Google+ Controls for Notifications, Comments Boost Privacy
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) last week added more fine-grained controls to its Google+ social network, including the ability to control who can send a user notifications, and the ability to disable the comment-placing capability and lock posts before a user shares his or her information.
Responding to user requests, Google has added a section in its Google+ settings for "Who can notify you." Users will always be notified if someone comments on one of their posts or adds them to a circle, explained Google software engineer Kathleen Ko.
However, this new setting will let users control whom they receive notifications from, if another user shares with them individually, or if a user selects "notify about this post" when sharing a Circle another person is in, mention their name with the + signifier, invite them to a Hangout on Google+ or invite them to play a game.
Google opted to set the "Who can notify you" setting to Extended circles or Circles' Circles the default. However, users may change this to be Your circles, Anyone, or a custom selection of specific circles and individuals.
Why would people want such a control? Isn't the purpose of Google+ to facilitate information sharing? Yes, but it's also good to have more tools that help users filter out the signal from noise, or the most important information.
"Choosing who is allowed to send you notifications is great because it enables you to only be notified by the people you care about most," Google explained. "For example, let's say you like being notified when someone mentions you, but you're being mentioned by lots of casual acquaintances. Limiting who can send you notifications would allow you to be notified of the mentions only from the people you want to hear from."
The other big control perk Google added to help users separate filter from noise is the ability to let users disable comments and lock posts before they share them to the Google+ stream.
Disabling comments keeps a post from being soiled or mucked up with commentary for those times a user doesn't want unsolicited comments on their posts. Locking posts will allow users to keep them from being reshared with the rest of the users on Google+.
Previously, when Google+ users wanted to lock a post or disable comments, they would have to share the post first, then close the comments or lock the post once it was public. But this didn't protect it from speedy resharers-people who quickly reshared a post they liked for posterity.
Users will select the Circles with whom they choose to share info and, as they place their mouse cursor over the share box, they will see the option to disable comments and lock the post before blasting the content out to the Google+ Stream.
Such granular controls will help users who require more power over the sharing that goes on within their account.
Making people comfortable enough to use the network is a big step in helping Google+, now in public beta, grow to challenge Facebook in the attention management realm.