Google is adopting another privacy-encroaching, opt-out, Facebook-style policy:
The purpose of Google Profiles is to enable you to manage your online identity. Today, nearly all Google Profiles are public. We believe that using Google Profiles to help people find and connect with you online is how the product is best used. Private profiles don’t allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public.
Keep in mind that your full name and gender are the only required information that will be displayed on your profile; you’ll be able to edit or remove any other information that you don’t want to share.
If you currently have a private profile but you do not wish to make your profile public, you can delete your profile. Or, you can simply do nothing. All private profiles will be deleted after July 31, 2011.
What they really meant to say was that private profiles – and privacy in general, for that matter – just don’t fit in with their business model of monetizing people.
People who care about their privacy should stay away from Google’s offerings.
Our front page provides a pretty exhaustive guide which explains how users can Leave Google Behind. Many of the alternatives to Google’s products aren’t well known, which is why we’ve gone to the trouble of listing some of them. We encourage you to try them out for yourself. The Web’s a big place… discover how much fun it is to explore it without Google.