With one accidental click, anyone you email from your Gmail account can see your old Google+ profile.
Damn it, Jerry! Photo: Universal Television
Open Gmail. Find a message from someone using an @gmail.com address. Hover over their avatar, then click their name when it pops up in blue. Now you’re at their Google+ profile. (You can also get there by clicking their profile pic in Google Hangouts.)
Hover on the avatar in your own sent emails, and you can see your own profile. And if you used Google+ years ago, then abandoned it, your top posts might be embarrassing.
My public profile isn’t too bad – some old photos with captions that are trying too hard. But one of my friends has just one Google+ post, and it’s about semen cleanup.
Back when most people tried out Google+, we used it kind of like Facebook, and some of us got surprisingly personal in public posts. Or we just posted normal things that feel a bit weirder years later, out of context. Some of these posts aren’t things we’d include in emails to our neighbours, or boss, or someone who answered our Gumtree ad to pick up a couch. But there they sit, a hover and a click away for anyone we email.
It isn’t a huge risk; most people will never wander over to your profile. But if you care, head to Google+, and click “Profile” on the left. To edit or delete a post, hover over it to reveal the three-dot menu. (You can’t make a public post private; you can just edit the content or delete the whole thing.)
Delete a Google service
To delete your Google+ profile, go to Google’s “Delete a Google service” page. (Check your avatar on the top right to make sure you’re logged into the right account.) Click Google+. Before you confirm your deletion, Google will warn you about what does and doesn’t get deleted. Then click “Delete Google+” and walk away feeling a bit lighter.