Useful Google+ Settings

Or: Why did you hide it there??

I don’t know if everyone who uses Google+ has noticed, but in addition to changing where things are from time to time, Google also changes the setting controls you have access to. Here are a few you may find particularly useful.

1. Control Who Sees Your Stuff

Or at least, have some control. Of course, once you put something out there, you actually no control over how it’s reshared; however, you can decide on your initial post who you are directly going to share this with. And now your G+ settings allow you to avoid posting to some people you are connected with even when you select “My Circles” upon sharing.

Why would you want to do this? Because you don’t want to spam people and pages you are following, for one thing; do you really want to send your kids’ pictures everywhere? Or you might have a circle called “Work”, or “In-Laws”, made up of people you don’t want to share everything with.

To get to most of the settings, hover your cursor above the “Home” button to get the left-hand menu to unfold and go to the bottom.

Where are the Settings?

Now, scroll down to “Your Circles,” about halfway down a long list. Click on the “Customize” button to select what goes in and what doesn’t.

Sharing to Circles

2. Limit Your Spamming

Another control up above, near the beginning of the settings list, is whether you will allow your +1s, Google Places comments, and other reviews (“endorsements”) to be used to spam your friends’ feed or with ads. For the love of all that is holy, please turn it off. It’s not something you did wrong, Google+ snuck that up in your settings a few months ago, but nobody actually enjoys getting this stuff in their feed. Let’s all turn it off!

While you’re there, check the rest of the settings, even if it’s tedious and somewhat confusing. In truth, you’re probably better off with most of the options turned off.

Endorsement settings

3. Select Your Notifications

This is new and potentially useful. If there is a group of people you don’t want to miss a single post from, put them in a circle and turn on the notifications for that circle. Naturally, this is not found in the same place as your other settings… At the top of your normal G+ home page, you should see a number of circles listed (your most frequently viewed) and a drop-down to the right of it giving you access to the full list of your circles.

Select the circle you want and in the upper right-hand corner of the “In this circle” summary, you’ll have an option you can click to turn notifications on and off. Note that while in your regular settings page “notifications” means via e-mail, in your circles pages it means via the notification icon (the bell with red numbers) in the right-hand area of the top menu bar.

Note also that the people in these circles you create may not filter their output in the same way at all; just because you don’t want to miss a single of their posts when they talk about knitting doesn’t mean you want to hear about their jogging programme.

Circle notifications

And finally, as a conclusion, the supreme irony: I’m posting this on my blog rather than on G+ because I want both myself and others to be able to find it again. But the company with the most powerful search engine in the world makes it nigh-impossible to find a specific post again after a few days…