Since Google recently launched its much anticipated social media product Google+, LGBT community members have been testing the new service. Many were unhappy to find that while Google+ offered customizable privacy settings for most profile fields, users were required to make their gender designations public. Google announced through a YouTube video that they plan to offer customizable privacy settings for the gender field in Google+ profiles.
Google product manager Frances Haugen posted this to Google+:
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.
Facebook and Twitter do not require public gender designations on profiles, and many Google+ users were unhappy with the lack of gender privacy options on Google+ and reported this concern to GLAAD.
GLAAD and community members reached out to Google. By making this change, Google will allow customizable gender privacy, an important issue to many in the LGBT community.
Google+'s customizable gender privacy
Users will be able to choose which "circles" (groups of their contacts) will be allowed to see their gender. If a person lists his gender as male, he will be referred to as "his" and "him" only in the circles who have permission to view his gender; in other circles this user will be referred to as "they" and "them." See a demo in the video below:
We are glad that Google listened to its users and made this change. It was not announced whether Google+ will continue to require new users to select a gender option--currently male, female, and other--at signup.