Software // Social
News
1/11/2014
09:06 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

5 Google Opt-Out Settings To Check

Google signs you up for more than you think. Are you up to date on these five settings?

Google caused a stir this week when it announced a controversial change that lets those with Gmail and Google+ accounts email anyone who also has both accounts -- even if the sender doesn't know the recipient's email address. Unless you opt out, this means you can start receiving messages from strangers who follow you on Google+.

Though Google's bold move has surprised many, it's not the first setting -- or the only one -- for which Google signs you up automatically. Here's how to opt out of Google's latest change, plus four more settings to check.

1. Opt out of Google+ email changes
If you don't want Google+ users contacting you, opt out by by visiting your Gmail settings page and click the General tab.

Find the setting "Email via Google+" and click the dropdown menu. You can choose to receive email from anyone on Google+ (the automatic setting), extended circles, circles, or no one. Select your preference and click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

This feature is rolling out over the next few days to everyone who uses Gmail and Google+, the company said.

[How Google savvy are you? Read 10 Great Google Apps Tips.]

2. Opt out of web history tracking
Unless you consistently delete it, Google tracks and logs all your web history, including your image, news, map, and video searches. You can remove all or some of your search history, or opt out of Google tracking you entirely.

To remove parts of your Web history, navigate to your Web History page. Choose "All History" from the menu on the left and click the checkbox next to "Remove items" to delete the items on the screen. You can also use the menu to browse categories and remove searches individually.

To opt out of Google tracking your Web history, click the gear icon on the upper right corner of a search results page and go to search history. Click the gear icon again on the upper corner of the Web History page and go to Settings. Then, click the Turn off button next to "Web History is on."

3. Opt out of Google+
When you sign up for Gmail, Google automatically gives you a Google+ account. If you're no longer using the social network, or if you just don't want it, you can delete it. Start by navigating to your Google+ settings page.

At the very bottom is the option "Disable Google+." Google will show you a list of data that will be removed if you delete your Google+ account. This includes your posts and comments, your +1s, and your public Google profile. If you consent to what information remains and what is deleted, check the box at the bottom and click "Remove selected services."

4. Opt out of shared endorsements
In November, Google announced a Terms of Service update that lets the company display your profile name and photo next to advertisements and reviews. The Shared Endorsements feature will let you share your recommendations -- by way of a +1 on Google Play or a restaurant rating on Google Maps -- with your connections.

To opt out, visit the Shared Endorsements page in your settings and scroll to the bottom. Uncheck the box that reads, "Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads." Then click Save.

5. Opt out of YouTube messages and video sharing
YouTube automatically makes the videos and playlists you've liked (and your subscriptions) private by default. But if you don't want strangers sending you messages and sharing videos with you, there's a setting you need to change.

To start, navigate to your YouTube account settings page and click the Privacy tab from the menu on the left. Under the second option, "Search and contacts," click the box next to "Allow only my contacts to send me messages and share videos." Then click Save on the top right of the page.

Senior editor Kristin Burnham covers social media, social business, and IT leadership and careers for InformationWeek.com. Contact her at Kristin.Burnham@ubm.com or follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

Can the trendy tech strategy of DevOps really bring peace between developers and IT operations -- and deliver faster, more reliable app creation and delivery? Also in the DevOps Challenge issue of InformationWeek: Execs charting digital business strategies can't afford to take Internet connectivity for granted.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Kristin Burnham
50%
50%
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/15/2014 | 9:30:27 PM
Re: It's not paranoia when they really are watching you!
Some may say underhanded, others may say expected from some services. It's another reminder to know as much about a service as possible before you sign up.
Thomas Claburn
100%
0%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/13/2014 | 7:58:32 PM
Re: Must use PC
Here's another useful Google opt-out: targeted ads.

http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/html/opt-out.html

 
stevew928
50%
50%
stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
1/13/2014 | 7:01:09 PM
Re: Google Moral compass is Not pointing true North
Yep, they've certainly outgrown their start, and seemingly their motto as well. They have bought into the idea that 'business is business' and that you have to do everything possible to make a profit, moral or otherwise, and just try not to get caught if it happes to be illegal. (It's sad, but I was on a more business oriented site not long ago, and someone actually said it is the legal responsiblity of a CEO to do so... everything they can legally get away to maxamize profit is the CEO's legal responsibility... I was kind of floored.)

What is especially troubling to me, is that I'm using a LOT of their stuff. When Microsoft pulled this kind of baloney years ago, I wasn't so tied to their infrastructure, and actually gave myself a competitive advantage by using alternatives. I'm not sure I can so easily do that this time around. :(
stevew928
50%
50%
stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
1/13/2014 | 6:54:42 PM
Re: Steps I take to protect myself online...
Yes, I think either is a problem in some ways. People are going to have to learn to be more secure in general. First, NEVER use the same password at two different sites. But Second, never log-in via an e-mail link or not directly into the site you're trying to log into.

And, that second one is my big beef with stuff like Facebook Connect or similar services. It's training users to just put in their info when a dialog pops up from one of these services, even though they are on some 3rd party site. Do you know how easy that would be to phish people and snag their Facebook, etc. login? It's a terrible habbit to get people into.

Bottom line, if you want to be more secure, get a passoword manager and use it properly.
mb55177
50%
50%
mb55177,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/13/2014 | 2:42:12 PM
Re: Steps I take to protect myself online...
the big problem of having a seperate account for every website is the fact the there are more places for hackers to find a password and having so many accounts there are bound to be at least a few that use the same password and if for example they all have the same password then if one account gets hacked they all are hacked (although if you are using one account for everything anyway then if that gets hacked everything gets hacked) but still it is much easier to have one account for everything as you don't have to go thru the process of having so many accounts on everything that you forget that you had accounts on certain websites an thinking you accounts on other websites when you never did in the firstplace
stevew928
50%
50%
stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
1/13/2014 | 1:27:56 PM
Re: Steps I take to protect myself online...
Your point #3 is a big one... and unfortunately it has become quite popular. These companies are literally training people to be phished. You're at some 3rd party site, and are being asked to sign-in with your Facebook or Google credentials (or Wordpress, etc.). At least witih something like Disqus, you can use that ONLY for commenting on posts, but I really prefer a site just have an account creation and log-in of its own.
anon5788414938
50%
50%
anon5788414938,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/13/2014 | 10:21:56 AM
Re: Must use PC
Thanks for clarifying
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
1/13/2014 | 8:54:37 AM
Re: Must use PC
@Kristen, thanks for the tips. I've already done 1 and 4. I may consider some of the others, though I do intend to stay on Google+. 
Kristin Burnham
100%
0%
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/13/2014 | 8:38:41 AM
Re: Must use PC
Each of these does work on a mobile device, but first you need to be signed into your account from a browser (not via an app) and in some instances, visit the original, full site (not the mobile-optimized page). Certainly not easy or intuitive, but can be done!
anon5788414938
50%
50%
anon5788414938,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/13/2014 | 2:31:16 AM
Must use PC
Should be noted that you can't make these changes using a mobile device or tablet...
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Social is a Business Imperative
Social is a Business Imperative
The use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 9, 2014.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.