I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine about Google+. I have only been on Google+ a little over a week, but I definitely have formed some opinions about this fledgling social network. My friend suggested that Google may make it a bit easier to post to only friends as vs. co-workers than Facebook or other social networks.
That may be somewhat true – it certainly forces you to categorize your relationships and forces you to question with whom you would like to share each and every post. Those are things you can do on Facebook too. However, I am a bit concerned about how much I share on Google+. My friend was surprised when I said that.
Social networks make me very cautious – as should all social networks. They are online extensions of personal relationships which should be treated just like you treat any other online experience, such as banking or shopping – with the utmost care and concern. But how many people really check out a site before they use it? How many people know that there are privacy settings on social networks?
As I set up my Google+ account, I wanted to kick the privacy setting “tiers”, if you will. I was mildly pleased that most of the settings were defaulted to rather “closed” or private settings. But there still were some things to tweak. As I was looking around, I found a link to “Google Dashboard” under privacy settings.
There I found links to every Google product, including information on every Google product I have ever used. If you don’t realize that Google tracks every move you make, perhaps you should check out www.google.com/dashboard for yourself.
Have a Gmail account? It’s in there.
Used Google as a search engine? Your last searches are there.
Ever opened a document in Google Docs? It’s in there! Every document I have ever opened was in here – and I haven’t opened one this year! Oh, and when I tried to erase the docs that were in there, it told me I didn’t have permission to erase them – so be careful what you open!
Use Google Reader? Subscriptions are all there. Have a YouTube Account? Better check it, mine was more public than I allow.
Check out www.google.com/dashboard today and see how much information Google is collecting from you. Check each account that you use and make sure they aren’t making anything public that you don’t want to share.
For me, they were sharing my age on YouTube. I may only be 29 ;), but it doesn’t mean I want the world to know that!
Stay safe out there! And keep your info private!
Tracy @McAfeeCyberMom on Twitter