Google’s new social networking site Google+, built to beat Facebook primarily on privacy features, has several privacy bugs the company is working to fix.
While some enthusiastic beta testers clamor for Google to open the social networking site to everybody now, it’s clear Google needs to address these issues before launching Google+ more broadly.
Stumbling right out of the gate over privacy problems would likely doom Google+’s chances of emerging as a viable, realistic rival to Facebook, which rules the social networking market with about 700 million account holders.
So far, beta testers have been mostly positive about Google+, particularly over its design to make it easier for users to share posts and content with different sets of people, as opposed with their entire list of contacts.
Many of the existing privacy bugs in Google+ revolve around the site’s mechanism to block users, according to a list of known problems Google has published and is in the process of fixing.
For example, after a user blocks someone, that blocked person may not always be removed from the user’s extended circles and the blocked person’s posts will remain on the user’s activity stream.
Likewise, the user’s posts made prior to the blocking will remain on the blocked person’s stream.
In addition, after blocking someone, a user could remain on the blocked person’s circles, and the user may still appear on the blocked person’s profile as being part of their circle. About the latter bug, Google wrote: “We’re working hard to improve this experience.”
Google is also working to address a number of non-privacy related bugs, such as the fact that the activity stream may not always get updated in real time and that users can’t attach a comment to a comment in a nested fashion.
In addition, when a user opens Google+, minimized chat windows from Gmail may re-expand and conversations in chat windows in Google+ or Gmail may not sync between each other.
On other news related to Google+, Google recently announced that as of July 31 of this year, it will no longer host private Google Profiles.
Google users will be able to restrict the publicly available information to just their full name and their gender, and keep everything else hidden. People also have the option to delete their Google Profile. Google will delete all private profiles after July 31.
[Updated at 11:50 a.m. PT to correct a reporting error on how Google will deal with private Profiles as of July 31.