrectly entered at registration time because of, say, an honest mistake. I sent feedback on this, but I have not heard from anyone from the G+ team yet. :(
+Gary (el goob) Smith Do you intend to sound like you actually think the close-minded comments here are acceptable? I can't change everyone's mind, but I can be a voice of reason. It's worth doing, if only so that anyone reading this that feels marginalized by the responses can know that someone has their back and is trying to make things better.
I wish the turnaround was that quick for Google Voice and them incorporating my text messages.
I would like google to implement the ability to control privacy of profile pictures rather than gender. That is to say I think the ability to control whether or not non members can view your profile picture is more important!
To the guys who are really confused on why this is necessary: Log into a random public IRC chatroom with a username that is obviously female. Your question will be answered for you.
I think more importantly is how we can just show up in a google search with your picture and profile and all....that needs to be an option.. +Vic Gundotra
As a general principle I am against all steps towards making it possible for people to have false personas on the net. I want real people, not their narcissistic brain children. I do sympathize with people fearing gender harassment, but in the world I want to live in, you should then address the harassers, not the gender.
I welcome this change and applaud the quick turnaround on feedback. +1Google. If nongendered pronouns are useable, it seems feasible that several more options for gender could also be provided, if not just a text box or even with a text box as one of the options, as described and To people discussing features unrelated to this announcement, such as all things unrelated to gender and gender privacy, this is not the place for that. Feedback buttons: that's what got this announcement rolling.

As for the blatantly disheartening comments in this thread...sigh: <Dumbledore voice>

Hello to all people asking about dogs, tacos, and generally being rude/bigoted in asking questions,

We are often asked these questions, and so are most of our friends. Unfortunately, most of the time these questions are not asked as sincere, earnest, and honest information-seeking questions.

More often than not, the person asking is not really interested in hearing an answer. They are just pretending to ask a question so they can make a privileged little speech, essentially saying that no one could possibly have a problem which they themselves have not encountered. Thus, responding to people who ask such rhetorical questions is a complete waste of time, because they are usually not honestly interested in learning something new. Given this dishonesty, please forgive us for wanting to know the nature of your inquiry; most of these questions become yet more offensive with each iteration. We wish to avoid being insulted and avoid wasting our own valuable time, just as you yourselves do not wish to be insulted and wish to avoid wasting your own time.

To avoid this mutual waste of time, it is suggested that you begin with the resources that the Good God Google has kindly offered us all on our personal educational journeys, so that you may avoid offending those you seek answers from. After your honest sacrifices at the Holy Alter of the Search Bar, if the answer you seek is yet beyond you, and if you are honestly--by your own moral definition of honesty--wanting to hear and consider our answers, please do post back and tell us more about where you are coming from with these questions.

</Dumbledore voice>
P.S. This was letter adapted from I did not put in quotes what isn't mine, for readability purposes-it would have gotten quite messy. #itsNotPlagiarismIfYouCiteIt
Some friends and I have a chat system that we've been running for 20 years now. We also went with the "his/her/their" setting for pronouns. For the first few years we did get into constant arguments over "their", but in the end we needed that "neutral" option (at least for some users) much more than we needed to have precisely correct english. It has worked out fine.
Are you sure you guys thought this through?

I realize it's an option, but, sounds like something a bunch of California state legislators would cook up and then make into law or something rather than getting their state out of financial hot water. Of all the things you can make private, this is it? Gender? Really. Don't you think we can tell somebody's gender by name and picture 95% of the time?

There are real issues surrounding gender that DO need handling. These all have to do with behavior and I don't see how hiding one's gender will solve these behavioral issues.

In terms of grammar, you could say "a circle of theirs" rather then "their circle" where the later sounds ungrammatical.
Thank you so much for offering this feature! Many people don't understand the sensitivity of revealing your gender information, and I admire Google's responsiveness to the feelings of this group of people by offering this option that is harmless to others.

And as a semi-trained linguist, let me tell you that descriptivist linguists have long embraced "their" as proper gender-neutral English. I'm so pleased to see Google validating that :)
Yes, all the users who specifically asked for this feature have thought through their reasons for it. IMO it's up to google to provide the tools, and then let individual users decide how they wish to present themselves. This issue of personal control over privacy is a significant one, especially when compared to the track record of a certain other site which one might refer to as FB.
by Default visibility level should be set to "yourself" and not to anyone on the web!! see that it is!!
Great. Different Profile Pictures for different circles/public is next, I hope :-)
This is a good thing, simply because people should be able to decide for themselves about all information on their profile: It is their information, and they can do with it what they want. It doesn't have to make sense to anybody else but them.
Thank you so much, Frances. This is awesome. I like it when a company gives me a choice, and offers it to others.
Can you also make Profile Pictures non-public and viewable only to those in your circles?
Ya Frances if you're into this privacy thing, i dont think its cool that anyone can Google my name, and see my google plus account and my picture..

i think its alot more important then seeing someones gender..
just saying
+Frances Haugen +Vic Gundotra
Wanted Feature: Ability publicise and subscribe to public circles
That's cool you know, that way, guys will be guys, girls will be guys, and kids will be FBI agents.
it's a news, but not sort of "good enough" news. noting big deal, i think...
Good call. Thank you for being so responsive.
I'll need to obtain a new Firstname "gender free" ;)
Not personally affected by the change as I don't mind people knowing my gender but for me the important thing is that Google is listening and making changes quickly and effectively. If this pace (or something close) can be maintained Google+ will quickly become popular.
thanks Frances! Although the gender thing wasn't that big a deal, it's always refreshing to have more control than less. Would you be privy to any news on having circles private as well?
i think it's great to see that google react, even to this issue...
my beard in my profile picture will still give my gender away, but i'm fine with my gender being known :)
Can privacy features be extended to our profile photo too, or even our name?

Let's say I wanted to have my friends to see a nice clear photo of me, but I don't want that photo to be visible to every stalker on the internet... it would be nice if I could either select that only people in my circles can see my profile picture, or if I could choose one image for my public profile (like an Androidified me) and another image for people in my circles to see.

In the same way, it would be nice if I could choose for my friends to see my full name, but for the public view to see my surname and an initial.

Finally, is there any way to make a "[yourchosenusername]" with a username that is different from your gmail address?
Like some others here, I don't care much about the issue, but I do like the fast turnaround.
Good first step but privacy settings should be available to all information, not only gender.
Does anyone else think that the options "Male", "Female" and "Not Given / Other" would be better than just "Other", as "Other" insinuates neither male nor female.

Even though there are some people who wouldn't want to be forced to publicly choose between being either male or female, I'm sure many wouldn't want to be called neither male nor female.
Interesting what people are up to. As someone has written before, "Good that Google is listening."
But... it doesn't work? The choice is grayed out, and stuck at "Everyone on the web".

Does the choice exist only one time, and once you've made it public, you cannot change it anymore?
I am glad to hear that. I think it is probably more important to women to be able to protect one's gender identity online. But the same protection should be extended to all. Good for G+ for listening and changing quickly. 
The birthday thing is Facebook's killer feature. Get it, and people will be more interested in using G+. 
why you have "birthday" data in your profiles, while I don't?
Hey Frances! Would be nice to be able to share birthdate our birthday with others. Also on the Links part of the profile we could have there our Youtube Channel, Blogger Blog, etc. just like happens with Picasa Albuns, in an automated way, being the user able to deterimine who to share it with. :)
+Rob Aymett "Wow... Gender is private... What has the world come to..." There is a certain irony in the fact you state this whilst in a mask. Also, you go with your male privileged self not having people call you gender based epithets for being a woman, or chatting you up incessantly, etc. ad nausiam.
Gender privacy isnt a high priority. Not only is it impractical (as has been pointed out, people use their real names and pictures in their profile), but if you think about how the real world works, you can see someones gender (99% of the time) just by looking at them. Getting their name and address, is another matter - that they have to share with you, which brings up the question about using real names, but still... Gender should be apparent and obvious. Dont confuse gender with sexual preference. Using "their" instead of "his" or "her " is just plain silly.... "Todd Wright updated their album"... No thanks. I thought smart people worked at Google. Theres lots of other things you should be working on.
That's even setting aside the discrimination issues against some of the trans people who wanted to put other, but not have that be public.
To the people complaining about using "their" as a gender-neutral pronoun: that was considered proper English usage until a bunch of Jerks with Style Guides tried to remove it in the 19th century. Singular, gender-neutral "they" was used by Shakespeare, for crying out loud.

Historically, singular "they" has greater precedent than "his/her" or similar modern constructions.
Happy to see that Google listens to our feedback, hopefully you will also decide to respect the "full name" privacy!
Having read through the comments I see a lot of the argument is about those who are trans gendered. Im fine with that, I have trans gendered friends, but Im pretty sure most of them would just select the gender they identify with or choose "Other", and overall, they represent a small proportion of the general population. People are confusing the privacy issue with sexual preference. I agree that sexual preference should be something you can keep private, but to hide your gender is silly. Do you really walk around on the street with a box around you so no-one can see if you're male or female?

Google is wasting time on this when there are other things to work on. Methods are already available to hide your gender - dont put up a pic of yourself, or select "Other". Mean people will always find something to pick on, thats just a fact of life. Grow up and deal with it. As for the arguments about employers or government using your gender against you, that has nothing to do with Google profiles, and I really cant see companies or governments employing people to read through every Google Profile so that they can target people - That's just paranoid. Speaking of targets, companies will always target demographics in their advertising. This wont stop that... They'll find other ways to target their weight loss programs or baldness cures. It seems once again, small lobby groups and "political correctness" have run amok.

Having said all that, its done now, so go ahead and make your gender private, close the curtains, cut your hair short, and wear baggy clothing so no-one can tell what your gender really is.

No, this isnt a troll... Its my opinion, and Im entitled to it. I wont be drawn into a debate.
+Colin McMillen : Ah, thank you for pointing that out! Indeed, I missed the part where Frances wrote that this feature will be available "starting later this week."
I don't want people to know if I'm male or female. I want to be referred to as an "it".
+Nicole Ickes Hahaha, I recognized Richard's post as soon as I started reading yours! Glad you gave the citation at the end, or I would have had to have risen my eyebrows QUITE high at you. :)
Isn't this supposed to be a social site? When you go to something social in real life do you complain to the owner of that place that you can't hide who you really are? The whole internet can know I am a male named matt. Who cares? I joined this so I could network and be social. That's the point I thought
Wow, although it's marked as "Only you", "Anyone on the web" now knows that your birthday is on September 28. :)
Another reason why G+ rocks - when was the last time FB actually TOLD you that they were changing their privacy settings?
Could connect "Google Reader" with the "+1".
What do you think?
I would like very much to be able to set the privacy on my profile photo as well !
I'm sorry, but this is the most retarded thing I've ever heard in my life and it made me lose a little respect for you.
Not cool. Or are you also in favor of throwing your food at people when you don't like it? I don't really understand why you have to troll here. You don't like the idea? Fine, don't take advantage of it. But some people do like it, and you can both be accommodated. So, kindly take your amazingly insensitive comments elsewhere.
I'm really glad that g+ is making this change. It won't make a difference in my life, but for a lot of people, this will make their experience here better. Thanks!

And I don't understand, in any way, why people are so upset by this. If you don't care about this change, then how does it impact your life? Letting people be private about their gender only helps people without hurting anyone.
This is highly commendable. Thanks for sharing, Frances :)
+Todd Wright Trans people may want to list their gender, but not reveal it to every circle for safety reasons. Marking "other" masks it even from people who a person may want to share it with.
My feelings are between "Yes, wonderful, thank you" and "Why didn't Google think of this on their own".
Progress is progress though, even if it does require starting from the disadvantageous position.
What about the privacy in the mobile app far as strangers seeing our email addresses and phone numbers? I think i have corrected the privacy settings that I need to change, but have a feeling that people already have my info still.
I think its mundane to hide gender personally but I guess if a few clamor for it why not.
This is something that could and should have just been done to begin with.

I'd prefer to hear google Chat or Voice was integrated.
That would be a bigger win.
Its not about perspective. E.g. could be an LGBT issues. I'm sure Alex must not have come across this and is making a valid point from that perspective. But there are many fields for example in which people are actually discriminated against by gender, and studies have shown that they are treated justly when their gender isn't displayed, right there pointing it out every time a person looks at there information in whatever form, CV for example - regardless of whether or not there is some other way for people to know what it is.

I'm sure there are other valid reasons.

Choosing to tend on the side of freedom of choice for community members is smart, just, and forward looking, which is a winning combination and just smart business as well as social good. Google has a chance to do and be analogous to Obama in the 2008 Presidential campaign - be on the forefront (which is actually usually current with where your segments of society of interest are by the time you get to implementation and roll out) and therefore engage not only those who are already very active in digital media and networks, but also bring in vast numbers of those who didn't feel represented by passe venues.
Good decision by Google - thank you Frances!
Please make a way to truly block someone, as of right now, even if someone is 'blocked' they can still see if you post public or extended circles. When you have a stalker this forces you into a very narrow area of G+ unless you can actually shut that person out of ALL your posting activity.
Use the passive voice to avoid grammatical problems: "You were added to one of X's circles."
I'm shocked at the level of controversy this seems to have stirred. Gender issues completely aside, the user should decide what information to share.
While this doesn't affect me personally, I still know why it's an issue and applaud G+ for not only listening but acting so quickly and letting us know to boot. Things that certain other social networking sites could stand to learn in other words. This sets a good precedence for the relation between the G+ team and the users. I imagine that many of the other issues and ideas presented above will get handled in due time.
Hmm... notice how the people asking why anyone would want to "hide" their gender are cis men?


PS: "Their" has become an acceptable/correct gender-neutral SINGULAR pronoun, therefore saying "Joe added you to their circle" is grammatically correct.
Sounds good..but i still dont like the fact, that people i dont know can add me to their circles and i have no say on that!
This is silly. It's not often you'll run across a female name Jim. It's just silly as the information is part of who you are.
+Sarah Potter Unfortunately, the thing about public posts is that they're public, which means that if the person wants to see them, they could just log out of the blocked account anyway, since they're visible to all.
+Jordan G - I think the block this person is talking about is more the extended circles, when tested, the blocked person could see the post through that avenue. I see that public posts are public (a point that obviously I didn't think through well enough)
nice! Will there ever be fan pages?
+Sarah Potter Yeah, blocking out to extended circles is a really good call, I agree.
would be fantastic to honor privacy of avatars as well!
Why would you suggest this Brian? Without looking at your profile you are MALE.

Ok privacy options are great. But Gender? People can guess this usually from your name or your display picture....
Is great, I like more the Diaspora* approach to the subject but this is a positive upgrade for G+ on this multi gender world
+Vic Gundotra +Alexandre Enkerli +Todd Wright +Frances Haugen

I have reasons for being Xenophrenia online. I've been this name online since 1999 ... the policy blog specifies that there ARE legitimate reasons for people to use pseudonyms and state that they are okay with that. I have noticed a vast majority of those who disapprove of this happen to be male. Interesting. I want to keep my life in the 'real world' separate from my online world. I divulge my identity to those I feel comfortable doing so and shouldn't be forced - in a free country (supposedly) to do otherwise.

From the Google Public Policy Blog ... The freedom to be who you want to be…

Xenophrenia is my identity. I have a serious reasons why I use it. Those that think they know what's best for me apparently don't. People use these things because of life threatening situations - and while we are not that far here in the US - there are still those who have personal threats of life threatening nature that induce them to use pseudonyms. We have also seen unprecedented overreaches of 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendment rights by our government of late that make me wonder if having my real name 'known' publicly is a good idea ...

Since I value my use of this name - I behave in ways that honor it. I am not a troll so why should
I automatically be treated as one because I choose anonymity? If my anonymity bothers you don't talk to me - don't follow me. Ask yourself how my being anonymous harms you. Does it? Or does it just bug you, annoy you because many people just don't like secrets and think they are the ones who should have their wants override everyone else's possible need.

Let's add to this that by forcing people's names to be public - for example - you are forcing them to live their lives in accordance to those that may at some future date employ them. Because - we are being told that we should scrub our profiles to be 'acceptable' to some future individuals morality code. Seriously? They own you do they? This is a serious problem. We seem to think it's perfectly okay for peoples lives to be determined by people they haven't even met yet. And if you say that then one shouldn't work for such employers, you do not understand the lack of choice for a great deal of people in the world.

Yes - we should live in a world that people don't have to hide ... but guess what? We don't. Not even close. Just think - your credit card company may be evaluating your credit worthiness based on your online record ... ;-) ... nice cozy thought isn't it. Then the argument goes - don't post bad stuff online. Curb your freedom of speech because it may upset those that hold the purse strings ..... a very handy way of shutting people up - don't you think? Until I know that my ability to 'be who I am' can be associated with my real identity without my future ability to live being in jeopardy I'll be more than happy to do so ... until then - I'm Xenophrenia - everywhere. I've even been so within the Googleverse forever ...

Forcing real identities can be a very subtle way of forcing conformity - like censoring 'bad words' in the instant search because ... you know .... some people 'might' be offended (heaven forbid) and so I have no choice in what I want to see and are subtly being guided to 'appropriate' behavior determined by someone you may or may not agree with. We need to think long and hard about our rabid adoption of forcing people to be who we want them to be ... if you think people can't set up real sounding names in a profile and post a fake picture if they want to do nefarious things ... you are very naive.

And before I get a whole slew of responses regarding the fact that I am not truly anonymous online - I know this ... I'm smart enough to know how the internet works ... but thanks for the thought. Being anonymous doesn't automatically make someone a bad person - unfortunately - those in positions of privilege don't like the possibility of those under them having ways of circumventing their reach. Any account can be flagged if they do something - there is no generic anonymous account setting ... so all accounts are 'traceable'. There is no real valid reason for not allowing pseudonyms - other than it bothering people who don't like 'secrets' as though they have a right to know anything about me.

Please consider some of these ideas before deciding you know how others should behave online or that you know what's best for them ... choice - we should all have it - despite others who 'don't like it' ...

Here are a couple of links to articles regarding reasons why women may not want their gender known or why and how having a real name doesn't mean someone won't be a dick.

Female-Name Chat Users Get 25 Times More Malicious Messages -

The Pratfall of Penny Arcade - A Timeline -

A woman walks into a rape, uh, bar -
+Kirthika Nagarajan sure you have, you can block them.
I don't have time to read through 200+ comments so pardon me if this has already been said.
Instead of Google picking and choosing which items of a profile can be made public or private by a user, why not just assume that we want to control EVERY aspect of our public profile. I know you guys are removing "private" profiles and that's fine, but why not let us decide what we want the world to see and not worry about why we may or may not want it visible?
Now all we need is to be able to change the date of birth!!!
I simply want to have control over my public profile. Total control, that is, over every aspect of it. I will participate and share on this platform, investing time and other personal resources and try to contribute in a hopefully value adding way. To do this creatively, I need to feel secure and comfortable with what I share about my personal life. Many people, many different comfort zones. As +xeno phrenia has pointed out, there are valid reasons for anonymity on social platforms. So please don't throw out the baby with the bath water. I really enjoy being on G+.
+1 +xeno phrenia !
It's not just about gender or sex. But gender and sex are ways to make important realizations. The core one, to me: people often prefer not being boxed in, pigeonholed, labeled, limited in their identity negotiation.
As is the case with most social issues, feminism is the primary driving force for true insight. Without the first waves of feminism, there wouldn't have been a human rights movement. Without Third Wave feminism, we would have a much harder time dealing with online identity.
Much of this may be about the privilege delusion.
The key thing about privilege is that it's usually invisible to those who are privileged. And I say this as someone who has most characteristics of the privileged, globally.
Thank you for this, +Frances Haugen . As a trans- person, this was the first, and so far ONLY, thing that bothered me about G+, and I automatically clicked on the "Send feedback" link as soon as the platform would not let me chose how I identify (or don't).
I don't identify as male OR female... and "other" is troublesome as well. What am I an "other" to? The male/female gender binary? "Traditional" gender roles? That brings us back to "define or ELSE" and further supports the gender binary that many worldwide are trying to break free from. "Other" also puts people at more risk for bullying and job issues that the trans- community would rather not have.
Would it be a possibility down the line to replace "other" with a fill-in instead of "male", "female" or "other"?
I don't enjoy being holed into a label corner, and I know that Google is all about being inclusive. (Also efficient! This quick response, for one!)

Again, thank you for this. It is beyond much-appreciated!
This problem used to come up in MUD programming. I think LPMUD also gave you the option to have no pronouns at all, like: "Francis added you to Francis's whatever."
Que bakan!!!! Le tengo mucha fe a Google+
Please make sure that when I share a post with "all my circles" that I have the option to EMAIL THOSE WHO ARE NOT USING GOOGLE+. Currently that option does not appear and I'm afraid I have been spamming all of my friends who are not on Google+ via email. This is of utmost importance to fix.
Thanks for responding to the concerns! Also, I'm a big fan of singular "they."
Just an FYI for those folks that don't know, you don't have to use your real name. All you have to do is use something name like. Ex.: Instead of Bob Smith use Nike Shoes where Nike is the first name and Shoes is the last. Nothing in the rules that says it has to be your real name; you just have to have the legal right to use it.

Also, you don't have to use your "ID" picture either. Just go into the edit profile options, click on your pick, follow the directions to upload and select a new pic, save your changes and your new profile pic will shortly disiminate to all your posts; and other places you would normally see it.
Thanks +Betty Rank (my mom's name is Betty too how cool is that). I think I have a glitched profile like you said, because I do not even have a place to put my birthday :(
but why dont google+ offers nice way to contact our friends other then email... i mean facebook has wall and messages but google+ is offering neither :(
+Lovish Puniani The isnt really the right place for that question, but the short answer is that Google+ is not Facebook. If you want to contact a small group of friends you put them in a Circle and post only to that circle. If you want to contact only one friend, you post only to that one friend, by name. Its easy once you get used to it. On FB I dont allow people to post to my wall - Thats the best way to fill it with spam. I like that there is no similar option here.
hey, You need to do easier. to succeed against facebook.
(more intuitive and easier)
Varun G
I can control who can see people in my circles but if I am right I can't control (completely!!) the visibility of 'who have me in circles' ... I could either hide it completely or make it visible to everyone !!! Is it possible to make it visible just to me but not anyone else because I like to know who and how many have me in their circles . Thanks
awesome! i do still wish my profile had my email notifications in it or a "message me" button that was really gmail or something....
Sharing of the circles listed on the left should have an option to show on a circle by circle basis. For example I would be more comfortable sharing with the public the people that I am following and then limiting friends, family etc. to my circles or the an individual circle. This would have the benefit of exponential growth for followers because if I can see who people like Mark Cuban follow (as opposed to his friends etc.) I would possibly be interested in following them as well. Also I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post this but it shouldn't be necessary for the people that I am following to be added to my Gmail address book unless I already have their contact information. This would seem to add unnecessary clutter to my contacts (and deleting a person from the Gmail contacts removes them from google+ circles).
Frances, this is off topic and I send this to suggestions but I wanted to add something I wish G+ had. I really like the feature in Facebook that reminds you of your friend's birthdays. I also liked being able to wish them a happy birthday. It is a nice personal touch that I wish could somehow be incorporated to G+.
I think it's awesome that Google is listening to peoples feedback and incorporating it into their products
Can we please have an events functionality?
thanks +Todd Wright i guess the time is not far away when we would not have to use shift to press + on keyboard... ithis i s the new thing i learned from you... how to tag :D :D

all i have prob is that like we cant write to anybody is private
Hello enhanced privacy is good news. What about parental controls? Parents may not want their children to be able to accept Google+ invites. If a child already has an existing gmail account how will parents be able to monitor activity in circles?
How do i tell the real larry page profile apart from the fake ones? Is there a plan to add a "verified" tag to the profiles. This is very important for people to know they are following the right people.
Can you add an option to change all the fields to the same setting in one go, e.g. changing all fields to "your circles" or "only you"?
I NEED a privacy option to stop unwanted people automatically being able to push content to me! All of my work colleges can see that TWO pro-drugs profiles have added me to their cirlcles! They are starting to think I'm a big drug user, but I have NO CONTROL over who adds me or pushes content to me!! PLEASE, allow me the option to stop unknown people/strangers from adding me and pushing content to me.
While I understand the following, It doesn't change the fact that I want nothing to do with them at all. It's a privacy feature request. I don't want people whom I don't know to be able to add me to their circles. What you describe is completely different. You are choosing to receive that information which the author is publishing. In this scenario, you are not, the publisher is making the choice. It's a like a free mass email/spam tool. "I don't know you, but I'm able to send you content without your permission, until you block me. I don't want, and shouldn't have to untick every single person. It's already very annoying, and this is only a field trial. What will happen when it's anyone can join. I don't want Company A to Z to start adding me and pushing their content.
EDIT - While I won't argue that it doesn't have it's uses (like us following this post presumably), the user should have greater control over this. For example, my "incoming" stream consists of a) requests for topless pictures (as the individual concerned increases his "circle penetration" of adding anyone he see's fit, b) how amazing Marijuana is, and of course c) UKRAINIAN ACROBAT = HOT with supporting video.
This is great! I feel that a `search streams' ability is missing-- is there any way to search / organize the streams one is watching? I would like to see ones that are family related before friends. Also, is there a way to send personal messages directly to a person without them adding you to their circle? I can see myself trying to send messages about an event coming up but not able to get a message to a person... maybe even a notification of a directed message from person x would be appreciated (but I also worry that this may be abused by company offers). Pushing google calendar invites / alarms would make event planning easier so that one could make an event on their calendar and choose circles to announce the event to and then they could see the event pop up and choose to join, maybe list all the people who are already going to this event and comments can be made on this event (so I can plan who is brining which food dishes for a potluck).
Some parts in the profile that have multiple fields like "Links" have a show all or nothing approach. I want to control the visibility of individual links in the list. Some of them are great to always be public whereas some others are only for my private circles. I want to decide what individual links to show based on my circles and not having to showing all of them to a particular circle. The profile is less valuable to me this way and I won't share everything I can on it.

This can also be extended to the "Places lived". Right now it has one single setting and this seems fine, but I want the "Places lived" to be multiple fields where each field is visible to a different circle. I have professional reasons to not show everything on my profile and would like to share this information with family and certain people I deem as friends.
This is an absolutely excellent profile option. Whilst your name of course can give a good indicator of your gender, to have the option of not sharing it with everyone feels sensible.
I cant remember seeing this function on many other social sites and it makes me curious on what other different and interesting ideas and options will be made available, options and functions that will, when we see them, seem obvious and make us wonder why people didn't think of that before.
+Frances Haugen I have another suggestion: Please stop deleting profiles just because people use an alias. This way you're just killing momentum. People don't like to be treated that way, especially not by a company that want's to speak in the name of openness choice! I don't know of any privacy-safe way to determine every profiles "correctness" and therefore your policy is bound to fail anyway. You're just giving your new service a bad name. Especially given this post that is just half a year old:
this also shouldn't be like facebook, where anyone can just pick a name out of a hat, use a brand new email address, and just invent people.
According to Google's help articles on public profiles (, "your full name and gender are the only required information that will be displayed on your profile", which appears to conflict with this post claiming that gender can be hidden from public.

Am I misinterpreting something? Is the help article out of date? I hope the latter, because this statement bothers me: "we have decided to require all profiles to be public". The way I see it, I should be able to control ANY and ALL information I give to Google+. This includes name, profile pic, gender, etc. If I don't want someone to search and find me, why is that an issue for Google? My information still exists. If my profile is private, I can still add people to circles who then can see my profile. Can we search by email address? This would allow me to find the profile of someone I know, even if that profile is private.

I hope Google considers this because while I think Google+ is a fundamentally sound idea, I don't think it afford privacy issues when trying to take on facebook.
Yes, it is out of date. You can hide your gender since 4 days, though not your name. That's what the above post is all about.
I think this is a great option to have. I would also like to have the option to keep certain circles(not all) from viewing who is in my circles and who has me in their circle. Right now it's a all or nothing situation.
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